Lords Cricket Ground from the boundary

Middlesex Cricket submit bid for professional Women’s team

Middlesex Cricket Club have submitted a bid to the England and Wales Cricket Board to become one of the eight First Class Counties to operate a tier one professional Women’s team from 2025.

The Women’s game is set to evolve from the current stage where the Sunrises, the Women’s side for London and the East region, have played in the regional format since 2021 with Middlesex as their host county. 

Middlesex’s long term vision is to run two professional sides, Middlesex Men and Middlesex Women, playing in parallel at the highest level of the game, and growing the Women and Girl’s game that already exists in the county.

Chief Executive Officer of Middlesex Cricket, Andrew Cornish said: “The growth of Women’s sport has been widely acknowledged in recent times, and the ECB’s focus on ensuring that cricket stays firmly at the front of that growth is paramount.

“As the Sunrisers’ host county, we have seen just what is possible with professionalisation of the Women’s game, and as a Club with such a proud history in the Women’s game, we need to ensure we continue to do all we can to support that growth.

“We are hopeful that we are able to carry on the incredible amount of work that has already gone into developing the professional Women’s game to this point.

“To see professional Men’s and Women’s sides out on the field, playing in Middlesex colours, is something we all aspire to, and we hope to be able to bring that vision to life in the coming few years.”

This news comes after the club acquired the freehold of pharmaceutical and biotechnology company GSK’s Swyncombe Avenue Sports Ground, to which will become the home of Middlesex Women and Girls pathway development plans for the future.

The 4.5-acre site has been protected in perpetuity by Fields in Trust, a charity protecting parks and green spaces for future generations.

Before the COVID pandemic the site was used for local cricket, football and tennis teams and following their agreement with GSK and Fields in Trust, Middlesex will continue to maintain the site as a sports facility.

Long-term plans for the site include developing it to provide more opportunities for local community usage and improvements to the Pavilion facility to provide recreational space for community groups to use.

Cornish added: “Taking ownership of Swyncombe Avenue Sports Ground provides us with the perfect opportunity to grow the game, especially in the Women and Girls’ pathway – enabling us to make a really positive impact on gender imbalance in the game.

“Furthermore, through engaging local communities, in some of the most densely populated ethnically diverse areas of London, we have an opportunity to make real social change where high-quality fine turf cricket grounds are few and far between.”

Chief Executive of Fields in Trust Helen Griffiths said: “We are looking forward to seeing the plans come to fruition and to working with Middlesex Cricket to protect more green spaces to benefit cricket now and for future generations.

“It is clearly a valuable green space for the local community and Middlesex Cricket’s ambition for a Women and Girls’ cricket hub at the ground to develop the women’s game in the county is exciting.”

Councillor Salman Shaheen, Portfolio Holder for Recreation, Public Spaces and Parking, said: “This initiative has been well developed in true partnership and aims to rejuvenate the grounds as a vibrant hub for cricket.

“Particular focus will be on fostering the growth of the Women and Girls’ game which will inspire more women and girls across Hounslow.”

Middlesex recenty announced Esther De Lange as their new Senior Women’s Head Coach.

For a number of years de Lange has been involved in the Middlesex pathway and is currently completing her level 4 coaching qualification.

The former Netherlands International has played 127 times for her country as an off spinner between 2005 and 2016, captaining for two years in 2015 and 2016, she remains the Netherlands’ leading all time wicket taker.

de Lange said: “With the cricket season around the corner, I’m hugely excited to work with a talented and dedicated group of players in the Middlesex senior Women’s team.

“Having had the privilege of supporting many squad members during their development in the Middlesex pathway at U15 & U18 levels, I have full confidence in their abilities and passion for the sport.

“I admire the commitment of our players, who manage to balance their love for cricket with their full-time work & studies. Their dedication is inspiring and resonates with my own experiences in the cricket world.

“Using my experiences in international and franchise cricket, my aim is to provide an environment where every player feels supported and empowered to realise their full potential.”

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