MCC looks back on 16 years of University Cricket

Posted: 4 May 2020

With the recent announcement regarding the cancellation of all professional cricket up until at least 1 July 2020, this also means that there will be no University cricket before MCC officially hands over the running and control of the Universities programme, to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), on that same date.

The MCC Universities programme has funded six university cricket centres in England and Wales, delivering top-level coaching and playing opportunities since 2004.

With a considerable number of international and elite domestic cricketers having progressed through the ranks, the scheme has made a sizeable contribution to the outlook of professional cricket in England and Wales, with many of the England qualified cricketers in the county game being products of one of the six MCC Universities.

Several have gone on to further honours, including ex-England captain Sir Andrew Strauss - a Durham graduate. Other notable names who have come through the system include Jack Leach, Rory Burns, Tom Westley, Toby Roland-Jones, Monty Panesar, Sam Billings, Zafar Ansari, Heather Knight and Natalie Sciver.

Andrew Strauss celebrates century at Lord's, 2012

In 2018, it was announced that the running of the MCCU scheme would pass to the ECB from July 2020.

The Club had hoped for a successful last season of the programme; however, due to the outbreak of Covid-19 Coronavirus, all MCC Universities matches scheduled for the early part of the summer have been cancelled.

All six centres were looking forward to first-class matches against county opposition in April, with their inter-university matches following in May and June, but sadly it has not been possible for the fixtures to take place.

Even without the uncertainty of the cricketing landscape, University matches are, by their nature, difficult to reschedule due to academic commitments and students remaining at their family homes.

2018 MCC Universities Final at Lord's

The MCCU Final is scheduled to take place at Lord’s on Thursday 27 August 2020. The Club will now await further guidance from the ECB regarding matches after 1 July, before making any announcement regarding fixtures in the latter part of the summer. 

With no qualifying matches having taken place beforehand, and professional cricket being re-scheduled, the chances of the Final taking place are remote.

"We look forward to seeing exciting cricketers develop through the scheme for many years to come"

John Stephenson, MCC Assistant Secretary (Cricket) said: "We are able to look back proudly on 16 years of supporting the development of a number of county and international players through the initiative, with MCC having been a long-time supporter of University cricket.

“In addition to those who have made a career as professional players, there are many more from the scheme who are contributing to the game in a variety of other roles.

“While it is sad that the final year of MCC's investment in the scheme has not seen any cricket played, the safety of the players and all those involved must come first in these unprecedented times.

"I hope that the scheme continues to thrive under the ECB, and we look forward to seeing exciting cricketers develop through the scheme for many years to come.

“I would like to thank all six centres, and their constituent Universities, for their support and efforts during MCC’s tenure.”

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