JOB OPPORTUNITY: Women’s Cricket Maker (Oxfordshire Cricket)

– Are you passionate about getting more women playing sport?
– Do you have an interest in Cricket?
– Do you have the skills to engage women to go give Cricket a go?
– Can you make a difference?
– If yes, this may be for you!

Oxfordshire Cricket are looking for an enthusiastic Women’s Cricket Maker for the upcoming summer.

The job will run for 5 months, with the aim to give as many women as possible the opportunity to get a bat and ball experience this summer in a fun and social environment.

More details – including how to apply – are available on the Oxfordshire Cricket website, here: http://www.oxfordshire.cricket/news/womens-cricket-maker-wanted-18215/

NEWS: England XI To Play Ireland In World Cup Warm-Up

An England XI will meet Ireland in three 50-over games in the UAE in April, two months prior to the launch of England’s World Cup campaign.

The matches will take place on 24, 26 and 28 April and, while they will not count as “official” ODIs, they will serve as a useful warm-up for England’s players in the build-up to the world tournament, which launches on June 24.

Ireland, meanwhile, are clearly treating the series as an opportunity to blood new talent, with 7 uncapped players included in their squad: Aoife Beggs, Rachel Delany, Louise Little, Lara Maritz, Sophie MacMahon, Leah Paul and Rebecca Stokell.

Ireland squad: Laura Delany (capt), Aoife Beggs, Laura Boylan, Rachel Delaney, Jennifer Gray, Shauna Kavanagh, Amy Kenealy, Gaby Lewis, Louise Little, Lara Maritz, Sophie MacMahon, Lucy O’Reilly, Leah Paul, Rebecca Stokell, Mary Waldron.

England squad: TBC.

NEWS: 2017/18 Women’s Ashes Schedule Announced Including First Ever Day-Night Test

The ECB and Cricket Australia have today announced that the forthcoming women’s Ashes series will begin on 22 October 2017 at Brisbane, and will include the first ever day-night women’s Test match, to take place at the North Sydney Oval.

The format is identical to the 2015 series in England, beginning with 3 ODIs (worth 2 points apiece), followed by the Test (worth 4 points) and concluding with 3 T20s (also worth 2 points apiece).

Unlike on previous occasions, the decision has been taken to stage the entire series prior to the men’s Ashes, which begins on 23 November. This will make the North Sydney Oval Test the first ever day-night Ashes Test in either men’s or women’s cricket, as it will fall prior to the men’s Adelaide Oval encounter in December.

The series will take place across 4 venues: the Allan Border Field, Brisbane; the Coffs Harbour International Stadium; the North Sydney Oval; and the Manuka Oval, Canberra. These have – according to Cricket Australia Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland – been selected as the “result of a strategic decision to give this series the opportunity to gain as much exposure as possible”.

The full schedule is below.

ODIs:

First ODI – AB Field, Brisbane – 22 October 2017

Second ODI – Coffs Harbour International Stadium – 26 October 2017

Third ODI – Coffs Harbour International Stadium – 29 October 2017

Test:

Test match (Day-Night) – North Sydney Oval – 9-12 November 2017

T20s:

First T20 – North Sydney Oval – 17 November 2017

Second T20 – Manuka Oval, Canberra – 19 November 2017

Third T20 – Manuka Oval – 21 November 2017

CLUB OF THE MONTH: Appleton Tigers

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!

The Appleton Tigers are part of Appleton CC, who play their home games at their Lyons Lane ground in the village of Appleton, in the south of Warrington, Cheshire. Appleton have promoted women’s cricket ever since 1996, when – as part of the Lottery Sports Fund application to purchase the ground – the club’s development strategy included increased participation and opportunities for girls to play cricket. By 1999 there were enough players for Colin Smethurst to start a junior girls’ team.

Over the next four years the number of players and the standard of cricket continued to rise and the team played friendlies against Appleton boys, private schools and other local clubs who were trying to start girls’ sections. By 2002, four of the team were playing league cricket for Brooklands and Birkenhead Park, alongside their friendly matches with Appleton CC. Colin decided that the time was right to give the squad a new challenge by joining the Cheshire Women’s Cricket League in 2003.

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Sue Barlow subsequently took over managing the team and worked tirelessly for over ten years to make Appleton into one of the most successful and best integrated women’s sections in the county. Sue is also the oldest player to have represented the club, aged 67 at her most recent appearance in which she scored a career best 11 runs. Several players have made their women’s debuts at the age of 12, including Natalie Lyons, Jen Regan and current rising star Georgia Heath. They are currently coached by Jess Lewis, who is also the Women and Girls Development Coaching Officer at the Cheshire Cricket Board.

