MCC Young Cricketers (YCs) are a select group of talented young men and women who are hoping to go on to achieve professional county contracts. These players are guided by Head Coach Mark Alleyne in the first class facility of the Indoor School at Lord's. The men participate in the Second XI Championship hoping to grab the attention of county selectors. During their penultimate game of the season against Surrey 2nd XI in Cheam, Alleyne together with YCs Ned Eckersley and Ian Cockbain talked about their experiences and what the scheme has to offer.
In what had been an eventful first innings, the MCC YCs had scored 228-9 (with one retired hurt). However this proved to be not enough as Surrey amassed a staggering 426 before they declared with three wickets remaining. With fortune smiling on the Surrey boys, they had quickly taken two wickets before the end of day two and as the minutes of day three ticked by, so did the wickets. After a swirling catch was taken at point the MCC YCs were on 104-5 needing 94 runs to ensure Surrey batted again.
Despite the present score however Alleyne was positive about the season so far. The MCC YCs have won three of their three day games and drawn two currently placing them fifth in the Northern Division. Alleyne said: “The standard of MCC YCs is improving all the time. This is particularly apparent as there is more competition in the Second XI Championship, with many first team representatives playing in this league. What is good to see is that the MCC YCs do not look out of their depth and that the gap between them and what they aspire to is not that large”.
The MCC YC programme has also helped Eckersley with a sponsorship deal with Gray Nicholls, the MCC YCs team sponsor. Eckersley explained that “There is more of a focus in the MCC YC programme when it comes to things like sponsorship deals and talking to counties about trialling. The coaches know the people to talk to and how to go about it. Their advice is very useful for someone hoping to have a career in first class cricket”.
With only one friendly three day game left in their season, Cockbain explained that his winter plans were to return to Australia for his fifth season playing with the Melbourne side Beaumaris. “It is good to get away and be able to play cricket all year round” he explained. “It also means that when it comes to the English summer I feel like I can hit the ground running as I never really have a break from the sport”.