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21 February 2008 PR 08/20

Loughborough launches first women’s Centre of Cricket Excellence

Loughborough 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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

“Because of the effort that has been put into identifying and nurturing talented women, Loughborough has become the number one university side in the country, with many of our players gaining selection to national teams.

“We are now able to support more of our talented players through the UCCE, whilst continuing the integrated, professional approach that has brought us such success so far.”

Head Coach Graham Dilley believes the funding recognises the work put in by Loughborough to develop women’s cricket.

“We are very grateful to MCC for their added investment in our programme,” he said. “Loughborough is a great advocator of women’s cricket and we have always taken the development of our female players very seriously and given them the same opportunities via the UCCE as our men.

“This additional programme provides a fantastic opportunity for the girls at Loughborough and is a just reward for the work we’ve put into helping develop the sport and its players.”

Loughborough Women’s UCCE Captain, Kayleigh Alsop, who also captains the Warwickshire Senior Women’s side, added:
‘It’s a very exciting opportunity for more girls at Loughborough to develop their cricket skills further with the same guidance and support the men receive.”


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Notes for editors:

  1. 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. Ten Loughborough UCCE graduates have already gained international honours, with many taking up senior county captaincy roles.
  2. Loughborough are current BUSA champions, having won the event for the last four years in a row, on top of several BUSA Indoor titles.
  3. MCC Universities were first introduced in October 2000 by the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB). MCC became the sole source of external funding in 2005.
  4. The UCCE scheme exists to give young players the ability to further their cricket careers to a very high standard without compromising their education.
  5. The most high profile graduate of an MCC University in recent years is Monty Panesar, who left Loughborough the summer before he made his international debut.
  6. Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

    It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

    Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

    In the 2007 National Student Survey, the University was voted fourth in the UK, with 23 out of 29 of Loughborough’s subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. Loughborough is also ranked in the top fifteen of UK universities in national league tables. It was named winner of the 2006 and 2007 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other university.
  7. A photo of the Loughborough Women’s UCCE squad is available from Amanda Overend, Public Relations Office, T: 01509 228686.

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