EUMCC took gold in the BUCS Indoor Championships. Left to right: (Back) Zac Bess, Neal Prowse, Joe Barrs (1st team captain), Julian Wyatt (Director of Cricket, Tom Barton, (Front) Matthew Laidman, Bradley Lane, Ollie Mills, Tom Abell

University cricketing success at BUCS Indoor Championships

The University of Exeter men’s and women’s cricket clubs have enjoyed a spectacular end to the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) indoor season, picking up gold and bronze medals on finals day of the national championship at Edgbaston (30 March).

Gold for the men sees them take the indoor title for the first time since 2007, and rounds off an exceptional run of form, which has seen them win all twelve of their matches this season.

The side hit the ground running with a 33 run victory over Leeds University in their semi-final.

A dominant fielding display in the final then restricted Kent to 93 runs, a target which Exeter’s batsmen calmly exceeded with more than two overs to spare.

Masters student, cricket scholar and first team captain, Joe Barrs was “chuffed” with the result. He said: “It was an incredible day and has been an unbelievable winter for indoor cricket - we remained unbeaten.

“We didn't just win our matches; we completely dominated our opposition in both the semi-finals and final. This isn't to speak any less of the quality of the opposition. Leeds were always going to be a strong outfit and Kent were semi-finalists last year. However, our ability to perform well under pressure meant that we completely outplayed both opponents.

“We always had faith in the fact that if we each played to the best of our ability we would have enough to win the competition. We proved this yesterday.”

The BUCS indoor championships takes a 10 over format, with each side fielding just six players. The confined space ensures that games are fast-paced and lower scoring.

A difficult semi-final draw saw Exeter’s women face old Cardiff Met, who beat them in last year’s tournament final.

Despite a standout batting effort by Lorna Brown, who hit 22 of seven balls, the side lost by the narrowest of margins, falling just two short of their 97 run target. However, a strong performance against Durham in the third place playoff secured a bronze medal – the side hitting their 67 run target with three wickets to spare.

Exeter’s cricketers benefit from the support of the University’s High Performance Unit and specialist coaching at the Sir Christopher Ondaatje Devon Cricket Centre on Streatham Campus.

Director of Cricket Julian Wyatt oversees University’s cricket programme and expressed his delighted at his sides’ performances. He said: “It’s Fantastic. To have both teams at finals day is a brilliant achievement in itself, but to come away with two medals is outstanding.

“It was always going to be a tough semi-final for the girls, but they played well and really took the challenge to Cardiff Met, in the end it was the narrowest of defeats after a brilliant effort. They did really well to bounce back for the match against Durham and deserve to be very pleased with their bronze.

“I’m really proud of the lads. They’ve worked so hard and this is a massive justification for putting in so much effort.

“They have thoroughly deserved this win and have every right to feel very proud of their achievement.

“This is a great stepping stone for the team – just what we needed going into the start of the outdoor season.

“The boys won’t want to leave it at just an indoor gold – they’ll want to perform at the outdoors too. As a team we have lost in a few semi-finals and one final in recent years, so that weight has been lifted off our shoulders. We know we can win now, and that confidence will make a big difference outside – knowing that we can deal with that pressure really well.

“As a group the intention has been to develop a legacy to inspire other future University of Exeter cricketers. We fully hope this represents a significant step in establishing this ambition.”

With the indoor season now complete, the outdoor season immediately begins. Exeter’s men have now just four days to prepare for their first pre-season friendly on 4 April, before the BUCS season fully kicks off on 11 April. The women's team will be looking to mirror the success of last year's outdoor season where they took silver in the national outdoor final Lords, having also taken victory in the Premier South League; their season kicks off on 7 May, away to Southampton.

Date: 31 March 2014

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