Cricket champions enrol for Hatfield degree course

PUBLISHED: 11:23 13 April 2017 | UPDATED: 11:41 13 April 2017

John Simpson, Nick Gubbins, Toby Roland-Jones, Stephen Eskinazi, James Fuller, Ryan Higgins, Harry Podmore, Paul Stirling, James Harris and Tom Helm, photographed by Matt Bright.

John Simpson, Nick Gubbins, Toby Roland-Jones, Stephen Eskinazi, James Fuller, Ryan Higgins, Harry Podmore, Paul Stirling, James Harris and Tom Helm, photographed by Matt Bright.

Matt Bright

Ten cricketers from county champions Middlesex have enrolled at Hatfield’s University of Hertfordshire in preparation for careers after retirement from the sport.

Players including all-rounder Toby Roland-Jones, who took a hat trick against fellow contenders Yorkshire on the dramatic last day of the 2016 season, will take a four-year business and sports management degree.

South Africa-born wicket-keeper Stephen Eskinazi, who averaged 37 with the bat over 11 first class games last year, said: “We are all acutely aware of how important it is to plan for life after cricket and we are extremely fortunate to be part of a club that supports us in this regard.

“The degree is a mix of something that we are all passionate about, sport, combined with an extremely practical business element.

“The fact that ten of us are doing the degree allows us to bounce ideas off each other, just like we would do in a cricket environment.

“A huge thanks to both the club and the university for helping us, and I’m really looking forward to success on the field and in the classroom.”

Their studies, both online and in seminars after training sessions, will dovetail with playing commitments.

Jarrod Lippiatt, the university’s programme leader, said: “We are delighted to partner with Middlesex Cricket and to welcome ten players onto this course designed for sports professionals. This a flexible degree and each Middlesex player will receive full tutor support.”

Former England youth left-handed batsman John Simpson said: “It would be foolish to think that after cricket I’ll be able to walk straight into a top job.

“This degree is engaging, challenging, and most importantly flexible, as I’m able to complete the study work around my cricket commitments.

“I would like to thank Middlesex and the Professional Cricketers’ Association for their support in helping us prepare for the transition from life as a professional cricketer to a second career post-cricket.”

The group includes Nick Gubbins, who scored 1,409 runs at an average of 61 last season, and Paul Stirling, who opens for Ireland and bowls right arm off-breaks.

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