South East Stars to compete in Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy

South East Stars to compete in Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy

South East Stars, the team representing the London & South East Centre of Excellence in women’s cricket, will play the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy this summer.

The England and Wales Cricket Board has confirmed that this summer’s women’s domestic 50-over competition will be named the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy in honour of England’s pioneering World Cup-winning captain.

The special-edition competition has been created for this summer only to ensure women’s domestic cricket is played despite the challenges of COVID-19 and underlines the ECB’s commitment to professionalise the domestic game for women.

The competition will begin on the August Bank Holiday weekend and will feature the eight teams from the new elite domestic structure playing in two regionalised groups of four.

Each team will play six group-stage matches with the top team in each group to progress to a final to be staged on Saturday, 26 September. The final will be hosted by the finalist with the most points at the end of the group stage.

The full schedule for the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy will be released alongside the Vitality Blast fixtures on Wednesday morning.

Kent Women & South East Stars bowler, Tash Farrant, said:

“I’m so glad we’ll be playing domestic cricket this summer. I know in the wake of COVID-19 it’s taken a lot of work to get to this point and it’s really important that we’ve got here.

“Playing regular and competitive regional cricket will be vital for the women’s domestic game, and it’s good that even in the current climate we’ve seen an emphasis placed on getting it across the line.

“I can’t wait to play, and I’m sure it’s the same for every player. To be competing this year for the Rachael Heyhoe Flint trophy, given everything she has done for women’s cricket, is particularly special and hopefully the trophy will head the way of South East Stars.”

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.

There are hopes that the eight regions will be able to live-stream the fixtures on their website and discussions around the feasibility of such a plan are ongoing.

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.