UWIC students signed to professional cricket teams
FOUR students from the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC) have been signed to prominent county cricket clubs.
The first year students are part of the Cardiff/Glamorgan University Centre of Cricketing Excellence (UCCE) and have been rewarded with professional summer contracts with Glamorgan or Warwickshire.
All four players, Will Owen, 19 from North Wales, Chris Ashling, 19 from Cheshire, Alex Jones, 19 from Bridgend and 20 year old Tom Allin from Devon, are opening bowlers and will join the teams in July following the university season.
Tom Allin is the first signing of Ashley Giles the former England cricketer and Director of Cricket at Warwickshire. Tom will also have the benefit of working with Allah Donald, the great South African fast bowler who is now a member of the coaching staff at Edgebaston.
Kevin Lyons, Director of Cricket and Head Coach of the UCCE, is pleased with the students’ progress but as a man with a wealth of cricket experience he makes it clear that this is no time for the boys to rest on their laurels. He said: “The players are on the very first rung of the professional ladder and must realise they have to work extremely hard to improve their game whilst maintaining fitness levels throughout the season.
“Firstly they have to make an impact at this level and more importantly learn from playing experience if they are to develop into full-time professionals. Their main priority though is to gain a degree and then totally concentrate on making progress in the professional game and enjoy life as a first-class cricketer.”
Cardiff/Glamorgan UCCE, who achieved a magnificent double trophy success in 2007, is funded by MCC Universities and allows students to study whilst developing their cricket skills. These signings are proof of the schemes success. Taking this route means that any talented cricketer is able to achieve a professional contract whilst studying for an academic qualification.
Cardiff/Glamorgan is one of the six University Centres of Cricketing Excellence (UCCE) across the UK. The centre is a partnership of the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC), University of Glamorgan and Cardiff University.
MCC invests over half a million pounds per year in its Universities initiative which provides talented young cricketers with the opportunity to develop their cricketing skills alongside their university studies.
MCC provides support for the universities’ coaching programmes and facilities helping to create an environment in which players can develop. Some of the students have also been called up to represent MCC against international opposition, with Simon Butler (Cardiff/Glamorgan) being selected to play for MCC against the West Indians at Durham in 2007, scoring 12 runs and taking 3 wickets.
MCC Universities have helped foster talents such as the talismanic spinner Monty Panesar and the rising West Indian star Ruel Brathwaite, who was called up to the West Indies one-day team against the England Lions, taking the wicket of Owais Shah.
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