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 2013
Ireland cricketer and YC Stuart Poynter has shunned the sun of the southern hemisphere in favour of a winter at Lord's ahead of a big summer in 2013.
I want to play in every YC match
For Stuart Poynter, 2013 could be a defining summer. The 22-year-old wicket-keeper batsman is embarking on his third and probably final season with the MCC Young Cricketers at Lord's and knows a strong season is essential if he's to stay on track to challenge for a place in the Ireland squad for the 2015 World Cup in Australia.
But rather than joining many of his teammates and peers in Australia or South Africa for a winter of club cricket and sunshine, he's instead been stalking the MCC Cricket Academy in a bid to get his game in order in time for the start of the English summer.
It's a big change for Poynter, who spent the past two winters in Australia and does admit to a little jealousy of those teammates who have journeyed abroad.
"You do get a little bit jealous when it's so cold here!" he said.
"But I have been away the last two winters and played a lot of cricket with not a lot of time off at all, so I thought it would be best for my game that I take a bit of rest and just train and get in the gym! I'm recharging the batteries for a big summer in 2013."
Not that Poynter has been idle. In addition to regular sessions in the Academy with MCC Head Coach Mark Alleyne, Senior Coach Alan Duncan and Strength and Conditioning Coach Keith Gladstone, Poynter has been flying to Ireland at weekends for sessions with the national squad.
Alleyne, who has worked with Poynter for the past two summers in his role at Lord's, praised the improvements his young charge made with the bat in 2012 and was confident his decision to remain in the UK this winter would pay off in the long term.
He said: "I believe staying at home this winter has heightened Stuart's appreciation on the importance of his preparation. He has created the time to work on his game in a good environment.
"The access to our coaching resources and the facility here at the Cricket Academy will make sure it was worth sacrificing a few rays overseas."
And certainly Poynter has high hopes that his winter work can lead to big things in 2013.
"I want to play in every YC match and play a big part in lots of victories next summer," he explained.
"Hopefully I can also go on trial with a few county clubs and get a contract for the 2014 summer. I also hope to get a chance to make more Ireland appearances when I can and I'm trying to push for the 2015 World Cup squad.
"If this winter of hard work goes well then all these goals will be realistic."