Appleton play in Division 1 of the Cheshire Women’s Cricket League and have won it 4 times in the past 7 years. After joining the league as a very young team in 2003, Appleton developed into a force to be reckoned with, winning their first trophy in the form of the T20 Plate in 2008. The 2010 season was the best in Appleton’s history as they won Division 1 for the first time as part of a league and cup treble. Their achievements was recognised when the Tigers picked up the Warrington Guardian Sports Personality Team of the Year award and Sue Barlow was honoured as Unsung Hero of 2010.

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2010 Cup Final win

Girls as young as seven years old enjoy training at Appleton, who compete at under 11, under 13 and under 15 age groups in both the Cheshire Junior Girls League and as part of mixed teams in the North Cheshire Junior Cricket League Cheshire County Cricket League. The thriving girls’ section has been a key factor in Appleton’s success by providing a series of key players to the senior side.

The club’s success has been built on the backing they have received from those on the club committee at Appleton CC, especially Al Rogers, Ant Hurst and Dave Hurst. When the girls’ team started they had a small pavilion with very basic facilities, until in 2006 the club built a modern new pavilion with the help of member loans and grants. Since the arrival of the Cheshire T20 Cup competitions in 2008, the team have gone by the name Appleton Tigers and been roared to success by an array of soft toy tigers and face painted supporters.

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For more information about the club you can contact current captain Nathalie Long by email at appletoncricket@gmail.com or check out the club website, www.appletoncc.org.uk. They describe themselves as “a friendly club welcoming anyone who wants to give cricket a go, from total beginners through to county standard players.”

Coverage Of World Cup Qualifiers Encouraging For Women’s Game

As I write this, I’m watching the live stream of the final of the Women’s World Cup Qualifiers – India against South Africa – via the ICC’s website.

Not being able to be in Colombo myself, the ability to watch the action online is the next best thing – and the coverage has been both high-quality and multi-camera.

Of course not all the games have been shown, but with multiple matches taking place simultaneously, it would have been difficult to offer complete coverage. Importantly, too, the ICC have offered up daily highlights from the tournament.

I’m certainly not averse to giving the ICC some stick when they get things wrong. But it follows that, when they do a good job, we should give them some credit – and ultimately they’ve done a pretty good job with this tournament.

It’s also been encouraging to see such good coverage on Wisden India. Particularly in the early stages, the dedication of Sidhanta Patnaik and Karunya Keshav to offering up some really interesting stories has been fully apparent. I’ve certainly learned a lot from them about some of the lesser-seen teams.

Let’s hope that, when the World Cup itself begins on 24 June, we see a similar commitment to ensuring it receives the coverage it deserves.

NEWS: Women’s World Cup Qualifying Teams Confirmed

The final round of matches in the Women’s World Cup Qualifiers in Colombo has concluded, with the top four teams confirmed as India, South Africa, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

These sides will join England, Australia, New Zealand and West Indies to compete for the World Cup trophy this summer.

Team Played Won Points
India 5 5 10
South Africa 5 4 8
Sri Lanka 5 3 6
Pakistan 5 2 4
Bangladesh 5 1 2
Ireland 5 0 0

The tournament results also confirm that the same eight sides who competed in the inaugural Women’s International Championship will go on to fight out the second version of the Championship over the coming four years.

Overall, it’s been a disappointing experience for the other two sides with ODI status, Ireland and Bangladesh, who might both have realistically hoped to break through into the top eight. Ireland failed to win a game in the Super Sixes; while Bangladesh managed just one win, against Ireland.

The tournament concludes on Tuesday with a final between India and South Africa, to decide who takes home the Qualifying trophy.

Thoughts On The Batter / Batsman Debate

The first time my PhD supervisor read a draft of my thesis she highlighted the following quote, from Women’s Cricket magazine’s article on ‘Courtesies’ in 1954:

“If the backing-up batsman leaves his crease before you bowl, it is quite legal to run him out, but it is only sporting to warn him the first time.”

“Interesting choice of language,” she noted. “Why batsman?”

The debate over the choice of language in cricket has recently raised its head again on Twitter, after the commentators at the Women’s World Cup Qualifiers in Colombo queried use of the term “batsman” in the women’s game:

Snehal Pradhan’s view, eloquently expressed in this piece for Wisden India, is that use of the term “batsman” might send a message to young girls that cricket is really a man’s sport, and ensure their continued exclusion.

