Civic reception for trophy-winning Cardiff sport scheme 

19/10/2012 10:00 


ONE of Wales’ most flourishing sport schemes has been saluted with a glittering event at Cardiff Mansion House.

The reception was attended by players, coaches, academics, fitness experts and others who have helped cricket’s Cardiff/Glamorgan MCCU thrive over the past six years.

Guests included England women’s cricket star Heather Knight, Cardiff/Glamorgan skipper and Ireland international Andrew Balbirnie and Andrew Salter who has appeared for Glamorgan.

Award winners Zac Elkin and Heather Knight as well as MCCU
team captain Andrew Balbirnie.
Heather, aged 21, said: “I was thrilled to attend this function – it’s right that a successful body such as Cardiff/Glamorgan MCCU is celebrated.

“Many young cricketers have benefited from the expertise on offer and, speaking personally, I can say that Cardiff/Glamorgan director of cricket Kevin Lyons is an inspiration.

“He’s a vastly experienced coach at all levels and increased my confidence enormously. He constantly stresses the importance of sound basic technique and his ability to impart his deep knowledge on all aspects of batting in a simple manner made me aware of my own capabilities.”

Heather, of Cardiff University, has been an MCCU member and became a regular member of the England squad as they developed into world cricket’s best women’s squad.  She has played 27 one-day internationals and eight T20s. Her Test debut came in Sydney against Australia two years ago.

The Cardiff/Glamorgan MCCU reception took place at Mansion House, Cardiff, on Thursday, October 18. It was hosted by Cardiff Lord Mayor Councillor Derrick Morgan and Cardiff Met University Vice-Chancellor Professor Antony Chapman.

MC was BBC Wales sports reporter Phil Steele. Guests included former Glamorgan player and England selector Ossie Wheatley, former Glamorgan Cricket president Peter Walker and the university heads of sport Dr Tudor Williams (University of Glamorgan), Stuart Vanstone (Cardiff University) and Dave Cobner (Cardiff Met).

The highly successful MCCU cricket team was honoured at
Cardiff’s Mansion House.
The event saw the presentation of two Cardiff MCCU Merit Awards 2012. They went to Heather Knight for her success on the international stage and to Cardiff/Glamorgan MCCU’s Zac Elkin who scored his debut first-class century with a six-hour 138 against Somerset at Taunton this season.

Cardiff/Glamorgan MCCU is part of the MCC Universities system. It is focused on Cardiff Met’s world class sports facilities and features players from that university along with Cardiff University and the University of Glamorgan.

They have won 12 national titles in six years and the players are seen as among Britain’s leading young prospects for professional cricket. This summer, Cardiff/Glamorgan claimed the MCCU T20 title.

Previous Cardiff/Glamorgan triumphs included three MCCU Challenge Final wins at Lord’s, two MCCU Championships and five consecutive BUCS Premier A League titles.

They have gained ECB first-class status. Glamorgan CCC supports the MCCU's work and the season sees Cardiff/Glamorgan play first-class counties.

The intensive Cardiff/Glamorgan training is supervised by coaches and staff from the MCC Centre of Excellence based at Cardiff Met. Players have access to team and individual strength and conditioning programmes, performance analysis and specialised coaching.

Director of cricket Kevin Lyons said: “It’s been a very satisfying past six years; the Mansion House reception celebrated the success of Cardiff/Glamorgan MCCU and was an opportunity to thank the many people behind the scenes.”


Cardiff/Glamorgan MCCU  The England and Wales Cricket Board instigated the MCC Universities system to ensure that top young cricketers were encouraged to enter Higher Education by providing opportunities to develop their cricket whilst studying. The scheme, run by the MCC, provides funding to six centres: Cardiff/Glamorgan, Bradford/Leeds, Cambridge, Durham, Loughborough and Oxford. The Cardiff/Glamorgan MCCU was formed by Cardiff Met, Cardiff University and the University of Glamorgan. The MCC universities, which each receive £80,000 a year from the MCC, are aimed at male students with potential to play first class cricket and female students who have played to senior county level. The Cardiff/Glamorgan MCCU plays home matches at grounds used by Glamorgan CCC, including the Swalec Stadium. Cardiff Met is the focal point of day-to-day operations. Cardiff /Glamorgan MCCU players to have gained professional contracts and played first class cricket include: Stephanie Davies (England), Ian Thomas (Glamorgan), Aaron Shingler (Glamorgan), Alister Bressington (Gloucester), James Tomlinson (Hampshire), Mark Petinni (Essex), Daniel Rowe (Leicester), Kyle Tudge (Glamorgan) and Will Owen (Glamorgan).

A message from Cardiff MCCU director of cricket Kevin Lyons October 2012

Despite the weather playing havoc across cricket this year, Cardiff MCCU found the resolve and skill to capture their latest national trophy. At the end of June they beat Loughborough and Oxford on the same day to win their first T20 title.  A week earlier at the Parks in Oxford, they had beaten Cambridge and Oxford to qualify for finals day.

The Cardiff centre has now won every available national title in six years.  Twelve trophies since 2007 is huge testimony to the outstanding skills of my colleagues such as team manager Graham Haines; they have achieved this run success with five different captains. 

It’s enormously pleasing to be associated with such consistent performance; quite simply it’s a classic example of having good players and the correct personnel in the right combinations. I refer to those who have made - and are still making - an invaluable contribution to the welfare of our players both academically and in their physical well-being.   The players themselves produce competitive performances which bring the trophies. 

The 2012 season was significant for the fact that we embarked on our first-class status, awarded by the ECB last December due to successful results in the previous five years. 

Another interesting fact from the season is that the opening first-class matches were against Somerset (at Taunton) and Warwickshire (at Edgbaston) in early April.  Both were drawn and, with Warwickshire winning the ECB Division One championship a few months later, and Somerset coming second, the university team had clearly produced a very, very, fine effort.

The season saw eye catching progress from several individuals. 

Will Jones (Cardiff University) was T20 man of the MCCU tournament and, as opening bat and leg spinner, played several times for Leicestershire in the County Championship and in a number of one-day County games. 

Andrew Balbirnie (Cardiff Met and present MCCU captain) was selected for Ireland against South Africa and, as a top order batsman and off-spinner, made his County Championship debut for Middlesex against Surrey at The Oval.

Jack Leach (Cardiff Met) played for Somerset against South Africa at Taunton and made his County Championship debut against Lancashire as a left-arm spin bowler.

Andrew Salter, an off spinner, played twice for Glamorgan in the Clydesdale ECB 40 over tournament – against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge and Durham at Chester le Street. He was named the most promising university spin bowler throughout the whole MCCU scheme and is due to receive his Brian Johnson Memorial Award at a dinner in the Lords Long Room on October 29.

Adam Miles (Cardiff Met) is to keep wicket on the MCC’s New Year tour of Argentina under the watchful eye of former England captain Mike Gatting.

Cardiff MCCU has now helped in the development of 19 players onto professional contracts across 11 Counties. This proves conclusively that the MCCU scheme is an extremely worthwhile pathway into the first-class game. 

Finally, Cardiff MCCU says a huge thank you to Tim Andradi and the London School of Commerce for their outstanding sponsorship and support over the past three years.