Taking The Positives (And The Negatives): England v India #WWC17

Having caught up with the highlights of yesterday’s England game, here are Raf Nicholson and Syd Egan’s thoughts:

Negatives:

  • Are England capable of chasing down a total of 280+, of which we are going to see plenty more of in the next few years? Knight said in the press conference: “we backed ourselves to chase that total” – really?! All recent history suggests that England are weak at chasing, and even weaker at chasing big. Although the conditions might have pointed to a “bowl first” day, England need to be wary of allowing teams to post a total that they just can’t chase.
  • England are a bowling team, but yesterday it was the bowlers who failed to control the game, and that doesn’t bode well going forward. India’s decision to take the powerplay early clearly got inside Anya Shrubsole’s head – England need to be able to deal with whatever the game throws at them, not simply have a pre-prepared plan and go to pieces when something happens that isn’t in that plan.
  • England haven’t really solved their opening dilemma in the absence of Lauren Winfield, who they really missed yesterday. Chasing 6 an over, Winfield would have got them closer to the kind of start they needed, and that in turn would have massively reduced the pressure on the other batsmen coming in – as it was, the run rate seemed to keep on creeping up, and that made things very tricky for the middle order. Also, given events of the last year, is it really fair to put Sarah Taylor in to open? We know it’s not her favoured position. Winfield won’t be back for Tuesday’s game vs Pakistan at the very least, so perhaps England should think about putting their captain in at the top – if Knight is going to be the backbone of an innings, she’d be better off doing it from the outset, rather than coming in when the required rate has already risen and the pressure is starting to tell.

Positives:

  • Fran Wilson’s batting. In very difficult circumstances, her 81 shows that Mark Robinson was absolutely right to bring her back into the squad last year from what was essentially the wilderness – an astute call by an astute coach. Plus, if it really was the case that she wasn’t going to play until the Winfield injury, presumably she’s made a point now that she deserves to be an automatic selection for the rest of the tournament.
  • Katherine Brunt’s batting. Not content with just being one of the world’s best bowlers, Brunt has also now become a big asset with the bat. It wasn’t quite enough yesterday, but it does show that – were England slightly closer to the total by the time she came in, or even in a situation where they required end-of-innings acceleration in order to pose a more commanding total – she can play the number 7 role that they need.
  • Sarah Taylor is back playing international cricket. Still one of England’s biggest assets, it was a solid reboot to what England will hope will be a second flourishing to her international career – because by goodness do they need her.

And finally…

  • We’ve come a long way from the first game of the 1973 tournament, which was played on a tiny village ground at Kew Green. But given that this was the biggest women’s cricket tournament this country has ever seen, given that it was England, it was India, it was a Saturday and the weather was good – the crowd at Derby (c.2500) was a bit disappointing, particularly as we’d been promised a “sell-out”.

CLUB OF THE MONTH: Chester Boughton Hall

Chester Boughton Hall Ladies Cricket Team plays its cricket in the Cheshire Women’s Cricket League, playing Division 1 40-over league cricket, and plays T20 cricket under the name of Chester Deemons (after the river Dee that runs through Chester!)

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Chester Boughton Hall Academy

 

CBH are one of the most successful clubs in Chester. 2016 saw them going unbeaten in the Cheshire League, winning the league and also winning the T20 competition. Losing 1 game all season saw them knocked out of the Knockout Cup which stopped their pursuit of the treble, which they successfully won in 2014.

CBH are only the 2nd club in the Cheshire league to introduce a 2nd XI into Division 3 of the Cheshire League.  This is due to the excellent work done through their Academy set up by Jo Herbertson, who works tirelessly with the All-Stars cricket and grassroots cricket side of the club.  The future is definitely bright thanks to Jo’s work!

With the introduction of the 2nd team/Academy set up, CBHLCC can cater for all ages and abilities. Current ages range from their 5-8 year old All-Stars, through to the older Academy girls (8-15), then onto the senior players who are aged from 15 to mid 60s. They cater for anyone at Chester!

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Chester Boughton Hall 1st XI

 

England players Lauren Griffiths and Sophie Ecclestone both started playing their cricket at Chester and both still have close links to the club, with Sophie still putting in the odd appearance with the first XI.

Chester currently have 6 (7 if you count Sophie Ecclestone!) senior county players on their books, 5 playing for Cheshire and 1 playing for Shropshire, 2 U17 Cheshire county players and 2 U15 Cheshire county players.

