The CRICKETher Weekly – Episode 162

This week:

  • We’re at Beckenham watching Vipers get back on track in the RHF
  • Raf chats to Player of the Match Lauren Bell
  • Rumours that The Men’s Hundred could be abolished… but what about the women?
  • Why we’re uncomfortable about the proposed overseas draft in WBBL

MATCH REPORT: Vipers Bite Back Against Stars At Beckenham

Southern Vipers bounced back in style after their humiliation at the hands of Sunrisers last week, with an emphatic 158-run win against South East Stars at Beckenham.

On what felt like the first sunny day of the year, Georgia Adams chose to bat first; and Vipers vindicated that decision by putting 287 on the board.

After Maia Bouchier and Ella McCaughan shared a century opening stand, a run-a-ball half-century from Georgia Elwiss at no.4 helped them finish well.

However, Beckenham is renowned for being a decent batting wicket, and the boundary rope was (inexplicably) 10 yards shorter than usual for this game. Stars therefore emerged after the innings break audibly confident about their chances.

Nobody was more confident than Capsey, who looked (as ever) a cut above the rest. She helped Stars to 25 for 0 in the first four overs, and played the shot of the day – a beautiful cover drive.

But the next two overs from Lauren Bell decimated the Stars. Firstly, and most crucially, she bowled Capsey with one which nipped back in to take out her off stump. The next ball, Ryana MacDonald-Gay was adjudged LBW.

Bryony Smith saw off the first hat-trick ball; but then created a chance for a second, as Bell took another two-in-two in her following over. Smith fell to an excellent low catch by Charlie Dean at cover, before Alice Davidson-Richards wafted at one outside off stump and Bouchier snaffled it at slip.

Fresh from scoring her first century in a decade against Thunder last weekend, Paige Scholfield again looked the most assured of the Stars batters, striking the ball cleanly on the way to 31 off 63 balls.

But she was bowled going down on one knee trying to slog Adams in the 27th, and Stars gradually succumbed to their fate – all out for 129 in the 37th over.

Oddly, Stars had earlier chosen not to open the bowling with England’s Freya Davies, instead opting for the combination of Tash Farrant and Phoebe Franklin.

That allowed Bouchier and McCaughan to find their feet and build a platform, which Elwiss and Adams (31) built on with a 76-run partnership for the 4th wicket.

Stars ultimately used a mammoth 9 bowlers, mostly in vain, as Vipers enjoyed a day of regaining their mojo.

The CRICKETher Weekly – Episode 160

This week:

  • WPL set to clash with WBBL – what happens now?
  • Players to watch out for in the RHF Trophy
  • New report into the finance of English cricket – is The Hundred sustainable?
  • West Indies sack Courtney Walsh, but was he the problem?
  • (Also… Syd is angry with the rain!)

NEWS: Raf’s Evidence Published as part of UK Parliamentary Inquiry into Women’s Sport

In December, in response to the success of the Lionesses in the Women’s Euros, the UK Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee set up an inquiry into women’s sport and invited the submission of written evidence.

The terms of reference for the inquiry are:

  1. How can the growth in domestic women’s football be accelerated?
  2. What should other sports be learning from the growth of women’s football leagues in the UK?
  3. What is needed for women’s sporting organisations to grow audiences and revenues?
  4. What action is needed to tackle sexism and misogyny in sport?
  5. What needs to change at a regulatory level to facilitate more parity between men’s and women’s sport?

In my evidence, I focused on Question 5. Those of you who follow The CRICKETher Weekly will be aware that I have quite strong views about how cricket (and other women’s sports) should be governed!

My current research project at Bournemouth University looks at the way in which women’s sporting organisations were forced into “mergers” with men’s sporting organisations in the 1990s – including the Women’s Cricket Association, which (having run women’s cricket since 1926) was absorbed by the newly-formed ECB in 1998.

My research shows that these mergers were not desired by those within women’s sport – they were, largely, government-mandated. The merger “negotiations” were dominated by male voices and priorities, and subsequently (in my view) the mergers stymied the growth and development of women’s sport.

In my evidence, I argue that merged governance (where women’s and men’s sport are run by the same governing bodies) is not always the best way to promote parity between men’s and women’s sport. I also recommend that the Government give serious consideration to the adoption of a model of devolved / separate governance of women’s sport.

That might sound extreme – but it’s important to think hard about why women’s sport hasn’t yet achieved parity with men’s sport. Maybe it’s time to get radical?

A number of National Governing Bodies also submitted evidence to the inquiry, including England Netball, the FA and the RFU. (The ECB didn’t, though – aside from a short joint submission with the FA, LTA, RFU and RFL calling for the Government to improve sport for girls in schools.)

You can read my evidence, as well as all other submissions, here – it’s worth a look!

So, what happens next? Usually, the Committee moves now to oral evidence sessions, so it’s possible I may get a summons to appear before the Committee and present my suggestions there.

After that, an overall report will be compiled with recommendations for the Government, based on all the evidence presented. I’ll keep you updated once that final report is published. The Government don’t have to act on it, of course, but it could make for very interesting reading!

The CRICKETher Weekly – Episode 159

This week:

  • #WPL going home and away
  • Frustrating pay disparities in England men’s & women’s cricket
  • We’ve FINALLY got some red ball domestic cricket… but why are the ECB keeping it so quiet?

PS – Can you guess the two players on the backdrop today, playing in a Super 4s game a few years back?

The CRICKETher Weekly – Episode 158

This week:

  • FairBreak on TV & why the ICC needs to intervene in the broadcast landscape
  • Australia’s pay rises & the importance of player associations effectively representing their women members
  • Will Phoebe Litchfield get to play in the Ashes?