I’m not convinced – and I’m as feminist as they come.

I, too, was initially surprised to find – when I started researching the history of the women’s game almost a decade ago – that the language used by the English Women’s Cricket Association, from its foundation in 1926, was riddled with references to “batsmen” (not to mention “third man”, “twelfth man” and “man of the match”). This was particularly interesting given that in so many other ways the WCA were the epitome of conservative femininity. They were obsessed with their appearance on the cricket field: there were rules about skirt length and sock colour, and caps were strictly forbidden. When there was a push for players to be able to wear trousers, as recently as the 1990s, there was enormous resistance to a move which would mean that female cricketers “no longer looked like women”.

And yet use of the word “batsman” did not bother them in the least.

Why? Because – just as with the terms “third man” and “twelfth man” – it was seen as part of the terminology of the game. Former international Megan Lear summed it up pretty well in Pete Davies’ book on the 1997 World Cup:

“You don’t call third man third woman, do you? It’s a fielding position, and it’s called third man, and a person with a bat in her hand’s a batsman.”

This was the approach adopted by the WCA in the 1920s; and since then female players have in almost all cases referred to themselves as “batsmen”, indiscriminately using words that – to the casual observer – might look rather gender-specific.

So where has this move towards using “batter” come from? The minutes of the International Women’s Cricket Council tell an interesting story. The issue was first tabled for discussion at the 1985 IWCC meeting, held in Melbourne, and was debated as follows:

“As the media is concerned with altering the cricketing terms for women’s cricket to ‘batters’ etc, a determination by IWCC was requested. After discussion it was agreed that the conventional cricketing terms be retained (eg batsman, manager, 12th man).”

This is extremely telling. The point is that it was the media who insisted on trying to alter the terminology of the women’s game from that of “batsman” to “batter”. It was the media (and still apparently is the media!) who seem determined to pigeon-hole female cricketers into the “batter” box, somehow uncomfortable with the idea of labelling them as “batsmen”. “The press,” the IWCC reported at their subsequent 1987 meeting in London, “still finds difficulty in coming to terms with the present terminology.”

And yet the players themselves rejected this pigeon-holing by the media. To them, “batsman” was the conventional cricketing term – so why should they not use it to describe themselves?

None of this is to deny that language matters. But, by taking up the term “batsman”, the WCA were attempting to ensure that the word (just like actor, waiter and author) would become gender-neutral. In fact the WCA rather anticipated the issues that we seem to be dogged with at the moment: they recognised that trying to insert a word like “batter” into the cricketing lexicon would simply mark the women’s game out as different and strange. Why overcomplicate things? Do we really want those commentating on the women’s game to have to stumble over odd and intrusive new terminology?

I’d rather just take my cue from the WCA founders and continue with the term we’ve got.

In any case, given that we’ve now been using the term “batsman” to describe female cricketers for nearly a hundred years, as far as I’m concerned the WCA have been successful: “batsman” doesn’t suggest a man to me, but any cricketer of either gender holding a bat. Perhaps what we really need to do is to educate the people who don’t know any better about the fact that our sport has its own long and interesting history – and that throughout that history, none of women’s cricket’s pioneers ever felt the need to call themselves “batters”. That’s what I always try and do, anyway, when asked – which I often am – whether it’s okay to use “batsman”.

I guess if people want to use “batter”, then I’m not going to try and stop them (although you will find short shrift with me if you try to use “batswoman” or “batsperson”, I’m afraid). But the people who seem determined to use it – often journalists who pay little attention to the women’s game generally – aren’t those who it really affects.

If the players are okay with it… if the founders of our sport were okay with it… then “batsman” is good enough for me.

Women’s Cricket Survey – Cricket Deal Direct

Cricket Deal Direct are running a survey to ascertain views about women’s cricket in the UK. Please read on if you are interested in participating.

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You can help shape the future of women’s cricket.

With the support of England women’s captain, Heather Knight – and CDD’s other SM Ambassadors – Cricket Deal Direct are spending the next few months finding out as much as they can about the women’s game in the UK, as well as the hopes and fears of current and potential players, with a view to informing debate at all levels about the future of the game.

With input from Heather, as well as a steering group of top women’s cricket stakeholders, CDD designed and introduced The Heather Knight Collection of cricket kit three years ago. But there is much more to think about over and above the availability of specialist women’s equipment.

