KEEPING LORD'S WORLD CLASS
Founded in 1787, Marylebone Cricket Club is the most active and famous cricket club in the world and owner of Lord's Cricket Ground - the Home of Cricket.
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MCC's Universities scheme writes a number of unconventional cricketing stories - typified by Glamorgan's young quick bowler Mike Reed.
If you're good enough then there are opportunities
Reed, who has signed a two-year deal for the 2013 and 2014 seasons after impressing this summer on a development contract, stands as a perfect example of how the scheme provides an alternative route into the game.
A Maths graduate from the Cardiff University, Reed's cricketing journey bypassed the county academy route fully, playing club cricket recreationally rather than with an eye on a future career in cricket.
"I'm a self starter," Reed admitted.
"But with the MCCU scheme you’re on the brink of professional cricket while also studying for a degree, which is unique for any professional sport in this country."
The MCCU route into the first-class game is far from unusual (around 20% of professionals played at one of the six MCCUs) but most choose to join on account of their existing cricketing prowess, as a way of ensuring a quality education alongside continuing their on-field progress.
Reed meanwhile only played social cricket in his first summer at Cardiff, before being spotted by coach Kevin Lyons. And he credits the fluidity of the system for his rapid advancement.
"I’d come to Cardiff primarily just to get a degree," added the 24-year-old, who has played club cricket in south Wales with Usk and Ammanford.
"But I was in the right place at the right time. There’s a lot of opportunities; good links between Glamorgan and the MCCU, and it has seemed to me that in Wales, if you're good enough then there are opportunities to get to the top level."
Figures of 3/39 in Glamorgan's final first-class match of the summer against Kent sealed Reed's two-year deal at the Welsh county - who are losing their star fast bowler James Harris for the 2013 season.
After a season where he was given limited opportunities in the first team, playing just four first class games, Reed was clearly delighted that his improvement over the summer had been recognised.
"It was a massive weight off my shoulders," added Reed.
"A year is a long time in a young player's development, and I'm glad I've shown enough to get a couple more sealed at Glamorgan."