The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) today released the schedule for the 2015 Women’s Ashes Series and announced that for the first time, Sky Sports will provide live television coverage of every ball in the seven match multi-format contest.
The 2015 Series will be the third time that the Women’s Ashes have been contested across all three formats of the game – one Test match, three One-Day Internationals and three Twenty20 Internationals – and following a review of the first two encounters by the ECB and Cricket Australia, the number of points awarded for winning the Test match will be reduced from six to four. Two points will still be awarded to each side in the event of a drawn Test, and the ODIs and T20Is will still be worth two points each for a win.
Next summer’s Women’s Ashes Series will get underway on July 21 with the first Royal London ODI at the County Ground in Taunton. The players will then make the short journey across the Somerset-Gloucestershire border for the second Royal London ODI at the Bristol County Ground on July 23, before the third and final 50-over match is played at Worcestershire’s New Road on July 26.
In addition to six Women’s Ashes points being up for grabs, the three Royal London ODIs will carry additional significance for both teams, as they will comprise England and Australia’s third round of fixtures in the new ICC Women’s Championship. Following the Royal London ODIs, Kent and England women’s captain, Charlotte Edwards, will get the opportunity to lead England in front of a home crowd during an extended 164th Canterbury Cricket Week, when Kent CCC’s Spitfire Ground hosts the single Women’s Ashes Kia Test match from Tuesday 11 to Friday 14 August.
The Essex County Ground, the BrightonandHoveJobs.com County Ground and the SWALEC Stadium will stage the three Women’s Ashes NatWest T20Is on August 26, 28 and 31, with the third match in Cardiff being played immediately before the men’s NatWest T20I between England and Australia.
Prior to the NatWest T20Is, Australia women will travel to Ireland to play a three-match T20I series on August 19, 21 and 22.
ECB’s Head of England Women’s Cricket, Clare Connor, said: “It has already been a remarkable year of firsts for England women’s cricket – the first crop of 18 players to receive professional contracts, alongside a first standalone commercial sponsorship deal with Kia. We are now delighted to report that Sky Sports will provide live coverage of the multi-format Women’s Ashes next year and in so doing, will cover a women’s Test match for the very first time.”
“The level of broadcast coverage that the England women’s team now gets is exceptional, and I am thrilled that the ECB, in partnership with Sky Sports and BBC Radio, continues to lead the way in this respect within international women’s team sport. It is this level of exposure and support that will ensure that the women’s game continues to grow, and that will inspire the next generation of England women’s cricketers.”
“It is also wonderful that Charlotte Edwards will have the opportunity to lead the England team in the Women’s Ashes Kia Test match in front of a home Kent crowd during an extended Canterbury Cricket Week in August. The points awarded for winning that match have been reduced from six to four, and the Test will be played in the middle of the multi-format Series for the first time. These are moves to help improve the balance of the competition and to ensure maximum interest across the three formats throughout the summer.”
Bryan Henderson, Executive Producer of Sky Sports Cricket, added: “Sky Sports has supported women’s cricket for over 18 years, and we look forward to taking our coverage to the next level as we show a women’s Test match for the first time. Our viewers will be able to enjoy every ball and every minute of action as England women compete to retain the Ashes next summer. We have a strong and successful partnership with the ECB and are proud to have played our small part in the growth of the women’s game over the last two decades.”
England will be hoping to emulate their performances from the first two multi-format Women’s Ashes contests, having won twelve points to four on home soil in 2013 and ten points to eight Down Under at the start of this year.