Essex Rebels women and essex cricket women group picture
Essex Rebels women and essex cricket women group picture

University launches professional women’s cricket bid with Essex Cricket

March 19, 2024
The University of Essex is proud to be working with Essex Cricket on a tender bid to run a Tier One professional women’s cricket team from 2025.

The ECB have confirmed that, under plans to evolve the women’s professional game structure from 2025, the running of each of the eight regional sides will transfer to a First-Class county for an initial five years from next summer.

Focusing on community engagement and empowerment, the club’s bid aims to revolutionise the landscape of women’s cricket under the resounding banner of ‘We Are Essex’.

With a strong history of nurturing inspiring role models, cricket in Essex has always held the power to unify a region.

Now, with the bid for a Tier One professional women’s team, Essex Cricket is poised to deepen these connections to create a catalyst for change, breaking down barriers and empowering the next generation of female cricketers.

At the heart of an Essex professional women’s team is a strong partnership with the University of Essex and neighbouring professional outfit, the Essex Rebels, who compete in basketball and volleyball at elite national league level.

The delivery partnership crystallises all parties’ connected ambition to celebrate our region and play our part in transforming women’s sport.

Our bid is moving forward under a vision to be the number one region in England for women and girls’ sport with cricket at the heart of this, with the support of a number of key organisations and individuals, including the cricket boards of Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Suffolk, and Norfolk.

Chief Executive, John Stephenson, said of the Club’s bid: “We aim to create the strongest playing pathways, nurture the most inspiring role models, and deliver electrifying moments in iconic arenas.

“With the full knowledge that a successful bid allows us a once-in-a-generation chance to transform women’s cricket in our region, we are incredibly excited by this opportunity and proud to submit a bid.

“We are delighted to have received so much support from eminent individuals and organisations throughout Essex and the region, and we are eagerly anticipating the outcome of the process.

“We now look forward to presenting our inspiring vision and innovative delivery model to the ECB.”

Essex Women’s player and cricket trailblazer, Catherine Dalton, added: “The recent growth of women’s cricket in England and Wales has been exciting to watch, but even more exhilarating to be a part of.

“I am of course delighted to be in my position with Multan Sultans on a personal level, but my major aim is to continue to demonstrate to young female cricketers that they can achieve anything in the game.

“At Essex, our talent pathway is flourishing, with a brief look to our Under-18s’ achievements in national competitions telling you everything you need to know.

“Now, our aim is to ensure that success is celebrated and maintained, with the opportunity to host a fully-professional Essex team a wonderful opportunity to do just that.”

Dr Dave Parry, Director of Sport at the University of Essex, said: “This is a very exciting bid, and we are proud to be at the heart of taking women’s cricket to the next level in Essex and beyond.

“We have a proud history of supporting elite female sport and already host the FA Women’s High-Performance Centre and are a proud home to the Essex Rebels basketball and volleyball teams.

“Players will benefit from working with researchers, who already have extensive experience in supporting top athletes across the globe, and will have access to our elite on-site sport science facilities.

“This trailblazing project further develops Essex as the home of elite sport in the eastern region.”

The Cloud County Ground is already the home of the Sunrisers, hosting matches in both 50-over and T20 cricket, and is renowned for regularly welcoming England Women for international fixtures with capacity crowds.

Chelmsford will host a further nine days of women’s white-ball cricket this summer, including Essex Women, Sunrisers, and Heather Knight’s England, who face Pakistan in a Metro Bank Women’s One Day International on 29 May. 

In addition, the Club recently marked International Women’s Day by becoming only the fourth men’s first-class county to enter into a partnership with anti-sexism campaign organisation ‘Her Game Too’.

We invite the community to join us on this exciting journey as Essex strive to make history and elevate women’s cricket to new heights.

Essex Rebels Team Huddle
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