With more women’s cricket on show at The County Ground than ever before in 2022, we sat down with Northamptonshire Women’s Captain Patricia Hankins to gather her views on the trajectory of the Women’s game.
Patricia has been playing for Northamptonshire for 20 years, with 10 of those spent as captain, and has seen the rapid rise of the women’s game first-hand.
“Women and girl’s cricket in Northamptonshire has grown over the last four or five years, with lots of clubs getting on board and offering female cricket”.
“I think the club itself has developed massively with the pathway. The number of girls we’re getting through and then moving them on to regional and even getting professional contracts is brilliant”.
With The Hundred bringing thousands of new cricket fans to the Women’s game, 2022 is set to be huge year for Women’s cricket. Especially with the sport’s inclusion in the Commonwealth Games.
“I think The Hundred’s been fantastic! If I speak about one of my close friends that I play cricket with – Jo Gardner – It was an amazing opportunity for her to be around some really high-class women’s cricketers and coaches and then obviously going on and winning – it was incredible”.
“I think this summer is a massive opportunity for counties and clubs to really engage with more women and girls in the game”.
Patricia is also the Senior Clubs and Community Manager for the community arm of Northamptonshire – Steelbacks In The Community. They have focused in recent years on the importance of drawing girls into the world of cricket at a grassroots level.
“We can’t grow the regional side and the pathways without people investing in the grassroots level of clubs. You really feel the girl’s excitement for the game at that age, and so getting as many clubs and volunteers involved as possible is so important”.
Female participation with recreational cricket is also not limited to just playing and coaching.
“We’re running a female only umpiring course at the moment, which is the first one we have ever done. It’s fantastic and having six or seven women go through that course and then be seen at grassroots level is going to be great for the game and will hopefully lead to some girls aspiring to do that in the future”.
Some of the world’s best women cricketers will be in action at The County Ground again this summer, with England Women hosting South Africa Women in the first Royal London Series One Day International on the 11th of March.
“It’s really exciting to have the England side back again. We always put on a great atmosphere at the ground and always have really high numbers. It’s going to be a great game and hopefully we’ll get loads of girls here and try to inspire them to want to get to that level in a few years”.
Tickets for the One Day International will be available soon, register your interest below for first access.