Southern Vipers’ fixtures in the women’s regional 50-over and T20 competitions this summer have been announced.
The Vipers will begin their defence of their Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy with the visit of Lightning on Saturday 29th May. Each of the eight teams will play each other once in the group stage, before a second versus third play-off on Wednesday 22nd September decides who will play the group winner in the final on Saturday 25th September.
Following the popularity of the decision to name last summer’s 50-over competition after one of English cricket’s most revered names, it was decided that the tournament should continue to honour the former England captain and pioneer.
The Women’s Regional T20 is set to commence on Saturday 26th June with the eight teams split into two groups of four. The Vipers have been drawn alongside Central Sparks, South East Stars, Lightning. Each team will play three home and three away matches during the group stage before Finals Day on Sunday 5th September.
In total, 56 matches will be played by the regional teams across the two formats this summer. Venues are yet to be confirmed, but it is planned that the Vipers will play a number of home games at grounds in Sussex, including The 1st Central County Ground, Hove.
Each of the eight teams involved in the women’s regional competitions are formed of First-Class Counties and National Counties – plus Loughborough University - who work together at the elite end of the women’s domestic game to support a squad of professional and semi-professional players, as well as an academy.
Sussex are one of seven counties behind Southern Vipers, alongside Hampshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Dorset, Isle of Wight and Oxfordshire.
Sussex captain Georgia Adams led the Vipers to victory in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy in 2020 and was the competition’s top-run scorer with exactly 500 runs from her seven innings. That included an unbeaten 154 against Western Storm in the group stage, as well as 80 against Northern Diamonds in the final at Edgbaston.
Georgia Adams with the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy and her MVP award from the Professional Cricketers Association
Georgia is one of three Sussex players on full-time domestic professional contracts at the Vipers, alongside Tara Norris and Paige Scholfield. Each of the eight regional sides has five such contracted players, with Western Storm offering one additional contract. Sussex’s Linsey Smith is one of Northern Diamonds’ five domestically contracted players.
Among Sussex’s centrally contracted England players, Georgia Elwiss and Danni Wyatt are part of the Southern Vipers squad, while Freya Davies is on the South East Stars roster.
The remainder of each team’s squads will be selected closer to the tournament. Ella McCaughan and Carla Rudd both featured for Southern Vipers last summer and will be among the Sussex Women players hoping for a place in the squad in 2021.
Ella McCaughan bats for the Vipers in the 2020 Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy
The Vipers have been operating training groups this winter, including at the Sir Rod Aldridge Cricket Centre at Brighton Aldridge Community Academy.