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    Northamptonshire CCC's Ambitious Bid for Professional Women's Cricket
Northamptonshire CCC's Ambitious Bid for Professional Women's Cricket
Wantage Road. Source: Midjourney

Northamptonshire CCC's Ambitious Bid for Professional Women's Cricket

The historic grounds of Northamptonshire have long been intertwined with the rich tapestry of cricketing history, and now, the county is poised to etch yet another significant chapter in its storied legacy. With the dawn of 2025 beckoning a new era for professional women's cricket, Northamptonshire has thrown its hat into the ring, vying to be the proud home of one of the eight coveted professional women's teams.

The county's bid stands as a testament to its enduring commitment to the growth and development of women's cricket. From the hallowed grounds of Wantage Road, where the first England v Australia women's Test match was staged in 1937, to the present day, Northamptonshire has remained steadfast in its dedication to nurturing the talents of aspiring female cricketers.

Girl cricket team. Source: Midjourney
Girls cricket team. Source: Midjourney

Chief Executive Ray Payne articulates the club's unwavering resolve, emphasizing that women's and girls' cricket has long been a cornerstone of their ethos. The exponential rise in participation, with a staggering 160% increase in women and girls playing cricket in Northamptonshire in 2023, underscores the burgeoning enthusiasm and potential within the region.

"For us, cultivating the women's and girls' game isn't just a priority—it's a passion," affirms Payne. "The Steelbacks in the Community team has spearheaded initiatives aimed at providing a clear pathway for young girls to ascend from grassroots cricket to the pinnacle of the sport—a full-time professional contract, gracing the iconic turf of Wantage Road."

Indeed, Northamptonshire's ambitious bid aligns seamlessly with the England and Wales Cricket Board's vision for the future of women's cricket, earmarking up to £5m annually to bolster the infrastructure and support systems necessary for the sport's evolution.

With March marking the deadline for submissions, Northamptonshire's bid represents a culmination of years of tireless dedication and investment. Board Director Sam Kiddyunderscores the transformative impact of hosting a Tier 1 side, expressing optimism that it will serve as a catalyst for inspiring a new generation of players.

Ray Payne and Sam Kiddy. Source: Midjourney
Ray Payne and Sam Kiddy. Source: Midjourney

"We envision Wantage Road as a breeding ground for future international cricketers," declares Kiddy. "The recent accolades earned by local talents such as Jodi Grewcock and Josie Groves, who have earned spots in the England Women Under-19s squad, epitomize the potential that lies within our county's borders."

As Northamptonshire eagerly awaits the outcome of their bid, the echoes of last season's Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy final, hosted at Northampton and won by the Southern Vipers, serve as a harbinger of the county's burgeoning prominence on the women's cricketing landscape.

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