Amidst the pandemic, one of the very few positive updates has come from England. Men are facing the second team on their soil. Recently, England and Wales Cricket Board have confirmed the arrival of women’s 50-over competition. Further, the board has added that the competition would be named Rachael Hayhoe Flint Trophy.
The name is intended to honor the world-cup winning skipper from the English soil. It has to be noted that this a special-edition competition which has been drafted to ensure that women’s domestic cricket is played despite the pandemic and professionals are not made to suffer. As per the board, the competition will kickstart on the August Bank Holiday weekend. There will be a total of eight teams in the new elite domestic structure who will be divided into two groups featuring four teams each.
Each of the sides will play six group-stage matches and the top team from each group will proceed to the finals. The final is staged on Saturday, 26 September. The full fixtures will be released along with the schedule for vitality blast on the morning of Wednesday.
Managing Director of Women’s Cricket for ECB said: “I’m delighted that, despite the obvious challenges of COVID-19, we have been able to continue to build the new women’s elite domestic structure to the point that we’ll see the eight regions playing 50-over cricket this summer”.
Clare Connor further said, “Off the back of appointing the eight Regional Directors of Women’s Cricket and awarding Regional Retainers, we have worked closely with colleagues across the men’s domestic game to ensure we are able to stage domestic women’s cricket safely and at high-quality venues”.
She further added that “Rachael Heyhoe Flint would have been proud to witness the professionalization of the domestic women’s game. She did so much for our sport and without her work, passion, and dedication, we wouldn’t be where we are today. It’s therefore fitting that this special edition of the competition will be played in her honor. I’d personally like to extend my thanks to Rachael’s son, Ben, with whom we collaborated on the logo for the competition”.
Rachael Heyhoe has been an inspiration and icon for all cricketing professionals. She was one of the first figures to stress for more equality in cricket and became the first English cricketing skipper to get a world cup home for her side. Domestic players have expressed their joy over strong chances of revival. It is heartwarming to see the revival of domestic cricket for women with the name of someone like Rachael Heyhoe.
With a streak of delays, the decision from ECB is commendable.
Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy groups
North: Central Sparks, Lightning, Northern Diamonds, Thunder
South: South East Stars, Southern Vipers, Sunrisers, Western Storm
Rachael Heyhoe Flint Fixtures
Saturday, August 29
Sunrisers vs Southern Vipers, The Cloudfm County Ground, 10.30am
Central Sparks vs Northern Diamonds, Edgbaston, 10.30am
Lightning vs Thunder, Trent Bridge, 10.30am
South East Stars vs Western Storm, Beckenham, 10.30am
Monday, August 31
Western Storm vs Southern Vipers, Bristol County Ground, 10.30am
South East Stars vs Sunrisers, Beckenham, 10.30am
Thunder vs Central Sparks, tbc, 10.30am
Northern Diamonds vs Lightning, Emirates Riverside, 10.30am
Saturday September 5
Central Sparks vs Thunder, Blackfinch New Road, 10.30am
Sunrisers vs Western Storm, The Cloudfm County Ground, 10.30am
Lightning vs Northern Diamonds, The Fischer County Ground, 10.30am
Southern Vipers vs South East Stars, The 1st Central County Ground, 10.30am
Thursday, September 10
Thunder vs Northern Diamonds, Tbc, 10.30am
Friday, September 11
Western Storm vs South East Stars, Bristol County Ground, 10.30am
Southern Vipers vs Sunrisers, Ageas Bowl, 10.30am
Central Sparks vs Lightning, Blackfinch New Road, 10.30am
Sunday, September 13
Southern Vipers vs Western Storm, Ageas Bowl, 10.30am
Sunrisers vs South East Stars, The Cloudfm County Ground, 10.30am
Thunder vs Lightning, tbc, 10.30am
Northern Diamonds vs Central Sparks, Emerald Headingley, 10.30am