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University joins forces with Western Storm in exciting new partnership

University of Gloucestershire and elite women’s cricket team Western Storm have joined forces in an exciting new partnership that will enhance student placement opportunities and academic research, and deliver improved player performance and development.

The University and Western Storm will collaborate in areas around sports performance and injury prevention in a wide programme of activities, including research projects, specialist student placements, and pre- and post-match testing and rehabilitation.

The new partnership will enable students on the University’s sports and exercise programmes to gain real-world experience in strength and conditioning, sports therapy, and sports performance and analysis within a world-class training and coaching setting at Storm.

Postgraduate and undergraduate students will benefit from opportunities to collect data from an elite female cricket population for research projects and dissertations linked to sports performance and injury risk management.

The University and Western Storm – two-time Women’s Cricket Super League champions – will work together to support players wanting to study for a Higher Education qualification alongside playing elite-level cricket.

a physiotherapist carrying our an assessment on a cricketer
Dr Martine Deighan, Course Leader for Strength, Conditioning and Rehabilitation and Senior Lecturer in Biomechanics, carrying out a player assessment for Western Storm at the University

Students assisted in a player assessment day at the University’s Oxstalls Campus when the Western Storm squad undertook a series of physical, physiological and psychological tests in preparation for their campaigns in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy (50 overs) and the Charlotte Edwards Cup (20 overs) within the ECB eight-team women’s domestic team structure.

Professor Mark de ste Croix, Professor of Paediatric Sport and Exercise at the University, said: “’We are delighted to be able to help support Western Storm in the physical preparation of their players to enhance performance and manage injury risk.

“Despite some popular beliefs, elite cricket is a demanding sport, not just for fast bowlers, and requires sound physical preparation to be able to cope with the demands of a multi-day sport.

“At the University we have extensive experience of working in women’s sport and have supported the ECB previously on projects in the men’s game.

“Combining this experience of female-specific issues when it comes to performance and injury risk and understanding the demand of cricket, means that we are very excited to see how this working relationship with Western Storm develops.

“It importantly provides our students with the opportunity to gain real-world work experiences in elite women’s sport.”

Ian Fisher, Lead Strength and Conditioning Coach at Western Storm, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with University of Gloucestershire.

“This partnership will promote collaboration and learning between the two organisations and is an exciting opportunity to contribute to the rapidly growing research field that is female sport.

“Partnering with an institution with such a strong sports science pedigree will help us towards achieving our vision of being the heartbeat of Women and Girls sport in the South West and Wales.”

University experts supporting students in undertaking a player assessment for Western Storm

The University’s new partnership with Western Storm – formalised in a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Clare Marchant, and Lisa Pagett, the regional director of women’s cricket at Western Storm – further enhances its successful and growing relationships with national and regional organisations and clubs within female sport.

The University is developing the next generation of England football stars as an FA Women’s High Performance Football Centre, while it also has an MOU in place with the Bristol Bears Women rugby union team providing student placements and activities to improve player performance.

Karen Carney MBE, a University alumna, pioneering former international footballer and TV pundit, and Kylie Grimes MBE, a gold medal-winning Paralympian, were recipients of honorary awards at the University’s 2023 Graduation Ceremony.

Main image: left to right, Lisa Pagett, the regional director of women’s cricket at Western Storm, and University of Gloucestershire Vice-Chancellor, Clare Marchant, signing the Memorandum of Understanding