What you need to know about the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy and Regional T20
Thunder - the side representing Lancashire, Cheshire and Cumbria - will compete in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy and a new Women's Regional T20 tournament
When will the two tournaments start?
The Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy will begin on 29 May with all eight teams in action on the opening day. The Women’s Regional T20 is set to start on 26 June with three opening-round matches to be played as double headers with Vitality Blast games at Trent Bridge, Edgbaston and Emerald Headingley. Emirates Old Trafford will also stage a double header on 9 July.
How will the Rachel Heyhoe Flint Trophy format work this summer?
Southern Vipers are the defending champions after they won the inaugural Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy final against Northern Diamonds at Edgbaston last September.
The same eight teams will compete this summer with each team to play against each other once during the group stage. The team that tops the table after the group stage will advance to the final, to be staged on 25 September.
The second and third-placed teams at the end of the group stage will meet in a playoff on 22 September. The winner of that match will progress to the final.
The venues for the playoff and for the final are to be confirmed.
What is the Women’s Regional T20?
This is the first season of the Women’s Regional T20 and will be played between the same eight teams that will also compete in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy.
The teams have been placed into two groups of four based on their final standings in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy last summer:
Group A: Southern Vipers, Central Sparks, South East Stars, Lightning.
Group B: Northern Diamonds, Western Storm, Sunrisers, Thunder.
Each team will play six group-stage matches – three at home and three away. Finals Day will be staged on Sunday 5 September with the best group winner progressing immediately to the final.
The semi-final on Finals Day will be contested by the ‘other’ group winner and the best second-placed team. The winner of that match will progress to the final.
Which players will take part?
This summer an increased number of 41 players have signed professional domestic full-time contracts in addition to 17 centrally contracted England players. Each team therefore has five players on full-time domestic professional contracts with Western Storm offering one additional contract.
The availability of England Women’s Centrally Contracted players will be known once the international schedule has been confirmed soon.
All players who take part in the competition will be paid to play, with the exception of Centrally Contracted players.
How can I follow the matches?
The ECB and regional teams will provide further detail on plans to live stream matches and the ECB-funded match report service to ensure you can keep updated when the competitions begin.
Why is the 50 over competition called the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy?
The tournament is named after former England great Rachael Heyhoe Flint, a trailblazer in women’s cricket who passed away in 2017, aged 77.
Heyhoe Flint is a titanic figure in the history of the women’s game, challenging convention and fighting for progress as a player, administrator and campaigner throughout her life.
As well as serving as England captain and campaigning for women’s inclusion in the MCC, Heyhoe Flint sat on the ECB Board that gave the green-light for the Kia Super League to start in 2015.
The Kia Super League trophy was last year recommissioned to become the Rachel Heyhoe Flint trophy to further illustrate the progression and growth of the women’s domestic game.
What is the background of the eight teams playing in these competitions?
The eight teams are formed of First-Class Counties and National Counties – and Loughborough University - who work together at the elite end of the women’s domestic game to support a squad of professional and semi-professional players, as well as an academy.
The eight regions are:
Central Sparks (Warwickshire CCC & Worcestershire CCC, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire)
Lightning (Loughborough University, Derbyshire CCC, Leicestershire CCC, Nottinghamshire CCC, Lincolnshire)
Northern Diamonds (Yorkshire CCC, Durham CCC, Northumberland)
Thunder (Lancashire Cricket, Cheshire, Cumbria)
South East Stars (Surrey CCC, Kent CCC)
Southern Vipers (Hampshire Cricket Ltd, Sussex CCC, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Dorset, Isle of Wight, Oxfordshire)
Sunrisers (Middlesex CCC, Essex CCC, Northamptonshire CCC, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Norfolk, Suffolk)
Western Storm (Glamorgan CCC, Gloucestershire CCC, Somerset CCC, Cricket Wales, Cornwall, Devon, Wiltshire)