They would like to hear your views about the women’s game and invite you to complete a short online questionnaire at http://bit.ly/2j4YDPE

To thank you for completing this questionnaire, you will receive a £10 Gift Voucher which you can redeem against any purchase of women’s cricket kit from CDD, and what you say will be added – anonymously – to the voices of other women who share our view that the women’s game will go from strength to strength in the years ahead. Your email details will not be shared with anyone else, and will be securely stored subject to CDD’s internal security policies in line with Data Protection legislation.

179 Not Out: A Tribute To Rachael Heyhoe-Flint

It got so that I knew what was coming when I told someone I was researching the history of women’s cricket. “Aha! Rachael Heyhoe-Flint,” they would say. She was always – without fail – the name on people’s lips.

Sometimes they would ask, “Does she come into your research at all?” I scarcely knew how to answer. Did she come into my research? Of course she did.

When I tried to find other histories of women’s cricket, the closest I came was her wonderful 1976 volume Fair Play, co-authored with Netta Rheinberg. I was surprised, at first, to discover that there were two forewords, penned by Brian Johnston and Colin Cowdrey; I realised later that Rachael’s force of personality was such that they could hardly have resisted when she approached them.

Her autobiography, published in 1978, was endlessly informative but also, in keeping with the great lady herself, filled with humour. Feminism was one of the central themes of my thesis; RHF, in the preface to her autobiography, was pretty open about her own feelings on that topic:

“Challenging male supremacy…doesn’t mean I’m Women’s Lib. Far from it, because I value that bit of underwear they rush out and burn each week with a matinee on Wednesdays. I, too, believe in good support.”

In one memorable meeting with my thesis supervisor, in which I quoted from the Eric Morecambe-penned foreword to RHF’s book – “she rarely eats at home. In fact, her lonely husband has eaten so many frozen dinners that he’s been treated for a chilblained stomach and has had a gas heater fitted in his igloo” – my supervisor struggled to believe that it could have been written by THE Eric Morecambe. It was, of course.

When I went through the Women’s Cricket Association archive, there was an entire folder devoted to the euphemistically-termed “RHF Affair” – the occasion in 1977 when she was sacked from the captaincy and omitted from the World Cup squad.

When I looked for newspaper coverage of women’s cricket, she would inevitably crop up at some point. If the story wasn’t about her, it was written by her – like all those match reports in the Daily Telegraph in 1968/9. Looking for stories about women’s cricket was often like looking for a needle in a haystack; occasionally they would be there, but they were usually very hard to spot. Interviews with RHF, on the other hand, would be whole-page spreads. “Our busts don’t get in the way,” she told one Guardian reporter in 1973, when he asked. “We don’t have to cut them off.” Somehow she still managed to charm him.

Most recently – just last Monday in fact – I spent the afternoon in the library reading about her incredible innings of 179 not out at The Oval in 1976.

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Did she come into my research? Always.

She was such an ever-present theme, in fact, always there in the background, that when she agreed to meet me to be interviewed for the thesis I was rather nervous. They say, after all, that you should never meet your heroes. Thankfully in this instance that adage proved far from the truth. She was interested in my PhD. She was warm, funny, and charming. It was one of the best afternoons of the entire research process. All I can say is that I feel privileged, now, that I got the opportunity to talk to her about her incredible, eventful life before it was too late.

“Let’s rest on 179 for now,” her last email to me, sent just after Christmas, ended. Not a bad final note to strike.

Three Cheers To 2016… Here’s To 2017

Three Cheers To 2016… 

… For giving us the first Kia Super League. This time last year, we didn’t even know who the hosts were going to be. This time last year, with each of the teams starting out from scratch, it could easily have been a flop. It wasn’t.

… For giving us Tammy Beaumont Mark Two. Whatever Mark Robinson said to her, it worked. Back in January her England career looked dead in the water; now she’s being named in ESPNCricinfo’s Women’s Team of the Year and the future looks bright. Incredible, really.

… For giving us a new captain of England who already looks a natural in the role. When her appointment was announced in June, we wondered: was she ready? How would she handle the difficult few months ahead, with the media ready to pounce should England fail to shine against Pakistan, West Indies and Sri Lanka? Three series wins later, and, well, you do the maths.

… For giving us Alex Hartley in an England shirt. ‘Nuff said.

Here’s To 2017… 

… The year of KSL 02 – hopefully even bigger and better than before, especially now we know that Finals Day will be broadcast live on Sky.

… The year of the biggest world tournament women’s cricket has ever seen. Bring on the final at Lord’s on 23 July!

… The year when we find out just how far Mark Robinson’s team are capable of going towards winning a world title at home. Fingers (and toes!) crossed…