A well struck deal between the University of Derby and Derbyshire County Cricket Club is boosting young cricketing stars’ long-term prospects.
Youth Academy players at the club can now take up free undergraduate University degree courses in business and sports management, investing in their future and that of the sport. The three-year courses will provide training useful to them in a future career as a coach, manager or leader in the sport.
Derbyshire fast bowler Ed Jones, 18, became the first student to join the scholarship scheme at its launch yesterday (September 17), on the first day of the Derbyshire Vs Gloucestershire LV County Championship at the County Ground in Derby.
The scheme, offering opportunities to two to three players a year, is called the University of Derby Donald Carr Cricketing Scholarship.
Mr Carr, now 81, played internationally for England in the early 1950s and led Derbyshire between 1955 and 1962, before holding a series of senior roles within the Derbyshire club, the MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club), the Test and County Cricket Board, and the Cricket Council. He has given the scheme named in his honour his full support.
By providing real educational opportunities for up and coming players, the scholarship scheme aims to help Derbyshire retain its young talent.
Mr Carr said: “I am very honoured for this wonderful scheme to be named after me and I hope it helps produce many fine young cricketers for Derbyshire in the years to come.”
Ed, from Stoke on Trent, also plays for Leek Cricket Club. He will begin his BA (Hons) Business and Finance degree course at the University of Derby this month (September).
He added: “It’s a good move for me. There is a lot more business involvement in sport now, and related job opportunities for when your playing career is over.
“I am delighted to be the first Academy player to take advantage of this scholarship scheme and I am very grateful, both to the University and the cricket club, for giving me this opportunity.”
Players will be given time to attend University lectures and study, whilst also developing their sporting skills at Derbyshire’s cricket Academy. The usual full time degree course fees, currently £3,145 a year, will be met by the cricket club and the University, paying a third and two-thirds respectively.
Hari Punchihewa, University Pro Vice-Chancellor and Finance Director, said: “As part of the community we have an interest in helping Derbyshire retain the young cricketing talent it’s nurtured.
“The advantage of this scholarship scheme to the student is that they are having their fees paid for, so they will not need to take out a tuition fee loan as is the case with other students. Further, they can continue developing their cricket career whilst obtaining a valuable qualification to help them in the future.”
Derbyshire County Cricket Club Chairman Don Amott said: “Forming a partnership with the University of Derby is terrific news for all of the young cricketers who choose to join the scheme.
“We are very proud of our Academy system, which is as much about helping youngsters to improve in all walks of life as it is about moulding them into good cricketers.
“Not every youngster that comes through the Academy is lucky enough to become a professional cricketer at the end of it, so gaining qualifications in other areas can only be of benefit to young men such as Ed Jones.
“Every professional cricketer is also potentially one serious injury away from being forced to retire from the game. Those who join this scholarship scheme will have another career avenue open to them immediately, should the worst happen to them.”
The University of Derby Donald Carr Cricketing Scholarship scheme is the University’s second such partnership with a local sports team. In May (2008) the University announced that players with the Nottingham Panthers pro ice hockey team would be given the chance to take up certain masters degree courses, fee free.