Skip to content

Call for advice on 0800 023 5247


Girls' Cricket: The Rise of the Women's game

by katie malkinson 01 Jun 2024 0 Comments

The public have been enthralled; Women’s Ashes fever has proven as infectious as its male counterpart. The Guardian, 19 July 2023

Cricket might not be a sport that you’ve considered for your daughter but the women’s and girls’ game is on the ascendance.  Last year’s women’s Ashes were exciting and compelling, with captain, Heather Knight, claiming that the series was, “the best there’s ever been in the history of the women’s game.” (The Guardian, 19/7/23).  Record-breaking numbers of spectators attended and there were highlights galore as both teams brought their ‘A’ games.  It may have ended in a draw overall but it was certainly a victory for women’s cricket. 

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to any regular customers of Little Big Sports that its founder, Katie, is a huge cricket fan; one of the reasons Katie set up her company was because she was struggling to find an appropriately sized cricket bat for her little boy and cricket products continue to feature highly on her online store, Little Big Sports.

Girls Cricket Batting

Katie spent her childhood summers on village greens watching cricket matches with ‘Test Match Special’ (TMS as it’s affectionately known) as her soundtrack.  Today, Katie still listens avidly to TMS and enjoys watching all forms of cricket – grassroots to international level, men and women, boys and girls.  

She has joyfully witnessed the rise of cricket for girls and women.  As with English football’s Lionesses and England rugby’s Red Roses, it’s no longer unusual to see women’s cricket on the TV and featured in newspapers and social media (although, of course, there could always be more coverage).  Girls’ cricket is growing in schools and in local clubs, something that Katie has been involved in herself.  She is co-founder of the girls’ team at her local club, Tonbridge CC, in Kent, a team that was established in 2021 with around 15 girls showing up.  In 2024, they’re seeing on average 35 girls arriving for practice once a week with the 11-13 years’ section booming!  

And, thankfully, this is mirrored throughout Kent and up and down the country. 

The stats on girls’ cricket

  • Since 2019 there has been a 68% increase in girls’ sections and an over 100% increase in women’s sections at cricket clubs throughout Kent.  There has been a substantial rise in girls’ school teams competing in both softball and hardball cricket tournaments and Tunbridge Wells CC’s U13 girls became national champions in 2023, winning the T20 tournament for their age group at Lord’s!  

  • Yorkshire has a long-standing cricketing tradition which is a great foundation for its women’s and girls’ section.  The number of female teams across the county has trebled since 2020 while the number of female clubs has increased by 135%.  

  • For other counties, despite not having stats readily available, it was interesting to read about their women’s and girls’ programmes.  I was thrilled to see on Warwickshire CC’s website that women’s cricket was the headline, front and centre, on the home page and on other pages too.  

Why is girls’ cricket’s popularity increasing? 

Cricket in the UK is shaking off its ‘pale, male and stale’ reputation and celebrating female success, embracing inclusivity and investing in the women’s game.  
Girls Cricket Batting Training

National success

When a sport’s national team does well then this trickles down to all levels of the sport.  England are ranked third in the world for the T20 and test versions of the game; England players Natalie Sciver-Brunt and Sophie Ecclestone are ranking as top batters and bowlers, respectively, globally.  Alongside these fantastic role models are younger players like Kent’s own inspiration (for boys as well as girls) Ryana Macdonald-Gay and Issy Wong who are showing girls that it can be done – rising up through the ranks is possible.

The 2023 Ashes tournament, that age-old rivalry with the Aussies, turned into an absolute thriller on the cricket pitch and England recently returned victorious from New Zealand. Headline-grabbing results like these only help to raise the game, captivating all ages and genders, and inspiring girls to ‘have a go’.  

Making cricket more accessible

The national team can only do so much to raise the game, though and perhaps it helps to have a cricket-loving Prime Minister.  It’s great to see that the government is investing £35m in grassroot cricket facilities and to boost access to the sport within state schools.  This money is welcome, of course, but shouldn’t eclipse the wonderful work of ECB initiatives, All Stars and Dynamos, and the charity Chance to Shine who have been working tirelessly for years to boost the sport for boys and girls.  These initiatives will continue alongside the government investment and will no doubt see increased numbers due to the new interest in cricket. 

A clear, defined path to success

All Stars and Dynamos feature in the ECB pathway for cricket-loving girls.  The pathway provides a step-by-step route from beginner cricketer to the international stage, or cricket wicket I should say, and there are pathways at county level too.  This investment in the female game is invaluable, showing girls that cricket is an inclusive sport where they are welcome. 

Credit: ECB Women's and Girls' Player Pathway

High-profile competitions

Inclusivity and parity are certainly influencing the ECB.  They are investing millions of pounds in the women’s game as they see it become increasingly popular.  For example, 2025 will see the start of the women’s county championship with competing counties recently confirmed.   

However, this competition is coming hot on the heels of The Hundred tournament which started in 2021.  As the name suggests, it’s a 100-ball game with men’s and women’s teams from cricketing- cities across England and Wales.  The teams are not associated with the county tournament, walking out with new names – Northern Superchargers and Birmingham Phoenix to give you a flavour - and colourful kit, and, generally, to a very excited crowd.  This is cricket as entertainment for the whole family, one ticket for two games with men and women, critically, playing on the same night, back-to-back.  

Professional contracts

I say parity but that’s not entirely accurate.  The men’s and women’s The Hundred prize money is equal but not their salaries which reflects the sport as a whole (and many other sports).  However, in 2023, the ECB agreed that women and men would receive the same fee for playing for their country.  This is another way to show girls and women that they are valued within the sport and that for great girl players, cricket is a viable career – they shouldn’t have to balance two jobs.  

For the likes of Katie and me, cricket has come a long way since we were watching it on village greens or TV screens throughout the summer.  As I take a look at the ECB’s website, I see that there is a great deal of men’s cricket news, but also: 

This is all very promising but there can always be more.  Women’s and girls’ cricket is like a five-day test match rather than a T20 game – it needs time, strategy, some dynamic moments and patience.   

By Caroline Kings
Friend, sports writer and co-founder of We are Girls of Sport

Prev Post
Next Post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

Someone recently bought a
[time] ago, from [location]

Thanks for subscribing!

This email has been registered!

Shop the look

Choose Options

Recently Viewed

Edit Option
Back In Stock Notification
this is just a warning
Shopping Cart
0 items