Players and staff from Cardiff South Wales MCCU are marking a year of achievements as 2017 begins to draw to a close.
The highly prestigious MCCU scheme is made up of players from Cardiff Met, Cardiff University and the University of South Wales and is one of only six specialist MCCU centres in the UK.
The current 2016-17 MCCU squad has 17 students from Cardiff Met studying a number of different courses including Sports Coaching and Accounting. The head coach, Mark O’Leary is based at Cardiff Met where he is part of the academic staff.
During 2017, the Crimson Caps were collectively crowned MCCU challenge cup winners by beating Loughborough MCCU in the final at Lords in June.
There have also been a number of noteworthy individual successes on the pitch too:
Cardiff Met BSc Sport Science student Tom Cullen signed a contract with Glamorgan CCC and made his debut in the Spec Savers County Championship in July.
Alex Milton – a 3rd year BSc Psychology student at Cardiff Met - signed a two year contract with Worcestershire CCC after proving is worth as a member of their Academy.
Cardiff Met alumnus Jack Leech, is now a professional cricketer with Somerset CCC and has again been selected to tour with the England Lions this winter to Australia after narrowly missing out on the full England senior tour. This season Jack was the leading wicket taker in county cricket taking 51 ticket at an average of 25.78.
Cardiff Met BSc Sport and PE student Connor Brown signed a two year contract with Glamorgan CCC after coming through the Wales age groups and Glamorgan Academy. Connor played for Glamorgan CCC in the SpecSavers County Championship in the last two games of the season.
Alex Thomson, who graduated from Cardiff Met this year, made his first class debut for Warwickshire CCC.
A number of the Cardiff Met alumnae played in the 2017 Kia Super League Competition this season including: Laura Crofts (Yorkshire Diamonds), Carla Rudd (Southern Vipers), Lauren Parfit, Claire Thomas and Sophie Luff (Western Storm). The league consists of six teams playing each other once in a league format. Western Storm, captained by MCCU and Cardiff Uni alumna Heather Knight, were crowned 2017 Champions.
Cardiff MCCU and Cardiff University alumna, Heather Knight captained England women's winning World Cup side, leading the squad to a pulsating finish against India at Lords winning by nine runs. Heather will now lead England in the Ashes tour to Australia staring this month.
Tim Rouse who graduated this year from Cardiff University has just signed a two year contract with Somerset CCC and has played in a number of SpecSavers County Championship games.
A number of players who have not made the grade as players are working in the cricket world. Examples include Cardiff Met graduate, Bradley Scriven and USW alumnus, Tom Warner. Bradley worked in the Indian Premier league for IMG as assistant tournament operations manager whilst Tom Warner is currently working for the Lords Taverners as a member of the executive team.
MCCU Head Coach, Mark O’Leary, said: “I am delighted with how the players have developed on the programme. All the players that have signed professional contracts fully deserve it.
“The elite performance programme mirrors many first Class County programmes therefore the students have to organise and manage a demanding workload of performance and study.”
Alex Thomson added: "Studying at Cardiff Metropolitan University and being a member of Cardiff MCCU allowed me to have the exposure of training like a professional whilst pursuing academic accreditations. All those who undergo the MCCU cricket scheme at Cardiff are exposed to top level coaching from Mark O'Leary, Graham Haines and Mark Walton.
“After graduating in 2016 I returned to Cardiff Met to further my education in the form of PGCE specialising in Physical Education. The MCCU worked tirelessly to accommodate my academic requirements whilst ensuring I was still receiving the highest level of coaching for player development.”