MCC has announced that a fourteen-strong MCC U19 Women’s squad will represent the Club in the inaugural U19 Women’s ARCH Trophy in Abu Dhabi and Dubai from Monday 18 – Saturday 23 February.
The tournament is being delivered by sports tour company Sport Arabia and forms part of a wider MCC Spirit of Cricket Festival, which will culminate in the coveted MCC v Champion County match from Sunday 24 – Wednesday 27 March.
It is the first time in MCC’s 226 year history that the Club will have fielded an age group women’s side, with players being selected in partnership with the ECB – directly from the England Women’s Development Programme. The move represents the latest stage in MCC’s ongoing work with the ECB to support the continued growth of women’s cricket in England.
During the six day tournament the MCC U19 Women’s side will play three 50-over group matches against Durham, Devon and Essex Women’s U19s. The final of the competition will take place at the Zayed International Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi – where MCC will play Warwickshire CCC in the traditional Champion County fixture at the end of March.
MCC Head of Cricket, John Stephenson spoke of his delight at the news, adding: "At the start of 2012 MCC collaborated with the ECB to enhance and expand the MCC Women’s Young Cricketers programme, and the selection of an MCC Women’s U19 side – for the first time in the Club’s history – to take part in this competition represents the latest development in this partnership.
"The opportunity to play cricket in other parts of the world is a central focus of MCC’s involvement in youth cricket, and it is excellent that we are now able to accommodate this for an U19 Women’s team through our ongoing relationships with Sport Arabia and the ECB."
Clare Connor, the former England captain and current Head of England Women’s Cricket at ECB, said: "The U19 Women’s ARCH Trophy is a brilliant new initiative for 2013 which will give a large number of girls the opportunity to experience an overseas cricket tour for the first time. There’s nothing like touring to learn more about the game and about playing as a team, so it will be excellent preparation for the 2013 county age group season. I wish all the participants a successful tour.
"I am delighted that nearly every member of the England Women’s U19 Development Programme will be participating in the tournament, either with their county or as part of the MCC squad."
MCC was the first cricketing organisation in the world to pay female cricketers as professionals through the MCC Women’s Young Cricketers scheme in 2003. Over the last nine years the scheme has helped to develop some of the most promising women’s players in England – including ICC World Cup winners Caroline Atkins, Beth Morgan and Sarah Taylor.
At the start of 2012 MCC collaborated with the ECB to enhance and expand the MCC Women’s YCs programme, and the selection of a bespoke MCC Women’s U19 squad for the first time represents the most recent development in this partnership.
Squad in full