All-Stars training is on a Tuesday evening, 5-15-6.15pm, Academy training then follows on, with the 1st team training 6.15-8ish, again on a Tuesday evening.

This season has seen local solicitor firm Cullimore Dutton enter into a 2 year sponsorship deal for Women and Girls Cricket, which the club is immensely thankful for.

If anyone is interested in playing cricket at Chester Boughton Hall, please contact Ali Cutler on alicut73@gmail.com or Jo Herbertson on Jo_herbertson@hotmail.co.uk

INTERVIEW: Sophie Devine On New Zealand’s World Cup Chances

Sophie Devine

Photo copyright Ruth Conchie

It took Sophie Devine a mere 4 days to adjust to English conditions. She flew in from New Zealand last Wednesday; by Sunday she was out in the middle tonking the Berkshire bowlers all around the park in her trademark hard-hitting fashion. On Monday she did exactly the same to the Middlesex attack, smacking 122 in 78 balls.

When we spoke to her she was relishing being out in the middle again: “It’s nice to be outside – and in the English summer, which apparently I’ve brought with me!”

Explaining her decision to sign for the Bears, she said: “I’ve had a long injury lay off [she missed the Rose Bowl series against Australia back in February due to a dislocated thumb] so for me, coming over here, it was about getting game time. I seriously considered staying at home but the opportunity to come over here and play outside was a big factor for me.”

Strategically it may also prove to be a significant decision ahead of what looks set to be the biggest World Cup in the history of the women’s game. Devine is in fact the latest in a series of Kiwi recruits to the County Championship, joining her skipper Suzie Bates (at Hampshire), Holly Huddleston (Middlesex), Amy Satterthwaite (Lancashire), Lea Tahuhu (Surrey) and Rachel Priest (Berkshire). New Zealand, it seems, are putting faith in the fact that their top players are likely to benefit far more from time over here adjusting to English conditions than an indoor training camp back home.

Devine agrees. “Playing cricket’s always going to be of help. The girls back at home are training hard, but it’s always different when you’re training indoors on artificial surfaces, so it’s massive for us. A lot of the Kiwi girls have been here for a good period of time as well, so they’ll be well acclimatised.”

What does she make of New Zealand’s World Cup chances? She shrugs off the suggestion that they are favourites this time around. “I don’t think so! Australia have to go in as favourites, seeing as they’ve been so dominant since they won the last one 4 years ago. England at home too – it’s always a massive advantage to be playing at home.”

“But anyone on their day can win it. With the format how everyone has to play everyone it opens a lot up, and puts pressure on every single game. It’s going to be tough.”

For the moment, she is enjoying being welcomed into a winning side (Warwickshire remain the only Div 1 side unbeaten so far this season), and one which she says contains “a lot of talent”:

“I haven’t even had a proper chance to train with the team, but they’ve been lovely. They’ve welcomed me in – and I haven’t been given too much rib about my accent!”

Devine may not see New Zealand as favourites in the forthcoming World Cup, but there’s no doubt that a team with her in their top order is going to be tough to beat. Here at CRICKETher we’re pretty certain that we’ll be seeing her walking out to bat at Lords come July 23.

MATCH REPORT: Notts Make It Two In Two Despite Power of Priest

In a hard-fought game at North Maidenhead it was Nottinghamshire who ran out the eventual winners against Berkshire, as they successfully chased down the 106 runs required with 5 wickets remaining.

Top-scorer of the day was Berkshire’s Rachel Priest (51) but even she could not save the Beavers from defeat, as Notts finished the weekend with 2 wins under their belt. It was a disappointing end to stalwart John Dickinson’s long reign as manager.

Notts had started the chase slowly, reaching 41-1 in the first 17 overs, but when the second wicket fell in the 18th – Megan Burton succumbing to the pace of Ashley Muttitt – it brought Jodie Dibble to the crease. Alongside fellow former England international Sonia Odedra the two began to bat with real intent – Odedra later admitting that the gloomy skies and imminent possibility of rain had pushed them to force the run rate upwards.

They put on a quickfire 34-run partnership in 5 overs before Odedra holed out to substitute fielder Izzy Clayton at mid on, 8 runs short of her half-century. Dibble (22) went two overs later, plumb LBW to Lissy Macleod, but Notts already had 85 runs on the board at that point and the long experience of Jane Smit (19*) saw them home without much cause for concern.

The game had earlier been reduced to 48 overs a side thanks to a short shower, and Nottinghamshire made the most of the favourable bowling conditions – damp and overcast throughout the morning – after winning the toss and putting Berkshire in to bat. Sophie Munro, fresh from her five-fer on debut yesterday, left the Beavers reeling at 0-2, having sent back both Annabel Flack and Carla Rudd without scoring.

