A Cardiff Met Graduate hit a century during his first game for Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club.
Jake Libby, who graduated in Sport and Exercise Science from Cardiff Met this summer, played for the club in the LV Championship last week and became the first person for 68 years to make a century on debut for the side.
Jake was delighted to play in the match against Sussex County Cricket Club at Trent Bridge and attributes much of his success to the support he received at Cardiff Met and as part of the MCCU scheme, which is based at the university, one of six University Centres of Cricketing Excellence supported by Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC).
Twenty-one-year-old Jake from Nottingham said: "The MCCU and Cardiff Met gave me the chance to achieve my goals in cricket whilst gaining a degree. The scheme at Cardiff allowed me to play competitive cricket and develop my skills in a professional environment which enabled me to secure a full time contract with Notts. I owe a lot to staff and coaches at Cardiff who have helped me during my time at Cardiff Met".
Jake highlighted the influence of Mark O'Leary from Cardiff Met Sport, who is also Cardiff MCCU Head Coach, saying: "If it hadn't been for Mark's guidance and coaching expertise I wouldn't have been playing professional cricket. The support I received was second to none, and would recommend any aspiring professional cricketer to apply to the universities which form the MCCU scheme at Cardiff (Cardiff Met, Cardiff and University of South Wales.)"
Jake received a stream of plaudits following his 108 innings.
Fellow Notts CCC team mate and England player Alex Hales tweeted: "Special day for Jake Libby - 100 on debut against two of the best opening bowlers around # takeabow".
The Daily Telegraph's cricket correspondent Paul Bolten acknowledged Libby's achievement, saying 'Against an attack that included England's Chris Jordan and the Australian Steve Magoffin, one of the most consistent performers in county cricket, Libby displayed a sound technique and unflappable temperament to make a 108 from 262 balls."
Pat Gibson from the Times wrote, 'He (Libby) made an instant impression on Nottinghamshire,(however), and it is easy to see why they have already given him a two year contract as he moved to 108 off 262 balls with supreme composure."
Cardiff Met's Mark O'Leary, Head coach of Cardiff South Wales MCCU was 'over the moon' for Libby and said: "Jake's achievement is what the MCCU is all about - gaining an honours degree and professional contract is achievable if you are prepared to work hard, be disciplined and buy into the professional ethos of the scheme.
"Jake never stopped believing in his ability, never missed a training or coaching session or failed to meet academic deadlines; he is a credit to Cardiff Met and the Cardiff South Wales MCCU scheme. Jake is the perfect role model for all aspiring young cricketers who want to follow graduate programmes at university and also become a professional cricketer."
Jake Libby follows Glamorgan CC's Keiran Bull as the second Cardiff Met student to make a first class debut in this year's LV County Championship. They join a long list of Cardiff and South Wales alumni who have also gained professional contracts and played County Championship cricket. These include: Mark Petinni (Essex), James Tomlinson (Hampshire), Andrew Bressington and Uzi Qureshi (Gloucester), Daniel Rowe and Will Jones (Leicester,) Rory Burns(Surrey), Andrew Balbirnie (Middlesex), Jack Leach (Somerset), Fabian Cowdrey (Kent), Matthew Hobden (Sussex),Tom Allin (Warwickshire), Ian Thomas, Kyle Tudge, Mike Reed, Will Owen, Alex Jones, Adam Harrison, Chris Ashling, Andrew Salter and Owen Morgan (Glamorgan), Heather Knight (England), Sophie Luff and Carla Rudd (England Academy.)