Loughborough launches first women’s centre of cricket excellence

First women's University Centre of Cricket ExcellenceLoughborough University has been named as the country’s first women’s University Centre of Cricket Excellence (UCCE) thanks to additional funding from Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC).

MCC’s investment of nearly £30,000 in the Loughborough centre takes the total Club spend on the six UCCE’s (collectively known as MCC Universities) past the £2 million mark since 2005, the year that it began funding the scheme.

Loughborough, which currently has 35 players at its mixed UCCE, successfully applied for funding from MCC to support a dedicated women’s section and allow more female cricketers to access the world-class facilities and expertise available as part of the programme.

The additional funding will enable the University to run a separate squad of up to 13 female students in 2008. They will benefit from a supported strength and conditioning programme, nutritional and psychological advice, video analysis, medical screenings and subsidised kit and equipment. In addition, they will receive top class coaching and increased access to the ECB National Cricket Performance Centre.

Taking up the role as Assistant Coach for the women’s UCCE will be Nicky Shaw, the England vice-captain and current Loughborough student. Nicky, who is also a former MCC Young Cricketer, will work alongside UCCE Head Coach and former England fast bowler, Graham Dilley.

Loughborough has a proud history of women’s cricket and has been committed to the development of its female cricketers since the programme’s inception in 2000. More women have progressed through the Loughborough system than at any of the other five UCCEs across the country, with 10 UCCE graduates gaining international honours and many taking up captaincy roles with senior county sides.

Loughborough are current BUSA champions, having won the event for the last four years in a row, on top of several BUSA Indoor titles.

John Stephenson, MCC’s Head of Cricket, is impressed with the University set-up, commenting:

“MCC is proud of its involvement with the UCCE scheme and our investment in University cricket continues to grow each year. Loughborough have put a great deal of time and effort into women’s cricket and this funding is fully merited and well deserved. With Graham and Nicky leading the coaching, I have no doubt that we’ll see even more talented women cricketers emerge from the University and, we hope, challenge for a place in the national side.”

Loughborough University Head of Performance Sport, Andy Borrie, is thrilled to receive the go-ahead from MCC.

“The additional funding from MCC underlines our commitment to women’s cricket and is testament to the brilliant work our coaches and staff have done at the UCCE,” he said.