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Lord's and ladies

Posted in England Women

Imogen Gaunt

© Getty Images

We’ve been back from the successful Ashes-winning tour of Australia and New Zealand for nearly four months now and so much has happened in that short period of time.

Gerry Sutcliffe, Minister for Sport, and Andy Burnham, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport hosted the team and management to celebrate their winter success at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport building in central London. It was a fantastic occasion and the players were delighted to meet and mingle with such VIPs.

On June 28, in the lunch interval of the final NatWest ODI between England and New Zealand, the women’s team will parade the Ashes trophy around the outfield, after an on-field presentation to commemorate their success and to give spectators the opportunity to congratulate them on their achievements. The parade has been rescheduled from a washed-out day on May 17 during the first npower Test. Leading British designer Paul Costelloe will be present to witness the players in their stunning suits which were designed by him before the winter tour.

The ECB announced a 45% rise in the number of girls and women playing cricket across the board and a massive 97% increase in the number of girls playing ASDA Kwik Cricket. Two of our successful winter players, Sarah Taylor and Katherine Brunt, attended the launch of this year’s ASDA Kwik Cricket alongside England’s Stuart Broad in May.

Eight women’s players have been offered coaching contracts with the Chance to shine scheme, taking cricket into state schools and encouraging more girls to take up the sport.

It has also been announced that the ICC World Twenty20, which will be held in England in June 2009, will include a women’s Twenty20 tournament that will run alongside the men’s. The semi-finals and the final will be held on the same day at the same venue on the same ticket as the men with the group stages held in Taunton at the Home of Women’s Cricket.

More pressingly, the international series kicks off in just under two weeks with two ODIs against the West Indies. That’s quickly followed with two NatWest Women’s Series against South Africa and India, which will take place across the country from August 6 to September 9.

Ahead of that we’re all off to Calais aboard a SeaFrance ferry from Dover to launch the series with a game of cricket on the helipad!