VIDEO: The CRICKETher Vodcast – Social Isolation Edition – Episode 11

Raf and Syd discuss the success of the CRICKETish Cup; Cricket Australia’s summer schedule; the challenges of reopening big sporting venues to the public; the UK government’s plans for the resumption of elite sport; and the latest on the domestic retainers.

Plus… via the magic of green screen… where and when are we?

VIRTUAL MATCH REPORT: CRICKETish Cup Glory for Fenby & Co As Warriors Weave their Magic

By Richard Clark

With “real” county cricket in abeyance, we got together with @WomensCricDay, @WomensCricBlog and WomensCricket.net to run the CRICKETish Cup – a virtual women’s cricket competition played in cyberspace!

On a thrilling night at Lord’s, North East Warriors carried off the inaugural Cricketish Cup, defying the odds to defeat favourites Surrey by just two runs!

Division 1 newcomers Warriors had already taken the scalp of Sussex in the semi-final and repeated that underdog victory as Laura Ellison defended 7 off the last over in a nail-biting climax.

Surrey had looked in control as Sophia Dunkley (19) and Aylish Cranstone (18) took them within 25 runs of victory with more than four overs left, building on the foundation laid by Bryony Smith (29) and Nat Sciver (25), but both were dismissed in the space of five balls and the Surrey lower order couldn’t find a way over the line from there.

Skipper Hannah Jones took two off each of Ellison’s first two balls to leave her side needing four from four, but when she fell lbw two balls later it left Rhianna Southby to find a boundary off the final ball. She could only find Lizzie Scott at midwicket and the trophy was off to the North East amid huge celebrations.

Earlier, openers Laura Hockaday (21) and Layla Tipton (22) produced another solid opening partnership of 44, only to be dismissed off consecutive deliveries, and when Warriors subsided to 74 for 5 after the unfortunate run out of Ami Campbell for 13 they looked in danger of falling short of a challenging score.

However, youngster Ciara Boaden (30) more than made up for her part in Campbell’s departure as she marshalled the lower order expertly and helped set a target of 131 for Surrey to win.

Jones took three wickets for the Oval side, but the pick of the bowlers was undoubtedly Beth Kerins with 2 for 13 off four miserly overs.

Warriors backed up an excellent fielding display in the semi-final with similar vigour here as they threw themselves at everything to keep Smith and Sciver from cutting loose. There were two wickets each for skipper Helen Fenby, Bailey Wanless and Lizzie Scott who finished as leading wicket-taker for the competition with eight, whilst Tipton topped the run-scoring charts with 108 across the three games.

The Player of the Match Award, meanwhile, went to Boaden for her excellent innings and two fine catches to oust Sciver and Cranstone at critical moments.

So the Trophy travels up to the North East, and it may stay there permanently if rumoured plans to play real cricket again one day come to fruition…

EXCLUSIVE: Retainers Worth £1,000 Per Month; Domestic Contracts Will Be Worth £18,000

The ECB’s new retainers, which will be awarded to 24 domestic players and will begin on 1 June, will be worth £1,000 a month; while the 40 new full-time domestic professionals – whose contracts will commence later in the summer – will earn £18,000 a year, CRICKETher has learned.

All of those awarded retainers will subsequently be upgraded to a full-time domestic contract once these kick in later in the summer.

The remaining contracts will be confirmed after the Centre of Excellence fixtures have been played in September, presumably based on player performances during the competition.

All CoE players, meanwhile – assuming at least some fixtures go ahead this season – will be paid a match fee of approximately £200 per game.

From 2021, the £18,000 will be supplemented by payments for The Hundred (Women’s Competition), which for domestic female players will likely range between £3,600 and £9,000.

This would still, however, mean that all domestic players would earn less than the PCA’s mandated minimum wage for full-time professional cricketers in England, which last June was set at £27,500.

NEWS: ECB Confirm Domestic Retainers From June 1st

As predicted in our weekly vodcast, the ECB have confirmed that domestic retainers will be introduced from June 1st, in order to partially compensate players who were hoping to receive one of 40 new domestic contracts, which were supposed to have started at the beginning of this summer.

The ECB have said that up to 24 women will receive a retainer, which will come with reciprocal obligations on the players to start work on taking their anti-corruption and anti-doping education modules online, as well as following strength and conditioning programmes at home throughout the lockdown.

The ECB have not said how much the retainers are worth or who will receive them, though the implication appears to be that the players will be selected by the Regional Directors of Women’s Cricket at the 8 new Centres of Excellence, which were also confirmed last week.

VIDEO: The CRICKETher Vodcast – Social Isolation Edition – Episode 9

Raf & Syd discuss when and how England might return to training; hosts for the Regional Centres of Excellence; retainers & match fees for domestic players; the postponement of the World Cup qualifier; and when might big cricket stadiums be able to reopen?

Plus, this week we’re at yet another iconic cricketing venue – can you work out a) where we are, and b) which England player says this is her favourite ground?

NEWS: Hosts For New Centres Of Excellence Confirmed

The ECB have confirmed the hosts for the 8 new Regional Centres of Excellence which will form the backbone of the new domestic structure in England and Wales.

As mooted by CRICKETher last October, the new teams will largely correspond to the previous 6 Kia Super League regions – with Surrey, Hampshire, Loughborough University, Lancashire and Yorkshire all acting as CoE “hosts”; while both Western Storm and Southern Vipers live on in an alternative guise. Both Storm (a partnership of Glamorgan CCC, Gloucestershire CCC and Somerset CCC) and Vipers have also registered as limited companies, reflecting the greater amount of autonomy granted to the CoEs compared to the KSL hosts.

Meanwhile the two “new” regional teams – London & East and West Midlands – will be hosted by Middlesex CCC and a partnership between Warwickshire & Worcestershire CCC respectively.

It is expected that the players selected for the new Centres will train and play at least some of their fixtures at the home grounds of the regional hosts, with the new domestic calendar therefore centring around Headingley, Old Trafford, New Road, Loughborough University, Taunton / Bristol, the Ageas Bowl, the Oval and Lord’s.

All 8 Regional Directors of Women’s Cricket are also now in place, with familiar faces Danni Warren (London & East), Richard Bedbrook (London & South East), Laura MacLeod (West Midlands) and Lisa Pagett (South West & Wales) joined by James Carr (North East), David Thorley (North West), Ian Read (East Midlands), and Adam Carty (South Central).

Carr previously worked at Cricket Scotland, while Carty had headed up Hampshire’s Boys’ Player Pathway; Thorley joins from England Boxing, and Read is the former Performance Programme Manager for Loughborough Sport.

The full list of hosts is as follows:

  • North East – Yorkshire CCC
  • North West – Lancashire CCC
  • West Midlands – Warwickshire & Worcestershire CCC
  • East Midlands – Loughborough University
  • South West & Wales – Glamorgan CCC, Gloucestershire CCC and Somerset CCC (aka Western Storm Ltd)
  • South Central – Hampshire CCC (aka Southern Vipers Ltd)
  • London & South East – Surrey CCC
  • London & East – Middlesex CCC