Alex Hartley is an English player who was part of the Manchester Originals Women’s team at the Hundred’s inaugural edition. She wrote an article for the Daily Mail, expressing her views on the increase in spectators for the women’s matches at the Hundred Tournament.
This year being its first-ever edition no one knew what to expect from the Hundred or the type of response it would get but surprisingly it has been an amazing competition to be a part of. Hartley’s first game in this tournament was the opening match of the Manchester Originals Women against the Oval Invincibles Women. She reminisces the moment when the players walked out onto the field at the Oval, with the atmosphere in the crowd and everything that went with it, they all could feel ‘that was class’. Thousands of people were there to watch women’s domestic cricket and that had been repeated throughout the competition, with the pinnacle of Saturday’s finals at the Lord’s.
Hartley too agrees with the fact that the women’s game had been the biggest winner in this tournament. Prior to this, there was barely an average attendance of 3000-5000 for the domestic matches. However, this average attendance shot up to 7000-8000 at the Hundred.
The original plan was to hold the women’s matches on the out-grounds but Covid forced that to change and it was for the better. Hartley admitted that she was worried that the Test grounds would not fill because even women’s international matches were usually held at county venues but having back-to-back double-headers with the men’s helped attract a big audience. This showed that with proper advertising and promotion women’s cricket also roused interest.
Hartley also recollected her time with the Manchester team. They were disappointed for making a bad start by losing their first four games. So, they had a crisis meeting and adopted the #fim phrase after which they went all out. Things improved for the Manchester women but it was not enough for them to make it to the finals. Even some of the male players of the Manchester squad (Steven Finn and Carlos Brathwaite) helped them with their training and also celebrated the girls’ first win. Apart from this, she also shared some fun moments like Finn and Phil Salt playing Twister in their team room and Ravi Bopara’s trousers falling down while he was fielding a ball at the Oval.
The Hundred became a recognition platform for several new and upcoming players. Jemimah Rodrigues, despite a low performance at the tour of England with India, showed her class at the tournament and became a star player for the Northern Supercharges. Even lesser-known players made a name for themselves like Evelyn Jones of the Birmingham Phoenix team who improved by leaps and bounds since receiving her domestic contract.
This tournament showcased the potential that women’s cricket truly holds. With proper attention and advertising, it won’t take much time to bring the women at par with the men. There is no reason why women should not play their games at the big grounds now. People will come and this tournament has proven this statement. The inaugural edition of the Hundred has been incredible and the players, as well as fans, are already looking forward to next year.
This article is the summary of the original article published in Daily Mail
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