OPINION – Women’s County Cricket: Knowingly Undersold?

CRICKETher travelled all the way to Edmonton today to see Middlesex against Berkshire, only to see the match abandoned without a ball being bowled.

Was it raining? Nope. It may have rained last night, and a little this morning, but all afternoon there has been bright sunshine across London.

Yet no play for Middlesex Women.

Why? Because Edmonton Cricket Club do not currently possess fully-functioning covers. The last set were vandalised months ago, and the new ones have not yet arrived.

Which meant that, overnight, the pitch was covered with leaking, ragged old tarpaulins – and so much water got through the holes that, even at 11 o’clock this morning, it was obvious that the teams would be unable to play at all today.

This was incredibly frustrating – for the fans, who had travelled miles to be at the game, and even more so for the players, who were clearly chomping at the bit to get out there and start their season.

I guess you could argue that today was no one’s fault except for the idiots who vandalised the covers in the first place.

Maybe. Except…would the staff at any men’s county ground in the country have to go through months of insurance paperwork and bureaucracy before their covers were replaced? Would any men’s county season ever start without all grounds having fully-functioning covers?

Would the ECB even let that happen?

The problem is, this isn’t an isolated incident. It happens every year, and the ECB never seem to do anything about it.

Just last year, Sussex’s match against Berkshire at Wokingham was cancelled because the bowlers’ approaches hadn’t been covered at all the night before. It rained overnight, but we had a full day of bright sunshine – yet no cricket for either team.

I could go on.

The ECB claim they are making women’s domestic cricket a priority. The change this season to a white ball and coloured clothing is supposed to be an example of that.

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Hardly. When CRICKETher turned up at Edmonton today, the black covers for the sightscreens – put up in preparation for the white-ball game today – didn’t even fully cover the screens. I guess they couldn’t afford bigger ones? Hardly a shining example of commitment to domestic cricket by the ECB.

The way I see it is this.

Either:

  1. The ECB don’t know that this is going on and it’s actually the fault of the cricket boards, who are failing to provide adequate funding / pitches for their women’s county teams.

Or:

  1. The ECB do know that this is going on, but they aren’t bothered enough about women’s county cricket to do anything about it.

If it’s 1), then we need to work together to bring any incidents like this one to the attention to the ECB. Please do report them to CRICKETher, and we will do so.

If it’s 2)…well, I guess I’m just hoping that it isn’t 2). Because if the ECB want women’s cricket to thrive, it’s not enough just to focus on those 18 contracted players at the elite level. We need women’s county cricket – which is, after all, the next level below international cricket (at least until those elusive franchise do or don’t appear) to be played on good quality pitches. We need fans to feel like everyone is working together to provide a good spectacle for them. And above all else…we actually need some cricket to be played.

Today was not a good day for women’s cricket. I can’t think that the ECB would disagree with that, at least.

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6 thoughts on “OPINION – Women’s County Cricket: Knowingly Undersold?

  1. Does the fact the ECB allowed the Sri Lanka ‘training camp’ to be so timed that, for the sake of one day, various counties were without their star players, add credence to option (2) above ?
    What a start to the season – leaky covers and missing players. Magic.

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    • I am the chairman of North Maidenhead CC who hosted Berks v Surrey yesterday .I think we did a decent job with pitch,ground,lunches parking etc . We like other clubs offer our facilities to the counties to help promote cricket,provide an enjoyable days entertainment and encourage Ladies to participate through seeing the top players in action .
      All the preperation,facilities etc are provided by the club volunteers ,we can’t afford black screens for a couple of games a season ,which are not even played by our club ,it is hard enough to keep the club going ,with maintainance,ground and equipment costs etc .
      So if funding were made available as an incentive to clubs to host county games ,it would make life easier for clubs but ultimately it is down to the sheer hard work of those volunteers trying to do their best for the good of the game .
      By the way I was cutting the outfield at 7am on the day of the game

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      • Absolutely – thought pitch at North Maids was excellent and the club clearly worked hard to make the day a success!

        And I should stress that we were NOT having a pop at Edmonton either – I spoke to the groundsman and he was between a rock and a hard place – there was no cash to order the new covers before the insurance money came in, and the paperwork and bureaucracy took time.

        Syd

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  2. Pingback: County women suffer from poor facilities | georgiacricket

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  4. I will be interested to see how the T20 Super League money does or does not filter down to clubs. Your report highlights issues that this new initiative may not address and counties continue to rely on the generosity of clubs whose facilities may/may not be good enough to develop the next generation of female cricketers. I await to see who the host clubs are….

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