LONG READ: Richard Clark– My Women’s Cricket Journey
A man’s search for meaning, purpose, and reinvention for both himself and the sport he loves is candidly described in Last Wicket Stand. Beginning with the 2020 season, English county cricket experienced a significant transformation. The Hundred was approaching, bringing fresh “franchises” and a novel format to draw in more listeners. Its founding was contentious.
Lullaby-Like County Championship
Only severe measures, according to supporters, could stop cricket’s downfall in the UK. Its detractors believed it would threaten the foundation of the cherished county game. A dedicated Essex supporter set out to capture the final summer before the major transition. In 2019, he traveled the nation documenting this frequently disregarded sport, from the lullaby-like County Championship to the bawdy chorus of T20 Finals Day.
In his 50th year, Richard Clarke was facing a personal turning point and worried that his most incredible days might be behind him. At the center of this captivating and illuminating journey of redemption are the age-old conflicts between change and tradition, progress and security, and money and meaning.
Women’s County Cricket Day was instituted, and Richard Clark explains why women match today are such a hidden gem. Discover how you can lend your support to this fascinating cause.
The men’s county fixtures for 2019 were revealed in November of last year, revealing a noticeable drop in weekend county cricket for many members and supporters. To those who follow the women’s game, this blank day felt like something of a squandered opportunity.
It got a few of us thinking, and the concept of a Women’s County Cricket Day was born. It was partially inspired by the football league’s “Non-League Day” initiative, which encourages Premier League fans who are missing a match due to international play to visit their local semi-pro teams on one day each season.
Bank Holiday Monday
We wanted to test if we could influence cricket fans, and national cricket fans, in particular, to support their women’s team on a single day of the season. For a variety of reasons, we decided on a Bank Holiday Monday, May 6, as the selected day. Since it is still early in the season, most, if not all, of the England players will probably be on display. They will be readjusting to home conditions following their tour of the subcontinent before focusing on a busy international summer.
Additionally, there aren’t many men’s matches on that day, except Derbyshire’s men playing at home at the same time as their women, so we’re not asking county fans to abandon their men’s team. The “Women’s Cricket Family” response has been amazing thus far. Our Twitter account has more than 1,000 followers, and an encouraging number of counties are enthusiastically supporting the cause. We are now focusing on the typical cricket fan in the hopes that we might persuade you to attend a game.
Fifty Over County Championship
In recent years, there has been a growth in women’s cricket. The Kia Super League (KSL) creation, central contracts, and England World Cup victory have all led to a highly noticeable advancement. County cricket, though, probably slipped your mind up until this point. So what exactly is it, and why should you try it? The 50-over County Championship, which lasts from early May to early June, is followed immediately by the T20 Cup for four weeks, meaning the season is over by the end of June, freeing up the calendar for international games and the KSL.
Unlike men’s cricket, there is no division between first-class and minor counties, and over thirty counties, including Wales, Scotland, and the Netherlands, compete. With promotion and relegation, both competitions are built on a three-tiered framework.
With England players as the lone exception, almost all of the players are amateurs with amateur contracts, and their dedication is admirable. Many are essentially paying to participate, and the time they devote to county cricket warrants respect, even though it is not fair. Just two examples: over the weekend of May 5 and May 6 (the Monday), Durham will “double-up” in Devon and Somerset, while Lincolnshire will travel to play Cumbria and Northumberland. Long-distance travel and overnight stays are nothing to belittle.
Most women match today take place off the beaten road at a local club or community venue. May 6 will feature cricket at locations as distant as Cromer (Norfolk), Roche (Cornwall), and Stocks field, in addition to more well-known places like Beckenham and Guildford (Northumberland).
A bar will always be available, admission will be free, parking will be free if there is enough, and a promenade around the perimeter will be almost required. You might see a few well-known actors or actresses, or you might see a future star who hasn’t yet made an appearance.
Bring the kids and a picnic; it won’t cost you anything. If kids had the chance to interact with one of those aforementioned England stars, it might even be enough to spark their interest in the sport. They may run around freely, and if they (or you) tire of it after an hour or so, you can discreetly go without feeling bad about not getting your money’s worth.
In addition, cricket’s women match today may surprise you. Last season, when watching a Division Three match between Worcestershire and Cornwall, It had been noticed that two players who would be on my radar going forward were a 16-year-old fast bowler and a 15-year-old batsman. Perhaps a child will do the same for you? But most of all, we want you to enjoy a cricket match. And to support your county by doing what comes naturally. Looking to get more information about the women match today? We at CBTF are here for you.
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