Cardiff MCCU (Marylebone Cricket Club Universities) squad will take on Leeds/ Bradford in the MCC universities Challenge final held at Lord's on Tuesday 23rd June after the most successful season yet.
The Cardiff based centre, which recruits players from Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff University and University of South Wales, were crowned champions after an emphatic win against Cambridge at Fenners. The team consists of 15 players in total, with 13 of those players currently studying at Cardiff Met.
Cardiff MCCU who finished 6 points clear of runners-up Leeds/Bradford, will meet their opponent once more in the climax to the season, being held at Lord's later this month.
The MCCU scheme is funded by the MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club ) to enable cricketers with the potential to gain professional contracts with England and Wales Cricket Board Counties (ECB) to also attend full time undergraduate and postgraduate courses at one of the universities which make up the scheme based at (Cardiff, Loughborough, Oxford, Cambridge, Leeds, and Durham).
It has been a remarkable season for Mark O Leary's Cardiff team, winning the championship with a young, inexperienced side of freshers and second year students. Wins against, Loughborough, Durham, Cambridge and draws against Oxford and Leeds secured the title for the squad.
Mark O Leary, Cardiff MCCU head coach, summed up the significance of this achievement,
"There have been some outstanding individual performances from players throughout the campaign but the key to our success has been the outstanding team ethos. Each player has made a significant contribution when it really mattered, the team were resilient, determined and never failed to respond to the challenges they were set. There are many talented players in the squad who will all be available next year as well. With the professional infrastructure we now have at the centre players receive the highest level of support from Cardiff Met's strength and conditioning, sports psychology, performance analysis, recovery and massage teams and this has been of significant benefit to us"
Mark also highlighted the contribution made by Huw Waters (ex Glamorgan CCC bowler) whose expertise and experience of professional circlet has been invaluable to the players.
Graham Haines, MCCU manager, identified the cutting edge coaching environment which has now been secured at the centre, "Mark has created a coaching programme which ensures students selected for Cardiff MCCU receive the highest quality support needed to exploit every opportunity for a seamless transition into the professional game. Additionally all Cardiff MCCU players are performing well in their chosen undergraduate programme which aligns with the centre's aim to produce 1st class cricketers with first class degrees. "