It was left to Priest and Macleod to rebuild and, after Berkshire eventually got off the mark in the fourth over of the day, the pair put on 69 for the third wicket – including a huge one-bounce four from Priest over midwicket – before Macleod was unluckily adjudged LBW to Dibble for 18.

Priest pushed on and just about made it to her half-century (dropped on 49* by Yvonne Graves at square leg), but was out bowled trying to sweep Dibble shortly afterwards, leaving Berkshire 4 down with 78 runs on the board.

From there it was an uphill struggle for the remaining Berkshire batsmen, who crawled along for a while, between them managing to push Berkshire’s total up to above 100 before Munro (4-28) and Lucy Higham (3-9) eventually cleaned up for Notts in the space of 39 overs. Ultimately 105 was a respectable but not quite competitive total.

Notts captain Sonia Odedra told CRICKETher after close of play that she was extremely happy with her side’s performance this weekend:

“2 out of 2 is perfect for us. It was important for us to win these 2 games to give us a chance to stay in this division. I’m really proud of the team and what they’ve achieved so far.”

“It got a little bit close in the end when we lost a few wickets, but I had confidence, we’ve got a long batting order and the important thing is we got over the line.”

NEWS: Sarah Taylor Speaks Out Ahead Of World Cup Return

In her first interview since taking a break from cricket a year ago, Sarah Taylor has given the strongest indication yet that she will be back in England colours come the opening World Cup game on 24 June.

“To be back in time for the World Cup has been a hard journey but very worth it,” she said, in a video recorded by the ECB.

“It’s been a tough 12 months and lots has been learned in that time. In terms of where I am with my cricket, I’m incredibly comfortable to be back playing and the girls have been absolutely brilliant. It’s just nice to be back around them and the fact that the World Cup is at home as well makes it extra special.”

Speaking about her recent return to playing with her teammates in the UAE, she said: “In the UAE it felt like I was wearing that shirt for the first time. I’m almost looking back at my career and seeing this as a bit of a blank canvas.”

The real test for Taylor will come when she walks out in front of several thousand fans at Derby; she is confident, though, that she is ready for that:

“I feel like I’m probably mentally strong enough to deal with those pressures. I’m back and I’m ready to face the World Cup and the scrutiny that professional sport brings.”

She admits that she still suffers from social anxiety on a day to day basis, but says that she is “most comfortable out in the middle: batting, wicket-keeping and being around the girls.”

“Batting’s more fun now than it was back then! Once you eliminate all the things that are going on inside your head you’re able to just purely enjoy the game.”

Overall, she is cautiously optimistic about both her own comeback and England’s World Cup chances. “I’m proud that I’ve even put myself out there to do it,” she says. “I want to win as much as the next person – and I’m hoping that there’ll be success with my own mental health and we can see a trophy at the same time.”

INTERVIEW: Alex Hartley – “I Owe Middlesex My Career”

There aren’t many cricketers who have had a better year than England’s Alex Hartley. 12 months ago few people knew her name. Then she was called up to the England squad against Pakistan, went on to take 8 wickets in the inaugural KSL, and ended the year by breaking the record for the most number of wickets by any England player in a bilateral series (13 against the West Indies).

To what does she attribute her recent international success? She is pretty unequivocal about it: “I owe Middlesex my career.”

Until 2013, Hartley was based at her home county, Lancashire; but her resurgence, she feels, revolved around the difficult decision she made back then to commute from her home in Clitheroe down to London to represent Middlesex. Hartley had been selected for the England Academy aged 15, then dropped soon afterwards, but still harboured dreams of playing for England. At that point, back in 2013, Middlesex were in Division 1 and Lancashire were not. A move south seemed to be her best hope of reviving her international chances.

It turned out, though, that it was not just about the quality of cricket on offer at Middlesex. “It gave me a fresh start,” Hartley says. “I was always that person at Lancs that couldn’t bat, couldn’t field, but could bowl. Went down to Middlesex, didn’t tell them anything about me. They’d never seen me play before, and it just really kickstarted my career from there on in.”

“They gave me so much. They put me on the Academy, I was having one-to-ones with [former England coach] Mark Lane. It was just what I needed really.”

Slowly she clawed her way back into England contention – selected for the 2015 Academy tour to the UAE and then finally, under new coach Mark Robinson, given the chance to prove herself at international level. The support of Middlesex was key throughout.

