I got involved in the MCCU programme at Oxford Brookes University after my gap year.
After having a good season for my club back in Sussex, Middleton, I ended up being looked at by the county coaches in Hove. They knew I was going to Oxford Brookes, so they spoke to the head coach up here, Graham Charlesworth, and after a trial I was lucky enough to get a place on the scheme.
I'm a six foot six fast bowler and and my dream is to play cricket professionally.
The opportunities in an MCCU programme are phenomenal
I study Osteopathy here, which is similar to Physiotherapy. All the boys will say that it’s quite tough to juggle studying and cricket, but if you’re organised and manage your time it’s all fine.
We have our set study times and set cricket times. With lectures and everything we have to do a lot of our cricket and gym work early mornings, but once you’re into the swing of things, with the boys all mucking in together it’s a great place to be.
Fighting back to fitness
My pre-season this year’s been a bit different as I’ve been coming back from an injury, but MCC have been absolutely fantastic in giving me specific strength and conditioning coaching, and in giving me the time to come back and put me in the best position possible for the season ahead.
Full fitness is just around the corner. I’ve just had the all-clear from the medical staff to start upping my intensity so hopefully in a month or so I’ll be able to get outside and start progressing things which will be great.
Taking on Trott
The news came out recently that Jonathan Trott will be playing for Warwickshire in our match against them at The Parks on 7-9 April, and the boys can’t wait.
Jonathan Trott will return for Warwickshire against Oxford MCCU
For some of the lads it will be their First Class debuts so they’ll be looking to make a big first impression, and the added bonus of playing against a world class player like Trott will be absolutely brilliant.
We always sit down before any game and work out ways to get their batters out, and I imagine there’ll be quite an in-depth analysis about what we can do to Trott.
There’ll certainly be quite a bit of footage for us to go through!
Personally I won't be playing in the game as I won't be fully fit by then.
It's frustrating, as a sportsman you want to play in every game and it’s tough to be sat on the sideline, but it’s part and parcel of what sport brings and I know I have to be responsible in my rehabilitation.
Working with Kirby
I’m lucky enough to do a lot of my rehab work with Somerset bowler Steve Kirby, who’s been brilliant with me.
He’s very fiery and intense, but that’s great - exactly what you want in a coach as he’s passionate about what he does.
He's very knowledgeable, and as a fast bowler I couldn’t ask for a better person really as a mentor for all aspects of my game.
Steve came up to see us in to do some talent scouting and liked what he saw in me, and sort of took me on board with him. He’d travel up from Somerset to work with me on a one-to-one basis every week, which was really good of him, and it’s really worked out well.
At the moment he’s coming back from an injury himself so we’ve been working together with him trying to prepare himself for the county season.
It’s great and I’m very lucky to have it and I don’t ever take it for granted, all I can do is to work as hard as I can in every session to make sure I’m paying back the favour that he’s given me.
Somerset bowler Steve Kirby has worked with Jamie in his comeback from injury
Through working with Steve I’ll hopefully be able to get a chance with Somerset’s Second Eleven this summer, but nothing’s been confirmed. Looking ahead I just want to play early on in fixtures for Oxford MCCU and hopefully try to impress the right people and we’ll see what happens.
All the cricketers in the MCCU say that becoming a county cricketer is the ultimate goal, and we don’t dedicate our time to cricket without that being the ultimate aim.
I have links with Somerset and Sussex, and have done a pre-season at Kent but I don’t mind where - I’ll travel around and play anywhere!
The Oxford MCCU programme brings together students from Oxford Brookes and Oxford University, which means there’s always good natured rivalry.
Oxford as a city is a nice place to be, it has a lot of heritage, and the two universities play off against each other, which is always fun.
Each summer we play an Oxford Brookes v Oxford University match where there’s always healthy rivalry and a few words said on the pitch - all within the spirit of cricket of course!
Plans for the future
I’ve only got a few more months here at Oxford Brookes as I graduate in June - I just need to get through my finals hopefully!
I’m lucky enough to be doing a degree where I can specialise in sport, so if my cricket career doesn’t work out I’ll still be able to work in sporting role.
Having been on the scheme for three years I couldn’t recommend it more to aspiring players who aren’t quite in with a county yet or want to go and develop their studies.
The opportunities an MCCU programme offers are fantastic. The support staff (almost one per every member of the squad) are phenomenal, and I really can’t recommend it highly enough.