Nottingham replaces Loughborough as women’s regional hub

Nottingham replaces Loughborough as women's regional hub

Nottinghamshire will take over the hosting of the east midlands team in the ECB’s women’s regional structure, replacing Loughborough University.

Lightning have been based at Loughborough since the new regional set-up was implemented in 2019, with eight hubs replacing the previous county-based structure for women’s cricket. The university, which is also home to the ECB’s National Performance Centre, will hand over the running of the team, which is yet to be given a new name, from November.

“We’d like to place on record our thanks to Loughborough University for their hard work, commitment and collaboration across the last seven years,” Jo Kirk, the ECB’s head of women’s domestic cricket, said. “As well as being an important part of the Kia Super League, they have played a vital role in forming Lightning, and since 2019 establishing the regional model in their part of the country.

“We’re really looking forward to working with the team at Nottinghamshire CCC as they move to leading within their region, alongside Derbyshire CCC, Leicestershire CCC and Lincolnshire.

“The continued growth of the Women’s Regional Structure and the impact it has had on the overall health of women’s cricket in England and Wales is something we should be really proud of, and we’re looking forward to continuing that momentum with a new Regional Partner in the East Midlands.”

The change comes as a result of a tendering process after the ECB and Loughborough decided that female players in the east midlands would be better served by being associated with a first-class county.

The team and academy, which will run jointly by Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire, will be based at Trent Bridge but played games throughout the region.

Mick Newell, Nottinghamshire’s Director of Cricket, said: “Seeing the growth of women’s cricket has been one of the biggest pleasures of being involved in the game in recent years. We’ve been fortunate to be heavily involved in that as a host venue for Trent Rockets, as well as welcoming Lightning to play 50-over and T20 cricket at Trent Bridge.

“This feels like the perfect time to take our commitment to women’s cricket forward. We’re sure that the players, coaches and support staff will feel inspired by being at Trent Bridge, and we believe that access to our world-class facilities and the knowledge of our existing coaching and support staff will assist us in developing and attracting talent.

“Our neighbouring counties will continue to host fixtures in the Charlotte Edwards Cup and the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, and we will collectively build a regional player pathway based at schools and clubs throughout the East Midlands.

“We’re all committed to improving the strength and depth of the female talent pool and providing a clear and visible route for the most talented girls from Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire to progress from their own county age group teams into a regional structure.

“We hope that the added exposure we can give to the new regional structure can help to raise the profile of women and girls’ cricket throughout the East Midlands and deliver tangible long-term results.”

Loughborough Lightning were runners-up in the 2018 Kia Super League, but finished bottom of their group in the Charlotte Edwards Cup in 2021 and 2022.

Ian Read, CEO of Lightning Regional Host at Loughborough University, added: “Athletes are always at the centre of our thinking and it’s clear that working directly with a first-class county is the best option to continue their development and the development of the game.

“We have worked closely with the ECB throughout the process of making our decision to pass the baton and are proud to continue working with Nottinghamshire alongside all the other East Midlands partners. Loughborough University remains committed to cricket for both genders and will continue to develop players and compete as a university as we have for many years.”

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