England women a full-time force

ICC World Twenty20 2009

Charlotte Edwards

Charlotte Edwards' side could dominate the game for years to come, according to New Zealand captain Aimee Watkins

England woke up this morning as double world champions with their nearest rivals concerned they could dominate women's cricket for years to come.

Having beaten New Zealand at Sydney in March to claim the 50-overs World Cup, England repeated that result with a six-wicket triumph over them at Lord's yesterday to lift the ICC World Twenty20 trophy.

It is a stunning double success for England, but a worrying trend for the other women's international sides as they attempt to stop England becoming the dominant force.

"I think the infrastructure they have now and the amount of money the ECB has put into them has put them leaps and bounds ahead of the top three of India, ourselves and the Aussies," admitted disappointed New Zealand captain Aimee Watkins.

"They have got a good structure in place and they can only get stronger and stronger and we're hoping we'll head that same way and the gap will be closed."

The ECB have ploughed money into the women's game since 2005 and last year awarded eight coaching contracts to some of the leading players in association with the Chance to Shine programme.

That has allowed the women to concentrate on their cricket without also having to find part-time work and the rewards have been immediate with England winning the Ashes home and away and claiming two World Cups.

"It makes a huge difference," admitted Claire Taylor, who was named as player of the tournament.

"Trying to juggle a full-time job and trying to train to play for England to be the best you can be is really hard.

"For the ECB and for Chance to Shine to step forward and to say we're going to give you girls the opportunity to be a professional cricketer for half the time and the other half of the time you're going to be role models in schools and in clubs was great."

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