Did that make it difficult, then, to come to the decision ahead of this season to head back to her home county, Lancashire, leaving North London behind?

“It was actually really heartbreaking. I didn’t want to leave. But the travelling, it’s just too far. Living back in Manchester it just made so much sense to move back to Lancashire.”

It doesn’t stop her feeling a certain sense of divided loyalty – even turning up to watch the London Cup match last week dressed in Middlesex colours. “I was like ‘come on girls!’ I felt like I was still part of that team. They’re just like family.”

Hartley is now firmly ensconced in the England set-up, awarded a central contract last December and having recently returned from Abu Dhabi on a training camp with the rest of the squad. She says that she has been working hard on her batting and fielding – as well as her bowling, of course. “It has been an intense six months. But hopefully I’ll peak at the right time and it will be worth it.”

It seems likely she will feature heavily in Robinson’s plans for the World Cup. Certainly when we sit down with her at Lords she has selection in the starting XI against India come June 24 firmly in her sights – and it is her success at county level on English pitches which has made it possible. “I’ve bowled well for a few years now, so knowing that I can bowl well on English wickets and knowing that I can take wickets on English wickets is a real confidence booster ahead of the World Cup,” she says.

So as someone who owes so much to county cricket, how does Hartley feel about the fact that she and her England teammates will be missing out on the vast majority of the county season this year?

“It’s hard, but we know it’s probably for the best. We want to be playing cricket, that’s what we do, it’s our job to play cricket. But the coaches assess our workload carefully and it’s important for us to get rest, which sometimes means missing matches.”

“It can get too much and you do need your time away. It is set up right, but it’s a shame our county season’s not any longer.”

The last point is a good one. This year’s county season is a mere 7 games long and the majority of those will have been played by the end of May. Indeed, with the introduction of the Super League, one does sometimes get the feeling that county cricket is considered somewhat of an irrelevance by those at the top.

But if the example of Alex Hartley is anything to go by, it seems pretty apparent that county cricket still has a vital role to play in nurturing the international stars of the future.

MATCH REPORT: Tash Smash As Middlesex Put In The Miles To Beat Surrey

In the third annual London Cup fixture between Middlesex and Surrey, this year held at Radlett CC, Middlesex made it 3 from 3 after Natasha Miles hit a skilful half-century in her captaincy debut.

Having put 150 on the board Middlesex must have been reasonably confident of the win; but the game came right down to the wire, with Middlesex overseas star Holly Huddleston ultimately holding her nerve bowling the final over to see her side home by a mere 3 runs.

Surrey had won the toss and put Middlesex in but, after Naomi Dattani went early (caught behind for 0 in the third over), they let things slide in the field with some rather erratic bowling – including a total of 18 wides.

Beth Morgan (40 off 34 balls) and her captain took full advantage, sharing an 89-run partnership before Morgan was finally caught at cover in the 12th over. Cath Dalton then joined the party with a quickfire 21 off 13 balls. Miles herself was a mere two balls away from carrying her bat, but was stumped off the penultimate ball of the innings, finishing with 54 runs to her name (49 balls).

Surrey needed to bat at almost 8 an over to emerge victorious, which seemed unlikely until two particularly wayward overs from Dalton and Gayatri Gole, which went for 19 and 18 runs respectively, leaving Surrey 57-1 after 7 overs. From there on in they kept up there or thereabouts with the required rate, as Sophie Pout (29), Bryony Smith (16), Hannah Jones (27) and Aylish Cranstone (31) chipped in with vital runs – Smith, Jones and Cranstone all finishing with strike rates well above 100. Cranstone’s innings was particularly impressive as she deftly steered the ball into the gaps on both sides of the wicket.

Jones was the last of the four to fall, as Milly Pope took a good low catch at fine third man to send her off in the 17th over. By then Surrey required 28 runs off the last 20 balls – but the reintroduction of the fiery Huddleston to bowl out her remaining 2 overs just about prevented them from scrambling over the line.

Miles, who was named Player of the Match, told CRICKETher after the game that she had enjoyed both the match itself and the experience of captaining her side:

“It did get quite nerve racking but this is the cricket we train and play for. I loved every minute of it!

The captaincy is a challenge. I haven’t done it in a long time so I’m just trying to get my bearings again. The girls are just so great to work with, though – Beth batted brilliantly. Cath came in and threw her hands through the ball and really connected well.

It was really fun to see us be so positive after our start to the season [they lost both of their opening fixtures in the County Championship], and hopefully we’re going to take this success forward.”

