All your questions answered about the regional structure of women’s cricket and the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy that the South East Stars will compete in this year.
What Is The Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy?
The Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy is a competition being played for the first time this summer.
It’s a special edition 50-over competition, played between the eight newly formed regions who make up the women’s elite domestic structure.
The eight regions will be split into two regionalised groups of four, with the two respective group winners progressing to play each other in a final. The venue for the final will be the home of the best-performing team in the group stages.
Fixture dates for the trophy will be announced tomorrow, alongside fixtures for the men’s Vitality Blast.
Who’s playing in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint trophy?
The eight newly formed regions of the women’s elite domestic structure.
Those regions are formed of First-Class Counties and National Counties – and Loughborough University – who work together at the elite end of the women’s domestic game to support a squad of professional and semi-professional players, as well as an academy.
The eight regions are:
Central Sparks (Warwickshire CCC & Worcestershire CCC, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire)
Lightning (Loughborough University, Derbyshire CCC, Leicestershire CCC, Nottinghamshire CCC, Lincolnshire)
Northern Diamonds (Yorkshire CCC, Durham CCC, Northumberland)
North West Thunder (Lancashire CCC, Cheshire, Cumbria)
South East Stars (Surrey CCC, Kent CCC)
Southern Vipers (Hampshire Cricket Ltd, Sussex CCC, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Dorset, Isle of Wight, Oxfordshire)
Sunrisers (Middlesex CCC, Essex CCC, Northamptonshire CCC, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Norfolk, Suffolk)
Western Storm (Glamorgan CCC, Gloucestershire CCC, Somerset CCC, Cricket Wales, Cornwall, Devon, Wiltshire)
Will the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy be played every year?
This summer (2020) was always set to be the first summer of fixtures in the new women’s elite domestic structure.
COVID-19 has impacted some of the logistics of this year’s competition, the regionalised approach of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint trophy – for example – is a specific reaction to the landscape of COVID-19.
So while the eight regions will be participating in both 50-over and 20-over cricket every summer from now on the tournament structure and tournament names are yet to be confirmed.
Which players will take part in the Rachel Heyhoe Flint Trophy?
Each region will have a squad of 15 players.
Some of those players are already known, as each region has announced their intake of Regional Retainer players – an important step towards the professionalisation of the domestic women’s game – and each region will soon confirm their full 15-strong squad.
The availability of England Women’s Centrally Contracted players will be known once the international schedule has been confirmed.
All players who take part in the competition will be paid to play, with the exception of Centrally Contracted players.
Can I watch the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy?
At present, games will proceed on a behind-closed-doors basis as the game follows UK Government guidance ‘Stage 3 Elite Sport – return to domestic competition guidance.’
Any change to that would depend on UK Government guidance.
Why is it called the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy?
The tournament is named after former England great Rachael Heyhoe Flint, a trailblazer in women’s cricket who passed away in 2017, aged 77.
Heyhoe Flint is a titanic figure in the history of the women’s game, challenging convention and fighting for progress as a player, administrator and campaigner throughout her life.
As well as serving as England captain and campaigning for women’s inclusion in the MCC, Heyhoe Flint sat on the ECB Board that gave the green-light for the Kia Super League to start in 2015.
The Kia Super League trophy will be recommissioned to become the inaugural Rachel Heyhoe Flint trophy to further illustrate the progression and growth of the women’s domestic game.