Whilst most eyes will be on England’s history-making Women’s team at Blackfinch New Road today (Saturday), for Worcestershire’s Women’s Rapids squad tomorrow (Sunday) is marked down as an equally momentous day in the diary.
The Rapids – who have recently extended their partnership with Malvern Active via a new three year sponsorship deal – will make history of their own as they begin their first ever Vitality T20 Division One campaign.
They gained promotion last season from Division Two and will be pitting their wits against some of the women’s game’s most successful outfits, including last season’s champions Lancashire, as well as Yorkshire, Sussex and Kent.
The format of the competition sees matches take place over the next four Sundays, with the nine counties involved meeting at three separate venues on each date.
The Rapids will begin tomorrow (Sunday) with a trip to Warwickshire’s Edgbaston Foundation Ground to take on the Bears at 10.30 am, and then Surrey at 1.30 pm, whilst Warwickshire and Surrey will then meet in the day’s final game at 4.30 pm.
The following two Sundays will see the Rapids host home fixtures at Kidderminster Cricket Club against Middlesex and Lancashire (Sunday June 17), and then Kent and Yorkshire (Sunday June 24 ).
Admission to home matches is FREE and Rapids supporters are very welcome to come along and back the team.
After a successful first half of the season in which skipper Lauren Rowles’s team clinched top spot in their Royal London One-Day Cup Group to set up a promotion play-off against Cornwall in August, the Rapids will approach the challenge of top flight cricket in confident mood.
Wicketkeeper and vice-captain Chloe Hill is relishing the challenge ahead. “We’re really looking forward to getting going. It’s a huge challenge coming up against big names and players who are used to playing at that level but we can’t wait.
“We believe we are better than a Division Three team, which is where we’ve been this season in the 50-over game, and this is our chance to prove we’re good enough to compete in Division One.
Hill recently played for MCC at Lord’s against Middlesex Women in a match celebrating MCC Women’s Day and earlier this season equalled the Women’s County Championship record of four stumpings in one match for the Rapids against Shropshire.
She added, “We want to go out and enjoy it. Our team spirit is one of our strengths and that will count for a lot. We don’t really have any stars in the team, but we have plenty of players who can contribute.
“Everyone is capable of stepping up and we don’t have to rely on one or two players.
“It’s a balancing act for all of us, juggling work and other commitments with training and playing, but we’re really focused on our preparations, working on plans for our batsmen and bowlers.
“We need to go in with a clear approach, all knowing what we’re trying to achieve. We pride ourselves on being as professional as we can in the way we go about things.
“Hopefully we can do all that and pick up a few wins along the way. Ultimately our aim is to ensure Division One cricket again next year.”
Sunday 10th June – Warwickshire (10.30 am) & Surrey (1.30 pm) at Edgbaston Foundation Ground, Portland Road, Birmingham B17 8LS.
Sunday 17th June – Middlesex (10.30 am) & Lancashire (4.30 pm) at Kidderminster CC.
Sunday 24th June – Kent (10.30 am) & Yorkshire (4.30 pm), at Kidderminster CC.
Sunday 1st July – Sussex (1.30 pm) & Nottinghamshire (4.30 pm), at Welbeck CC, The John Fretwell Sporting Complex, Sookholme Rd, Sookholme, Mansfield NG19 8LL.