26 Jul

A special edition of the domestic women's 50-over competition will be staged this summer, the England and Wales Cricket Board has confirmed.

The tournament will see the eight teams in the new women's domestic structure - North East, North West, East Midlands, West Midlands, South West and Wales, South Central, London and South East, London and East - split into two groups of four teams, with the winners meeting in a final.

The competition - the fixtures for which will be announced in August - continues the ECB's push to professionalise the domestic women's game.

Twenty-five domestic players received regional retainers last month and are poised to move onto one of the 40 full-time contracts the ECB intends to award later this year. The ECB had planned to introduce the 40 full-time contracts this summer but delayed that due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

2017 World Cup-winner Alex Hartley was one of the players to receive a regional retainer, with the left-arm spinner having lost her England central contract in late 2019.

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said: "I am pleased that we have been able to schedule women's domestic cricket and ensure competitive cricket following last month's confirmation of the first cohort of players on Regional Retainer contracts."

News of the women's 50-over competition comes on the same day the ECB announced the fixture list for the Bob Willis Trophy, a one-off men's red-ball competition that will replace the County Championship for 2020.

John Stephenson


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