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Eating away over the winter


End of first class University Cricket
Discussion started by BarmierKev , 16 December, 2019 20:02
End of first class University Cricket
BarmierKev 16 December, 2019 20:02
Was wondering if this post belongs to the Madness thread.

In the Times today I read that the ECB in their "wisdom" have decided next year the currently approved University Cricket programmes are going to lose their first class status and funding. This has been a source for producing much of England's talent over the years, for example Andrew Strauss.

I would like to know the rationale behind this before I say they don't know what they are doing.



Barmy Kev
I'm only here for the tele

Re: End of first class University Cricket
Jonathan Winsky 16 December, 2019 21:46
Although the line-ups that universities have tended to field against counties has rarely been of a great standard since I began following cricket, it is a pity that it seems that ECB will cease finding the universities, as it is a scheme which has saved many players from having to choose between education and cricket, and has enabled players to gain qualifications which could be important for life post-cricket.

I would have thought that the rationale behind ECB’s decision to end the funding is because the line-ups are often of a low standard, and because they have used up a lot of their reserves on The Hundred.

Universities cricket used to be funded by MCC, but I think that they felt that, as private members’ club, they shouldn't be expected to take responsibility for the scheme, which is why ECB took over.

I am glad to say that I am struggling to name many cricketers who have taken their own lives in the last 20 years. However, I don’t think that suicide was so rare in previous eras. I wonder how much of this improvement is testament to how the universities scheme and the work of PCA has helped prepare players for the challenges that they may face when their career comes to an end.

Re: End of first class University Cricket
chunkyinargyll 17 December, 2019 07:20
This is probably a result of the ECB being very short of funds because of the money thrown away on the blundred.

Surely they could have continued to fund this, but just withdrawn first class status from the few matches that still had it.

I think I read that 50% of people now go to university, so a number of players who aren't sure if they'll make it as a cricketer want a university degree to fall back on if cricket doesn't work out for them.

As we saw with Ethan Bamber last year, being at university doesn't mean you have to miss a lot of cricket for your county, because these days any missed lectures can be downloaded and watched at the students convienience, so I suppose he wasn't available for Exeter Uni very often.

I think (stress think) Tom Lace is at university somewhere, but it didn't stop him playing for Derbyshire, so that means once the season starts properly universities can't even put out their best side.

Still, you would have thought ensuring first class cricketers at university continued to have good quality coaching, and faced decent standard county 2nd XI's was important. One or two good cricketers have been found that way. I think (again I'm not 100% sure) Luis Reece was discovered by Derbyshire (now he's at Lanky) as a result of a series of good performances for his university.

Anyway, another long tradition dies.

Re: End of first class University Cricket
chunkyinargyll 17 December, 2019 07:30
Quote:
Jonathan Winsky

I am glad to say that I am struggling to name many cricketers who have taken their own lives in the last 20 years. However, I don’t think that suicide was so rare in previous eras. I wonder how much of this improvement is testament to how the universities scheme and the work of PCA has helped prepare players for the challenges that they may face when their career comes to an end.

Besides the well known case of David Bairstow, I can also think of Mark Saxelby.

[en.wikipedia.org]

Re: End of first class University Cricket
Seaxe_man1 17 December, 2019 16:07
Two championship matches sacrificed for what always should have been second eleven fixtures. Cost was underwritten by MCC I believe.

Re: End of first class University Cricket
freddie tittlemouse 17 December, 2019 16:54
About 50 years too late. Should have been done about the time Gentlemen Vs Players was banished.

Re: End of first class University Cricket
adelaide 17 December, 2019 21:33
It's not the matches or whether they have first class status. It is the withdrawal of funding for good coaching in an environment where good players can develop and also take their time about deciding whether to risk cricket as a career.

Brearley and Edmonds were both products of Cambridge University and i imagine both could easily have been lost. I'm not sure how aware counties were of young cricketers in those days, at least when it came to those who were on the public school to Oxbridge ladder. These days a fair number of players on counties' books are at university but I suspect that they were already in counties' age systems before they went. so the situation is a Not sure age systems existed in the same way back in the day.

The thought that there was any link whatsoever to mental health and suicide had not occurred to me. I hope that sports teams generally are better at helping young players appreciate that their career might not even start properly, never kind come to an end.


Adelaide, Scumbag College

Re: End of first class University Cricket
Jonathan Winsky 17 December, 2019 23:41
There were a few reasons why I mentioned the link between cricketers having a university education and mental health. One reason is because an article in the December 2019 issue of The Cricketer written by George Dobell briefly mentions that having such an education can prevent players from encountering poverty and/or depression when their career ends. Another reason is because I think that some people have a perception that one of the reasons why cricketers (and indeed players from other sports) attempt suicide is because their career has ended and they find that they do not have the required skills or qualifications to cope with life after playing. Another reason is because the fact that I would like to think that cricketers are these days better supported to cope with the transition between playing and retirement goes some way to explain why there is no longer much need for counties to award benefit or testimonial years whereby most or all proceeds are retained by the player (an issue which gets discussed whenever Middlesex decide to offer a player a testimonial year).

Personally, I don’t think it is entirely accurate to say that one of the reasons why people encounter poor mental health is because they struggle to find employment, as many people can experience difficulties in finding employment without it affecting their mental health, although unquestionably it can only be a bad thing if people can’t find work, which is why it can be extremely helpful if cricketers are able to enter retirement with some university qualifications.

Whereas it is debatable whether having university qualifications can help cricketers’ mental health, surely there can’t be much debate about whether it can help their chances of avoiding poverty. Dobell - in the same paragraph as saying that almost 25% of England-qualified men and women’s players came through the MCCU system - points out that there are former professional players whose names we would recognise who are reliant on food banks to survive, although he doesn’t say whether they attended university or not.

The section of the article by Dobell which laments the withdrawal of ECB funding ends by questioning why PCA have “been bizarrely passive towards a scheme that is clearly such a benefit to their members”. It is certainly a surprise that PCA seem not to have done more to address the loss of the funding, as PCA play a big role in preparing cricketers for the transition to retirement.

The article by Dobell mentions a lot of things. In fact, it mentions everything apart from the possible answer to the question which this thread poses, which is why have ECB withdrawn funding?

Re: End of first class University Cricket
antryg 24 December, 2019 14:23
They haven't in reality been first class matches for decades (if not longer). As to the funding well the ECB are in my view a laughing stock so there is no point in commenting further.


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