Somerset submit bid for professional women’s cricket

Somerset County Cricket Club can today confirm our intention to submit a bid to become one of the eight First Class Counties who will operate a professional women’s team from 2025.

As the popularity and development of women’s sport continues to grow apace, and in light of the recent ICEC report, it is believed that the Regional Model for women’s cricket is no longer the most effective structure through which the game grow.

Therefore, domestic cricket is set to see the transition the current eight women’s regional teams into eight women’s professional teams owned & operated by eight First Class Counties.

The goal is to ensure that cricket becomes the most vibrant, captivating and robust women’s professional team sport across England & Wales.

Somerset has long had a special affiliation with the women’s game.

The Somerset Women played their first recorded match on May 19th, 1956 at Morlands Athletic Ground in Glastonbury.

England Women made their debut at the Cooper Associates County Ground in 1997 against South Africa in an ODI which saw a young Charlotte Edwards make the first of her nine hundreds in the format.

Since that day, the England team have regularly returned to First Class cricket’s most South Westerly outpost and in 2009 the home of Somerset County Cricket Club also officially became the ECB’s Home of Women’s Cricket. This coincided with the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 tournament, which saw Somerset stage all 12 group match fixtures in the competition. Since then, the women’s game has gathered enormous support and momentum and from a logistical point of view it made sense for the England team to relocate away from the rural South West. However, Somerset still consider ourselves to be the Spiritual Home of the women’s game.

The region has already developed incredible talents within the women’s game, with World Cup winners Anya Shrubsole, Heather Knight and Fran Wilson all learning their trade in the South West.

Somerset have already played a leading role in the development, success and progression of Western Storm through the current regional system, and with SCCC having a Pathway system that is the envy of the domestic men’s game, the potential is limitless.

It is vital that the region capitalises on the current growth and expansion of the women’s game professionally, domestically and at grassroots level.

Somerset CCC CEO, Gordon Hollins said: “The growth of women’s sport, including cricket, has been significant in recent years, and that is predicted to continue. It is therefore important for Somerset to be at the ‘top table’ of the women’s game in order to capitalise on this growth, and more importantly, to progress Somerset County Cricket Club’s ambition to ‘Inspire the South-West through cricket’.

“Inevitably, when any club goes through the type of transformation that will take place if Somerset is successful in acquiring Tier 1 status, there will be challenges.  These include facilities, resources, and finance.  Regardless, it is our view that the club’s that prosper in the future, will be those that have men’s and women’s professional teams.  We will therefore be submitting the strongest bid possible to ensure that the growth of the women’s game continues across the whole of the region with Somerset as the epicentre.”