COVID-stumped ‘The Hundred’ venues reduced

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Women cricket The Hundred tournament venue update Image: MCC

The coronavirus pandemic, on a sports battering spree, has this time round knocked out 12 out of the 20 stadia which had been locked in for The Hundred Women’s Cricket fixture rescheduled for 2021. As a result, the women’s competition in its maiden edition of The Hundred next year will be staged at the same eight venues as the men’s event.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) that runs the novel 100 balls innings cricket tournament made an announcement in this regard recently. The initial plan had centered on using 20 venues in England and Wales but the operational consequences caused by the coronavirus pandemic forced “the need to adapt for the first year of the competition.”

The Hundred is the title of a professional franchise 100-ball cricket tournament in England and Wales run by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). Originally scheduled to start in the summer of 2020, it has been postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 wallop the world over.

Beth Barrett-Wild, Head, The Hundred Women’s Competition and Female Engagement, stated, “It’s clear that the wide ranging impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the delivery of elite sporting events and society more generally, necessitates a change to our plans from 2020. The move to an integrated eight-venue model with the men’s competition next summer will simultaneously enable us to reduce our operational risk, protect the delivery of the women’s competition, and optimize the opportunity to work with our broadcast partners to provide maximum visibility and exposure for the women’s game.”

Barrett-Wild elucidated, “We therefore believe that this is the best structure for the women’s competition in 2021. However, with the women’s game transforming and growing at pace, it is important that we remain flexible in our approach to evolving this model in the future.”

The eight venues which will be now utilized both for the women’s and men’s matches are Lord’s (a cricket venue in St John’s Wood, London), The Oval (an international cricket ground in Kennington (South London), Trent Bridge (cricket ground in Nottinghamshire, England), Edgbaston (cricket ground in Birmingham, England), Emerald Headingley (cricket ground in Leeds, England), Emirates Old Trafford (cricket ground in Greater Manchester, England), the Ageas Bowl (cricket ground in Hampshire, England), and Sophia Gardens (large public park in Cardiff, Wales, where international Test cricket matches and county cricket matches are held).

The national governing body added that double-headers and staying in sync with the men’s teams will provide increased visibility and exposure to the women’s team.

Each team would have at least one double header match, where the men’s and women’s teams play the same opponent on the same day, at the same venue.

One-hundred-ball cricket to be played in round robin league matches and playoffs was first proposed by the ECB in September 2016, following discussions between the 18 first-class counties, the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) also and the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), with a vote of 16-3 in favor of the format. On April 26, 2017, 38 members of the ECB voted to approve the proposal of a City-based competition.

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