Cricket Ireland Performance Director Richard Holdsworth has told CRICKETher that Ireland are focussing on their independent future, following news of their withdrawal from the Women’s County Championship.
Holdsworth said that although Ireland had in fact been offered the opportunity to participate in a restructured Women’s County Championship following the introduction of the Super League in 2017, they had made the decision to focus their resources instead on building their own expanded calendar.
“The cost has been a factor,” admitted Holdsworth. “Cricket Ireland has been investing significant funds into participating in these two ECB competitions, and the feeling of our Cricket Committee and management is to invest now in more international fixtures both home and abroad.”
But there were other overriding issues too, not least the challenge of participating in an overseas competition, when almost all of the squad are 100% amateurs with full-time day jobs:
“The nature of the fixture list meant we often flew in very late in the evening before matches, or very early in the morning, neither of which were great preparation for elite cricket.”
Now Ireland are looking to build on their own local programs, with Holdsworth promising that the money saved would be ploughed back into the domestic game, including an enhanced “Super 3s”, following the launch of the competition just last year.
Holdsworth thanked the ECB for their on-going co-operation and expressed the hope that it would continue at more of an international level:
“The ECB has been, and continue to be very supportive… [and] we are also hoping the ECB will be able to play more representative matches against Ireland, particularly with their Academy program.”
With Ireland having recently qualified once again for the T20 World Cup, firmly establishing themselves in the “Top 10” as arguably the leading “Associate” nation, clearly the only way is forward now for these ambitious girls in green!