South East Stars is the name for the teams representing the centre of excellence for women and girls’ cricket based in London and the South East of England.
The centre of excellence is one of eight across the country as part of the ECB’s plan to transform women and girls’ cricket, released in October 2019.
The South East Stars will work in partnership with Surrey County Cricket Club and Kent County Cricket Club. Surrey will act as the ‘regional host’ while The County Ground in Beckenham will be the regional performance centre.
Former Surrey Head Coach Richard Bedbrook is the Regional Director of Women’s Cricket for the South East Stars and ultimately responsible for both the elite teams and the pathway in the region.
From 2021 onwards, the elite team will play the other regional sides in both 50 over and 20 over cricket.
South East Stars home matches will take place at grounds in both counties of Surrey and Kent, while Surrey are regarded as the ‘regional host’.
The programme is also designed to give professional contracts to up to 40 players outside of those that receive ECB central contracts. The first four players to receive professional contracts at South East Stars are Alice Davidson-Richards, Sophia Dunkley, Tash Farrant and Bryony Smith.
All four players have played international cricket for England. Davidson-Richards and Farrant play their county cricket for Kent while Dunkley and Smith are Surrey players.
In terms of the remainder of the squad, this will be announced closer to the start of the 2021 competition.
What about women’s county cricket?
Women’s county cricket will continue and there will continue to be a side that represents Surrey and wears the Three Feathers on their shirts. This will remain an amateur game.
Hannah Jones is the Surrey Women captain and Tom Lister, Bedbrook’s assistant at Surrey Women, is the Surrey Head Coach.
While it is still to be decided how many fixtures Surrey Women will play each season, they were scheduled to play a full T20 programme and a London Cup match against local rivals Middlesex in 2020.
Is this separate from the women’s Hundred competition?
Yes. County cricket, the regional game and the women’s Hundred are all different formats of the women’s domestic game. Surrey Women, Kent Women, South East Stars and Oval Invincibles are all separate entities.
Richard Bedbrook – Regional Director of Women’s Cricket
Bedbrook has spent the majority of his career honing the cricketing talent of the future while working in the Surrey Academy and with the Surrey Women & Surrey Stars. His time with the Surrey Academy saw him work with the likes of England internationals Rory Burns, Jason Roy and Sam Curran before he went on to lead on the Club’s women’s team. He took the Stars to Kia Super League success in 2018 alongside captain and England all-rounder Nat Sciver.
As Regional Director of Women’s Cricket, Bedbrook oversees the South East Stars first team and academy set ups working closely with clubs, players and coaches across the entire Surrey & Kent region.
Johann Myburgh – Regional Head Coach
Myburgh’s 21-year professional career saw him represent Somerset, Durham & Hampshire in England following spells with Northerns & Titans in South Africa and New Zealand side Canterbury as well as South Africa’s U19s and academy teams.
Since retiring from the professional game in 2018, the 40-year-old has worked as Assistant Head Coach at Sunrisers and Sydney Thunder in the WBBL. His coaching portfolio also includes time with Somerset’s men’s and women’s cricketers alongside his role as Head of Cricket Development at Framlingham College.
Tom Lister – Senior Regional Talent Manager
Lister was Head Coach of Surrey Women for their unbeaten 2020 season. Lister has been a coach with the JT Cricket Academy in recent years alongside his work with Surrey’s age groups in boy’s and girl’s cricket. He is trained to ECB Level 4 standard; picking the brains of some of the most highly decorated coaches in the world throughout his qualifications.
As Senior Regional Talent Manager, he will be responsible for helping the best women and girls cricketers in the region fulfil their potential.
Saajan Shah – Physiotherapist
At Kent since 2018, Shah has worked as the club’s 2nd XI physio while also assisting with the first team squad and academy programmes throughout his time with the club. He also has experience within the private sector at St Lawrence Sports and Physiotherapy Clinic and with development athletes at Kings School in Canterbury.
He joins the Stars on a full-time basis, helping to implement a winter training plan for the team’s professionals as well as the academy and age group structure in the region.
Guy Pitchers – Strength & Conditioning Coach
In more than three years with Charlton, Pitchers worked with the senior side and the talent pathway on the women’s side of the club. He has also provided cricket strength & conditioning support for Kent Women since 2019.
Alongside his role at South East Stars, Pitchers will continue as a Sport & Exercise Science instructor at Canterbury Christ Church University and his PhD studies in Elite Female Performance.
Lettie Hadley – Team Operations Executive
Hadley moved from the Surrey Cricket Foundation, where she oversaw the administration of coaching and outreach programmes. Her new role makes her the point of contact for all off-the-field matters and logistics relating to the first team and academy.