The winter of 2016 and summer of 2017 program started with a few fresh faces in the first team squad, including the newly appointed Head of Cricket, Sandy Allen. Sandy, an ex-student cricketer at the University of Exeter, knew just what it meant to be involved in the first team squad and was aware of the challenges that the BUCS Premier A league would bring. We prepared extremely well, with five sessions per week; three technical cricket based and two HPP gym based. The 18 selected to be in the squad prior to the season worked tirelessly to ensure we had covered all bases of technical and tactical aspects of the pink ball game (which was going to be alien to most) to give us the highest chance of success.
As the season closed in, the excitement of a pre-season outing to the Home Counties area was upon us. Playing some strong Premier League club sides in the area gave us an opportunity to showcase skills we had finely tuned, and basics we had reinforced in our technical game; both games returning wins.
The BUCS season fast approached us, with friendlies crammed in every moment of spare time between revision and exams, we undertook a season in BUCS Premier A with only two members of the squad boasting previous experience of this extremely high level of University cricket. Despite the large pools of players to choose from and the central funding that most of the institutes in the league receive, we are still firm believers that we belong in this top league due to the proud history of our Club and the belief we had been given from past EUMCC members as well as our brilliant coaching staff.
Unfortunately for us, we were unsuccesful in the 50 over competition. We did not access our developed skills well enough or show the great level of resilience and grit needed to survive at that level; a relegation play off was now on the fixture list. It was to be a repeat of the previous year, yet the tables had turned. Bristol now had won the BUCS Premier South group and were bidding for our place to be in the National Premier BUCS league. This again brought great dissapointment as we slumped to a small target allowing Bristol to crawl over the line in a nail biting chase where two batsmen stood up for them and showed great determination: Bristol promoted, Exeter relegated.
Our T20 competition was the last chance of success for the first team squad as we had progressed from a previous 'South Group' in Newport. A trip to Loughborough to play the hosts in the semi-final awaited. However, despite a good run in the competition, that was to come to an end due to a fine innings from one stand out batsman in the Loughborough ranks.
Our new quest is an obvious one with one aim; to reach the level EUMCC deserves to boast competing at. It will be undertaken with the same desire, workload and passion for the club as it has always done at EUMCC regardless of the squad. Always with great thanks to Dr Bruce Coleman, Sandy Allen, Jack Bradbury, the EUMCC committee 2016/2017 and EUMCC members past and present.