The County Ground in Essex will host the inaugural Women’s Cricket Super League final, and the club’s head coach sees it as a positive step, writes Don McDermott.
Essex Women’s Cricket head coach Matt Hyam has hailed the advent of the Women’s Cricket Super League following an announcement from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) that the Essex County Ground will host the final of the new tournament.
The six-team T20 tournament will run from July 30 to August 14, with a Finals Day at the County Ground, featuring the semi-finals and final, scheduled for August 21.
Hyam told Rising East: “The Women’s Super League is an exciting and progressive move forward for women’s cricket in the UK.
“It will provide a necessary platform to promote the game at a level beneath the England team. The branding of the teams is starting to appear and they all look really good so far and with the recent announcement of Kia UK as the title sponsor of the competition it is now starting to take shape.”
Although Essex are not taking part in the competition, with Lancashire Thunder, Loughborough Lightning, Southern Vipers, Surrey Stars, Western Storm and Yorkshire Diamonds rounding out the six teams, Hyam said that hosting the finals will be a great day for the county, adding: “I’m sure that the Essex support for women’s cricket will be out in full for this finals day.”
But Hyam also warned that the ECB must make sure that they provide a pathway between county cricket and the Super League.
He said: “Being a county outside of the six teams and their partners, what I am looking for from the ECB and the hosts is that they ensure a clear player pathway to ensure all the players that have aspirations of playing in this competition can see that there will be the opportunities to be selected into these squads available to them – both in the short term for this year and, even more importantly, in the longer term.
“This competition was set up to close that perceived gap between the England team and women’s county cricket.
“The ECB must ensure that going forward they don’t create another gap between women’s county cricket and the Super League, by providing the appropriate competitions at all levels in the future.”