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‘Please, Miss, what’s a County?’

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Sarah Glenn has decided to return to her native county Derbyshire after spending four years in the embrace of Worcestershire.

Cricket has remained one of the very few English sports based upon counties. Tennis and rugby used to have thriving county networks, but these days you have to search hard to find coverage of them in the national media.

With the current preference for money-spinning franchises in which Indian businessmen can indulge themselves, cricket’s eighteen counties in the men’s Championship have faced a struggle for survival.

It’s a similar story with women’s cricket.

The new structures put in place (the two competitions and the regions) were essential for its welfare. The talent was spread far too thin across every one of England’s counties – and beyond into Wales (the ECB is more properly the EWCB). So they had to take a back seat.

The Kia Super League saw new franchises put in place, amalgamations agreed, new names invented which the innocent spectator had to learn.

But sponsors disappear faster than melting snow. Inside three years (2016-2018) the KSL was gone, to be replaced by yet more newly named franchises.

Let me think: is it Thunder or North-West Thunder? Or is it actually Lightning? Where is Lauren Winfield-Hill playing this year? It’s quite a memory-stretcher.

When England’s Under 19 squad was announced, it was in the new format, with the fancy franchise names appended. Below is how they would have appeared in earlier times. I know which I prefer. You may disagree:

Ellie Anderson (Central Sparks)
Hannah Baker (Central Sparks)
Josie Groves (Lightning)
Liberty Heap (Thunder)
Niamh Holland (Western Storm)
Ryana MacDonald-Gay (South East Stars)
Emma Marlow (Northern Diamonds)
Charis Pavely (Central Sparks)
Davina Perrin (Central Sparks)
Lizzie Scott (Northern Diamonds)
Grace Scrivens (captain, Sunrisers)
Sophia Smale (Western Storm)
Seren Smale (Thunder)
Alexa Stonehouse (South East Stars)
Maddie Ward (Lightning)


Ellie Anderson (Central Sparks and Worcestershire)
Hannah Baker (Central Sparks and Worcestershire)
Josie Groves (Lightning and Northamptonshire)
Liberty Heap (Thunder and Lancashire)
Niamh Holland (Western Storm and Somerset)
Ryana MacDonald-Gay (vice-captain, South East Stars and Kent)
Emma Marlow (Northern Diamonds and Yorkshire)
Charis Pavely (Central Sparks) and Worcestershire
Davina Perrin (Central Sparks and Staffordshire)
Lizzie Scott (Northern Diamonds and Northumberland & Durham)
Grace Scrivens (captain, Sunrisers and Kent)
Seren Smale (Thunder and Lancashire)
Sophia Smale (Western Storm and Wales)
Alexa Stonehouse (South East Stars and Kent)
Maddie Ward (Lightning and Nottinghamshire)

(Some of these players have already switched counties in their young careers.) But it’s nice to be able to pay due respect to the nurseries that nurtured this talent.

That is how Glenn feels about things.

She knew she had to leave her native heath to advance her England prospects. Her move paid high dividends (see the three names from the Pears above – well done, Worcestershire!). But now that she is part of the elite set-up, she prefers to return whence she came and take her turn in helping youngsters find their feet.