CLUB OF THE MONTH: Quatt CC

Here at CRICKETher, we’re passionate about women’s cricket at all levels, including club cricket. It’s our mission to offer coverage of women’s (and girls’) club cricket wherever we can! Our ‘Club of the Month’ feature will focus on one women’s or girls’ club every month, giving you the lowdown on their highs, lows, and everything in between.

If you’d like to see your club featured here, get in touch – we’d love to hear from you!

Quatt Cricket Club’s (QCC) women’s team is currently in its fifteenth year and was formed in 2002. The women are an active part of QCC, a village club located in South Shropshire which was established in 1908.

The women’s section of the club was formed by Kelly Evans and Beth Evans in 2002. Kelly and Beth were the girlfriends of Quatt Men’s 1st XI players and brothers Adam and Ade Evans and were keen to not only play the game they loved watching but also grow participation in a sport that had no foothold in Shropshire at the time.

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Quatt CC, back in the day!

The women’s team played its inaugural game against Colwyn Bay in 2002, with future QCC captain Vicki Bale scoring a run-a-ball hundred on debut! In 2003 they joined the Women’s Midlands League, representing Quatt, and with it Shropshire, in Division 1.

QCC has been a mainstay club in the Midlands League ever since, taking the small Shropshire village to the heady heights of the Midlands Premier League in 2013. They currently play in Women’s Midlands Division 2 and the Shropshire Active Women’s League – a T20 development format played on weeknights to encourage new members and youngsters into the senior side.

They are coached by Louise Pugh, who has been a player and coach at Quatt since the mid-2000’s. “Pughy” is an ECB-qualified Level 3 coach and runs the Shropshire County Girls U11 side as well as supporting and playing in QCC Active Women’s and Midlands League fixtures.

QCC play at the Quatt Oval, a ground that has changed much since 2002 when the first women’s training session took place. Located on land owned by the National Trust’s Dudmaston Estate in the village of Quatt, QCC had a traditional village cricket feel about it until 2011 when the wooden and highly dilapidated cricket pavilion, complete with two small changing rooms, no electricity and no hot running water, was demolished and replaced with a state of the art cricket pavilion, delivered through a significant club fundraising effort alongside a package of grant funding from the ECB, Sport England, Shropshire Council, local charitable trusts and the parish council.

QCC now boasts some of the finest facilities in the county, having secured additional funding from Sport England and SITA Trust in 2014 to develop a second ground, two further changing rooms and new car parking provision adjacent to its existing pitch and main pavilion.

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The new pavilion

As the first Shropshire cricket club to form a women’s league team, Quatt has fielded many county representatives over the years, with its most famous member being Eve Jones, who has just returned from a tour to UAE with the full England Women’s team, having been part of the England Academy since 2014.

The club has a thriving junior section with over 120 members – not bad for a village with no feeder school and a population of only 219! Quatt juniors run mixed teams in U9, U10, U11, U13 and U15’s age groups. The club’s girls membership currently stands at 38.

The club has enjoyed welcoming a number of England women’s stars on domestic duty to its ground over the years including Amy Jones, Jenny Gunn, Danielle Wyatt and Georgia Elwiss. The highlight to date for Quatt, though, was reaching the Women’s Midlands Premier League in 2012 – an outstanding achievement for a small village club. For many of the girls, pulling up at Sheffield on a late summer’s day in 2012 a few days after England Women had won the Ashes to see half the Sheffield team being interviewed by Sky Sports in their England tracksuits was a daunting and intimidating highlight. Katherine Brunt, Lauren Winfield and Natalie Sciver were all in the Sheffield team that played Quatt that day and their wickets fell for 18, 11 and 14 respectively to Quatt’s Clare Pym (a serious career highlight!) This didn’t stop Sheffield racking up a massive score that Quatt failed to make a dent in, even if the fabulously gracious Katherine Brunt declared at tea that she wouldn’t be bowling at full pace and would bowl spin (collective sigh of relief all around from the Quatt girls to that announcement!)

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This year Quatt are looking forward to welcoming back a number of women into the team who have been absent over the last few years due to injury and pregnancy. Their aim for this season will be to finish in the top half of the league table. Overall they want to see Quatt continue to shine in the women’s game and be a beacon of all that is good about playing women’s and girls cricket.

Anyone interested in getting involved at Quatt, whether as player or in any other role, should contact captain Jenny Cotham on jcotham11@gmail.com.

