Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
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23 March 2007 PR 07/39

University cricket performance manager Walker named captain of ECB selection side

Loughborough University cricket performance manager Alexia Walker has been named as captain for one of the ECB’s women’s Super Four selection sides for the summer.

Walker, who has graduated from Loughborough with a MSc in Sports and Leisure Management and is a former University women’s cricket captain, will lead the Emerald selection in the six one day matches and Twenty20 competition.

The 24-year-old all rounder, who is originally from Sussex and has been named vice captain for the county this season, will lead her side against teams led by current England captain Charlotte Edwards and vice captain Laura Newton (a Loughborough post-graduate student) and former England junior captain Jill Richards in the competition.

“You look at the calibre of them and it’s quite scary,” said Walker. “Apart from captaining England, its one of the highest honours you can have so I’m hugely motivated to get on and do well at it.”

Walker said studying at Loughborough and going through the MCC-UCCE cricket programme based at the University had helped her continue to develop her game.

“Working with the elite players and sharing ideas has helped me massively actually,” she added.

“Being a student, things like time management and being focussed on your goals have really made me focus on what I wanted to achieve in cricket.

“If I hadn’t come to a place like Loughborough, like many people I could have faded away but coming here has kept my hunger for cricket and I’ve pushed on and achieved more since I’ve been here.”

Walker, who for obvious reasons has been nicknamed “Crispy”, said she had performed well last season at the Super Four level including scoring 113 not out when she came in at number eight and with her side in trouble and she hoped to improve her scores this year.

“Last year I scored 61 in the Twenty20 and 113 not out in the final game, so I’m looking to get bigger scores this season. I’m an all rounder so I can bat at six.

“But, with the captaincy it’s obvious England are still really keen on me, which is good, and everything is moving in the right direction in terms of my leadership.”

Walker’s selection to the captaincy, however, had not surprised University head coach, and former England fast bowler Graham Dilley.

“It’s not before time in my opinion,” said Dilley.

“It’s a testimony to her skills as a cricketer and her understanding of the game that people have finally seen that she deserves some recognition.”

Ends

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Notes to editors

Loughborough has an established reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry, and unrivalled sporting achievement. Assessments of teaching quality by the Quality Assurance Agency place it in the top flight of UK universities; the National Student Survey ranked Loughborough in the top five among full-time students; and industry highlights the University in its top five for graduate recruitment. Around 40% of Loughborough’s income is for research, and 60% for teaching. The University has been awarded five Queen's Anniversary Prizes: for its collaboration with aerospace and automotive companies such as BAE Systems, Ford and Rolls Royce; for its work in developing countries; for pioneering research in optical engineering; for its world-leading role in sports research, education and development; and for its outstanding work in evaluating and helping to develop social policy-related programmes.

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