A new prestigious cricket competition for Women and Girls is being launched in Shropshire for 2020.
The Shropshire Women’s Hundred sponsored by Strategic Leisure will feature the cream of cricketing talent in the county.
Four regional teams will play in a round-robin competition across four weeks during the summer, with the last week of action featuring a Finals Night where the champions will be crowned.
Cricket Shropshire Clubs and Community Cricket Manager Steve Reese said the aim was to attract the top Women and Girls players from around Shropshire to take part in an exciting competition on home soil.
He said: “In the past few years, the top players in Shropshire have had to look outside of the county in search of the relevant standard of cricket to test themselves.
“The Strategic Leisure Shropshire Women’s Hundred hopes to provide that level of competition in the county.
“We also want to inspire the future generations of Women and Girls cricketers in Shropshire, growing the player base with a structure that highlights the pathway from All Stars to the full County side.”
The teams will be led by Ambassadors who will chose the teams, lead training sessions and mentor the squads during the competition.
Rach Chesters, Ambassador for North East: “It’s great to have a competition in Shropshire, something we didn’t have when we were younger and coming through the system.
“It is a good opportunity, especially from a coaching point of view, to see the girls come through. Some of the younger players will get the chance to play alongside and against some of those who have more experience, so it will be a great opportunity to learn.
“And the new format adds some extra interest for everyone involved.”
Hannah Young, Ambassador for Central East: “It is an exciting opportunity to promote a new level of cricket in the county.
“It’s going to be a really exciting time to be involved in Women & Girls cricket in Shropshire and we’re all looking forward to the opportunity.”
Cricket Shropshire’s Women & Girls’ Director Trudie Bloor: “We have had a few meetings to develop this concept and it is great to see the enthusiasm coming from the Ambassadors.
“Hopefully that will transfer across to the players taking part. It is good to see a competition like this developing in Shropshire where we can see top players taking part alongside those who are aspiring to play at a higher level.”
The Board will be sending out invitations to players to take part in the competition who will then be assigned to the squads on a regional basis, hopefully by the end of February.
The Shropshire Association of Cricket Officials is also involved, and will be supplying umpires and scorers for the games.
Umpire Lissa (COR) Davis (COR) said: “Having the opportunity to umpire in a new venture like this is pretty special. We are leading the way with this competition, and to be part of it, I feel quite privileged.
“I also see this as the foundation to get more women playing the game, and more women officiating, helping to build a bright future for the women’s game in Shropshire.”
Steve also thanked Strategic Leisure, run by Managing Director Rachel Fowler, for coming forward to sponsor the competition.
She has over 30 years’ experience in the public and commercial sport and leisure sectors, and as a consultant with local authorities working on a range of subjects including sports development, outdoor recreation, strategic planning and funding bids.
Steve said: “It’s great to have a sponsor with such a wealth of experience in the leisure industry backing our new competition so a huge thank you to Rachel and Strategic Leisure.”
Rachel said she was delighted to be involved with the new competition and was looking forward to watching the games in the summer.