INTERVIEW: Ashley Giles On His Vision For Warwickshire Women’s Cricket – “We’re All One Club”

You don’t see many county cricket directors in attendance at women’s county matches, but Ashley Giles isn’t just talking the talk when it comes to women’s cricket – in his new role at Warwickshire CCC as Sport Director, he’s walking the walk too. We meet him at the Edgbaston Foundation Ground, where he has turned up to watch Warwickshire’s first match of the Women’s County Championship, against reigning champions Kent.

“If we’re serious about women’s cricket – and we are – then I need to have an input, I need to come and watch, and see what’s going on,” he says. It’s great to see such commitment to the women’s game from someone so senior. What’s more, this isn’t just a one-off. “I was here the other day for one of the women’s pre-season days,” he tells us, “and presented to them my philosophies and my beliefs and explained what we’re doing at the top end. I need to be there to support [Warwickshire Women coach] Darren Franklin and his team and all the girls.”

What is his vision for Warwickshire women’s cricket? “Women’s cricket is in my job description, and that shouldn’t be a token gesture,” he says. “We need to be joined up – we’re all one club. I’d expect the behaviours and the culture to be similar, as similar as it can be, to what we do with the men. In Warwickshire these girls [the county team] are our ambassadors. They’ve got a big role to play.”

“We need to try and offer as much support as we can to our teams. And keep trying to improve the standard. If we can do that, it becomes a better spectacle, which becomes more marketable, which ultimately brings more money in.”

Giles freely admits that women’s cricket is “still very much the poor relation to the men”, but is already working to change that. This season he has overseen the introduction of meal money and travel expenses for the Warwickshire women’s side, something he says is long overdue. “It’s right. These girls are wearing the Bear. They’re playing for Warwickshire.”

He also highlights the importance of the provision of top-quality facilities, including new grass nets at Edgbaston and the new Foundation Ground at Portland Road, opened in 2015, where most of the women’s 1st XI home matches are now played. He makes clear that he wants to shore up the support on offer for coach Franklin and his team: “hopefully my experience as a player and a coach can be of benefit. And if we can in some way get other coaching support, or even some of our men’s players coming down from the first and second team, to support the ladies, then great.”

The benefits of the joined-up approach are already apparent: Warwickshire captain Marie Kelly sung Giles’ praises in a recent interview with CRICKETher. “We feel really part of the club,” she told us. “It is nice to be involved in the club and to know that we are fully supported.”

For Giles, a focus on the women’s game is important not just from a competitive point of view, but from a participation angle: “We want more girls playing cricket,” he says. He has personal experience of the difficulties involved in expanding opportunities: “My daughter played cricket at school, and went for Worcester trials. But I remember her going to a club to join in at nets and because she hadn’t realised there was practice on and she’d gone straight from school, she didn’t have her kit. She turned up in jeans and gets told to sit down, she can’t participate, because she’s not got the right kit.”

“Now that for me is just totally blocking playing cricket. It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing – just play cricket! I hope most clubs aren’t like that, but we need to make sure that girls are getting opportunities.”

One important point he does highlight is the need to make women’s cricket more available to watch – “that’s the way you get interested in something: by saying ‘I want to be more like them’.” It follows, then, that a key part of Giles’ joined-up vision for the club is double-headers: the Bears hosted two county T20 double headers at Edgbaston last season and will be doing so again this year (on 16 July). He is also hopeful that Warwickshire – who were disappointed to miss out on being awarded one of the six Super League franchises – will have a major role to play in the new men’s city franchise competition, which will start in 2020, and that this can provide more double header opportunities for the club.

Ultimately, for Giles, it’s about working towards a level playing field in women’s cricket. When I ask if that will, at some stage, involve contracts for Marie Kelly and co., he is cautious but optimistic. “That would be a great end game if we could get to that point. That’s going to take a lot more investment, but it would be brilliant if, by the time I finish this role, we’d got contracted female cricketers at Warwickshire.” Until then? “It’s all about those small steps.”

“I don’t think it’s going to be revolution,” he concludes. “But evolution? Certainly.”

NEWS: Heather Knight Injured But Expected To Return Before World Cup

Captain Heather Knight has sustained a small metatarsal stress fracture to her left foot, and is expected to be out of action for up to 6 weeks.

She will need to wear a specially designed boot for the first 2-3 weeks of her recovery and will then spend 2-3 weeks building back up to full fitness.

While the injury will certainly be a concern for England as they prepare for their home World Cup campaign, Knight is at this stage expected to be fit in time for England’s World Cup warm-up matches, which begin against Sri Lanka on June 19.