During this final month of cricket, the ECB announced that September would be “Women’s Cricket Month”, where we celebrate everything that is women and girls cricket across the Country - and we want to shout about all the activity that has taken place over this last month in Sussex.
We want women and girls to know that cricket is a game for them at every level, whether that is playing in your school, your community, at a cricket club playing hardball or softball cricket or even just being involved in cricket on an administrative level, cricket is for everyone.
Over the last few weeks, the Sussex Cricket Foundation have put on a number of different activities to engage more women and girls and give them one last opportunity to play some cricket in a fun and safe environment before the season ends.
The Sussex Cricket Foundation have held four Women’s Softball festivals in September, to get more women into cricket, who might be new to the game, and want to give it a go - or for those who have just started out.
The festivals were held at Seaford CC, Petworth Park CC, Middleton CC and Billingshurst CC, with 123 women taking part across the four festivals.
Three of the clubs held softball festivals last season and have started a women’s team out of the festivals they ran, but it was Billingshurst CC's first ever Women’s softball festival and out of this festival they are looking to set up a women’s team as well for next season.
The Sussex Cricket Foundation also ran a day of U11 festivals at the home of Women and girls’ cricket, The Sir Rod Aldridge Cricket Centre at Brighton Aldridge Community Academy.
On the day there were two festivals, one in the morning which involved four teams, Burgess Hill CC, Horsham CC, Hurstpierpoint CC and Rottingdean CC and one in the afternoon, this time for five teams where we hosted a second Hurstpierpoint CC, Brighton & Hove CC, Cuckfield CC, Lewes Priory CC and St James Montefiore CC.
The games were 6 a-side, pairs, softball cricket and it gave the girls an opportunity to play some cricket against all the other teams and to have some fun!
On Saturday, the Sussex Cricket Foundation ran another U11 softball festival and in the afternoon a Women’s softball festival for clubs in the West of the county at Arundel Castle Cricket Ground. In the morning there were five teams involved at U11s, Horsham CC, a combined Middleton CC & Aldwick CC team, Southwater CC and two teams from Stirlands CC.
In the afternoon, the Women’s softball festival involved two teams from Chichester Priory CC, Middleton CC and West Wittering CC. Again, both festivals were 6 a-side, softball and everyone played a round robin.
Cricket clubs have also been celebrating Women’s Big Cricket Month themselves by hosting their own events.
Glynde & Beddingham CC held an U11 softball festival where they invited three other clubs along for the afternoon to play some cricket, along with Bells Yew Green who ran an U11 festival with clubs in their area.
Lewes Priory CC put on a mothers and daughters game, as a good way to encourage more women to play cricket as they are looking to set up a women’s team next summer to join the girls set up they already have, while Brighton & Hove CC had an intra-club game between all their women and girls’ players.
Sussex Cricket Foundation Women and Girls Development Officer, Charlotte Burton said: "Having Women’s Big Cricket Month in September has been a great way to engage more women and girls, whether they play cricket already or not.
"We have had the opportunity to put on some festivals for women and girls to give them some more cricket and especially when the weather continues to be kind to us.
"The uptake has been fantastic and it has been brilliant to see all the women and girls who have played over the last month in particular, enjoying being back playing some cricket and being excited to get going again next summer.
"By holding Women’s softball festivals, we have engaged with more women again in a short space of time, who we hope will continue to play the game next season and with the club softball festivals we have run, we have seen new clubs enter this summer who have just started teams, which is exciting to see.
"Despite Covid-19, it still looks like women and girls cricket is still flourishing in Sussex and it is all down to the work the volunteers in the clubs continue to do to make it all happen.
"I can’t thank them enough for the work they do to get cricket on and give these Women and Girls opportunities to play."
Interim Head of Community Cricket, Gary Wallis-Tayler added: "As a County, we pride ourselves on the ongoing development of Women & Girls Cricket.
"We at the Sussex Cricket Foundation are determined to increase participation and increase the number of clubs offering Women & Girls Cricket in the future. It has been pleasing to see the amount of activity taking place during Women's Big Cricket Month in what has been a challenging summer for many."
It's been a busy month so far, but September is far from over. This Sunday (27 September) is the Women’s Sussex Slam final between Horsham CC and Eastbourne CC, and there is plenty more cricket to watch this week as England take on the West Indies in the International T20 series, with Sussex players, Danni Wyatt and Freya Davies involved.
Sunday also sees the the final of the Rachel Heyhoe Flint Trophy take place between Southern Vipers and Northern Diamonds, with Vipers hosting an array of Sussex players including, Georgia Adams, Paige Scholfield, Tara Norris, Ella McCaughan, Carla Rudd, Cassidy McCarthy and Freya Kemp.
You can watch the England internationals and Rachel Heyoe Flint Trophy live on Sky Sports!
Any Women and Girls who want to get involved in cricket can contact our Women and Girls Development Officer, Charlotte Burton on email@example.com.