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From Cardiff Met to New Zealand: MCCU Alumnus to join England Squad after recent success



​England’s batting coach, Graham Thorpe, presents Jack Leach with his Lions cap. Photo courtesy of ECB. 

Cardiff Metropolitan University Alumnus and former Cardiff South Wales MCCU player, Jack Leach has been called up to join the England squad in New Zealand.

Jack, a professional cricketer for Somerset CCC, will join the Test squad to replace Mason Crane, of Hampshire CCC, in Auckland on Tuesday after the recent announcement of a lower back stress fracture diagnosis for Mason.

After his studies, Jack became a professional cricketer with Somerset CCC where he had been part of the age group sides and Academy at Somerset CCC.

The left-arm spinner is one of many MCCU players from Cardiff Met to turn professional after completing a successful MCCU scheme at the University.

Last year he was selected to tour with the England Lions in Australia, and his outstanding bowling generated an incredible performance on the England Lions tour of the West Indies, with Leach taking 18 wickets in the three-Test A series, despite England unfortunately losing 3-0. Last season, Jack was the leading wicket taker in county cricket taking 51 wickets at an average of 25.78.

MCCU Head Coach, Mark O'Leary, said: "I am delighted to see that our Cardiff Met alumnus Jack Leach has secured a well-deserved spot on the England team this year in New Zealand. I anticipate further great success for England from Jack and he will be an outstanding contribution to the squad in Auckland this Tuesday.  I look forward to watching Jack build even further upon the success of his professional career so far – good luck Jack!

"The elite performance programme at our university, that helped propel Jack into professional cricket, replicates many first-class County programmes. Pursuing our elite performance programme is a demanding endeavour in itself, and balancing this alongside a degree, means that students hold down a demanding workload of performance and study, preparing them for the world of professional play and is an even further testament to their success. Success stories such as Jack's prove how incredibly valuable the programme is, and it is a shining testament to the students who pursue their sporting dreams and studies at our University."

Speaking about his time at Cardiff Met, Jack Leach said: "The MCCU scheme based at Cardiff Met, was a huge part of my development to get to where I am now in my career. Between the age of 18 and 21 it was a crucial time in my development and it gave me the opportunity to train in a professional environment with great facilities and play against first class counties. It was an enjoyable three years where I was able to complete a Sport Coaching honours degree whilst continuing to work hard to achieve my dream of playing first class cricket."

The highly prestigious Cardiff South Wales MCCU scheme was formed by three universities: Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff University and the University of South Wales, and is one of only six specialist MCCU centres in the UK. The MCC Universities, which each receive funding each year from the MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club), are aimed at male students with potential to play first class cricket and female students who have played to senior county level. 

The MCCU Cricket scheme exposes talented cricketers and students to top level coaching from Mark O'Leary and Graham Haines, as well as offering playing opportunities whilst furthering their education. 

The current 2017-18 MCCU squad has 15 students from Cardiff Met, all studying a number of different courses including Accounting, Sport and P.E, Product Design and many more. The head coach, Mark O'Leary is based at Cardiff Met where he is part of the academic staff.