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.
© Copyright 2014
Lord's TV spent a day in Canterbury this month to find out about the MCC Universities scheme.
Set up in 2005, the scheme has been giving promising cricketers a chance to continue their careers while studying at university.
The MCCU Youth Scheme has given me a chance
Thanks to financial support from MCC there are six centres of excellence across the country at Oxford, Cambridge, Leeds/Bradford, Loughborough, Cardiff and Durham.
Notable graduates include former England captain Andrew Strauss, who spent his university years at Durham and England spinner Monty Panesar, an alumni of Loughborough University.
Students of the game
In addition to first-class fixtures against the full county teams and inter-MCCU two-day, 50 over and t20 competitions, the pick of the players from the scheme who're not signed by counties are brought together to make the MCCU Combined XI - competing in the three-day Second XI Championship.
Run by former Middlesex and England batsman Clive Radley, the best university boys are given another opportunity to impress county coaches around the country during the second half of the summer.
With 20% of all English qualified players in the county system having attended an MCCU, the scheme is a crucial part of the player pathway leading to professional cricket.
One player on show for the Combined XI in Canterbury was 19-year-old fast bowler Stuart Whittingham. Having excelled at his club side, Horsham, in the Sussex Leagues but not been given his county chance - despite being on the books at Sussex CCC - Whittingham decided to go to Loughborough University.
The MCCU scheme has offered him another chance to continue his cricket career; an opportunity that may have been lost without it.
"I'm quite a late developed and the MCCU Youth Scheme has given me a chance to go away to uni, away from my county and to hopefully come back knowing my own game a bit better," he told Lord's TV.
Leeds/Bradford MCCU batsman and the Combined XI captain Will Vanderspar added: "The whole point in going to University when you want to become a cricketer is that all paths are still open."