Netherlands join the LV Women’s County Championships for 2009

Thu, Jan 29, 2009 5:14 PM

The ECB has announced that the Netherlands will join the LV Women’s County Championships in 2009 - the first time that an International side outside the United Kingdom has featured in the ECB major county competition.

Following on from last month’s announcement that Ireland will also make their debut in the 2009 competition, the LV women’s County Championship now features three of Europe’s strongest teams; Scotland has already been competing for the last two years and will play in Division 3 of the Championship in 2009.

"The inclusion of the Netherlands and Ireland is great news for European Women’s cricket," said Richard Holdsworth, ICC Regional Development Manager - Europe.

He added, "The ECB has been extremely supportive in developing the women’s game in Europe and the decision to accept both teams into the 2009 structure came about after a very positive consultation process.

"Now with the inclusion of all three of our High Performance Programme countries into the Championship, this will allow each team to participate in regular competitive fixtures outside of their own countries; an environment which will progress their development enormously."

Clare Connor, Head of England Women’s Cricket, who led on the consultation process with many of the Counties shares Holdsworth’s enthusiasm: "I am delighted that we have been able to add both Ireland and the Netherlands to the ECB Women's County Championships for 2009. I want to support our European neighbours to enable them to climb the ODI rankings and it seems to me that with more regular, competitive opportunities we can genuinely help them do this."

Recognising the long-term benefits of the of the expanded competition, Connor added: "I do not want to see Irish and Dutch women's cricket get left behind in the global rankings by the growing Asian nations who are playing more and more cricket. I am confident that our structure will facilitate their progression and enhance their performances."

The 50-over competition format for 2009 runs from May to September and sees an increase from four to six divisions. The extension of the playing season will also see the introduction of more home and away matches for the 24 teams in the top four divisions, whilst the newly created fifth division will be split into North & East, and South & West sub-divisions. Ireland and the Netherlands will both be joining Division 5 in their first year, with the opportunity to progress in forthcoming years.

2009 LV Women’s County Championship Divisions

Division One: Sussex, Kent, Nottinghamshire, Surrey, Berkshire, Somerset

Division Two: Lancashire, Yorkshire, Warwickshire, Middlesex, Cheshire, Essex

Division Three: Derbyshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Scotland, Devon, Hampshire

Division Four: Northamptonshire, Norfolk, Hertfordshire, Cornwall, Wales, Durham

Division Five North & East: Leicestershire, Northumberland, Cumbria, Suffolk, Ireland

Division Five South & West: Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Dorset, Shropshire, Oxfordshire, Netherlands

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