Despite the current confusion surrounding the English season due to the outbreak of coronavirus, a handful of counties concerned with improvements in the women’s cricket system are planning to introduce a new 50-over competition this summer.
With the 50-over Women’s County Championship and the T20, Kia Super League scrapped from 2020, and eight centers of excellence set up in accordance with the venues chosen to host the Hundred, some existing counties were left with a feeling of being disenfranchised and lacking quality cricket.
With the 50-over Women’s County Championship and the T20 Kia Super League scrapped from 2020, and eight centers of excellence in line with the venues chosen to host the Hundred, some existing counties were left with a feeling of disenfranchisement and lack of quality cricket.
“Going from making all these counties to eight regional centers of excellence smacks of Dr. Beeching’s railway cutbacks in the 1960s,” said a county president. “This is the beginning of county comeback.”
While the ECB has supported the new initiative, it does represent something of a breakaway. It reflects some counties ‘ frustration with the ECB’s approach to women’s cricket and their willingness to move to fill the gap created by the absence of the County Championship and the KSL.
Perhaps memories of the early days of limited-over cricket in England and Wales are present here. In 1962, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, and Northants challenged the Midlands Knock-Out competition; a 65-over-sided cup crafted by the then Secretary of Leicestershire, Mike Turner, to revive the fortunes of clubs struggling to draw spectators. The final’s won by Northants.
The success of the tournament led to the launch of the Gillette Cup-the first List A competition worldwide-the following year. Surrey and Middlesex have both played in a one-off T20 match against each other in the women’s league, called the London Cup. The match was first held at Lord’s in 2019 and was scheduled to be played at this year’s Kia Oval on May 20.