Women’s cricket team make history by entering men’s league

'We're really happy to try and be the standard bearer for women's cricket in the Lancashire League.'

Women’s cricket team make history by entering men’s league
Howzat? - Women's cricket team make history by entering men's league
Ramsbottom Cricket Club’s women’s first 11 are set to join the Lancashire League(Picture: North West News Service)

An all-female cricket team has entered the history books as the first to enter a prestigious – and traditionally male – league.

Ramsbottom Cricket Club’s first 11 is set to re-write the rulebook when they join the 131-year-old Lancashire League.

Formed back in 1892, the Lancashire League’s boasted rising stars of world cricket including Shane Warne, Kapil Dev, Allan Border, Viv Richards, Steve Waugh, Dennis Lillee, Clive Lloyd, Allan Donald, Andy Roberts and Michael Holding.

And a chance to add a woman’s name to that list of superstars comes when Ramsbottom joins the league’s third section next season.

It comes following the team’s unbeaten run in the women’s Lancashire Cricket Foundation League last summer.

They will begin their league campaign away against Bacup on April 20.

Their first home game will be against Accrington on April 27.

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Shane Warne featured in the Lancashire League where Ramsbottom’s women’s 11 will play (Picture: Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Andy Dalby, director of cricket at the club – one of the historic English league’s founders – said they decided to face mainly all-male sides after their success last year.

He said after getting the backing of the players, their parents and supporters, they approached the Lancashire League who were ‘hugely supportive of the initiative’.

Mr Dalby said: ‘The girls’ team, the first eleven, won every league game last year so, from my side of things, it was a natural progression to approach the chairman about what we do for next season.

‘After we spoke about potentially entering a women’s side into the Lancashire League, we then consulted with the girls themselves, the parents, and the supporters to hear their views.

‘Once we were certain of their support, we approached the Lancashire League who were hugely supportive of the initiative.’

The women’s and girl’s section at Ramsbottom was set up in 2020 and boasts an under 13s team, under 15s and an under 19s women’s side as well as second 11 and first 11 teams.

The club stressed the future of women’s cricket is women playing against women in a competitive league – but said they felt an interim solution was required for their first 11 to progress the side due to their dominance last season.

As well as playing in the Lancashire League, the women’s and girl’s first 11 will continue to compete in the women’s Lancashire Cricket Foundation League next season, where they will aim to retain the trophies they won this year.

Chairman John Fox said: ‘We’re really happy to try and be the standard bearer for women’s cricket in the Lancashire League and hopefully, the north west.

‘It’s a big thing from our point of view but we want to stress that it’s the women’s game as much as Ramsbottom Cricket Club. We’re here really to try and help the women’s game progress.’

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