In news which will be widely welcomed throughout the women’s cricket community, the ECB have now officially promised the county boards that women’s county cricket will continue until at least 2021, with the T20 Cup being played on Sundays through May and June.
In an email to the counties seen by CRICKETher, the ECB’s Managing Director of Women’s Cricket, said:
“We understand the need for women’s County Cricket to continue.”
“ECB will therefore run a women’s County T20 competition in 2020 and 2021.”
Crucially, this will be centrally funded by the ECB:
“For 2020 and 2021 ECB will continue to fund Counties on a similar basis to 2019, with monies being provided to support travel, accommodation and hosting costs.”
There are caveats – the long-term aim to effectively replace the lower divisions of county cricket with a reinvigorated club setup remains very-much the plan, with a review of the situation planned for 2021; but Connor acknowledges there is work for both the ECB and the boards to do here if that is to become viable, promising to “address hardball club cricket with real commitment.”
This isn’t a total u-turn – it effectively confirms that the 50-over Women’s County Championship is no more; but the ECB has shown that it has listened to the feedback received during the consultation process and been open to a compromise which will keep hundreds of players in the game, playing cricket at a competitive level and wearing their county shirts with pride.