The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced that it is expanding women’s county cricket even further in 2009 with the inclusion of Ireland into the new-look LV Women’s County Championship, as well as the introduction of an ECB Women’s Twenty20 Cup.
Counties will play more matches in the 50-over LV Women’s County Championship in more competitive divisions than ever before resulting in a more comprehensive tournament. The top twenty-four teams in the country, including some Minor Counties, will play ten matches from May through to September, five at home and five away.
The ECB Women’s Twenty20 Cup will be inaugurated in 2009. The shortest form of the game has raised the profile of women’s cricket considerably, particularly with the inclusion of the women’s game in the ICC World Twenty20 in England in June.
ECB’s Head of Women’s Cricket Clare Connor said: “One of my priorities this year has been to appraise the competitiveness of the LV Women’s County Championship. Further to a really positive consultation process which has included County players, County Managers, Regional and National Selectors as well as the England Women's Head Coach, we feel that we have a structure for 2009 that will provide a longer County season and a tougher playing environment for our cricketers.
“I am also hugely excited about the introduction of the ECB Women’s Twenty20 Cup. There is no doubt that this is a format of the game that is here to stay and there has never been a more exciting event in the women's calendar than the ICC World Twenty20 next year. Our England players are desperate to play on finals day at Lords on 21st June and the more competitive opportunities they are given to learn the art of Twenty20, the better our prospects on the international stage will be.
"The ECB is determined to play its part in supporting our European neighbours to play more competitive women's cricket. To that end, Ireland will compete in the Women's County Championship in 2009. Scotland will again compete this year in Division 3 of the women's competition, and also in the girls' Under 17 County competition."
– but the sailors praise the new boats