Source: Bruce Perkins

For Trent Bridge read Beckenham

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The Eliminator shifted

If you believe in a quiet life, free from all controversy, I advise you not to listen to’s latest Vodcast, No 182 , nor to read the rest of this piece.

The Eliminator, to decide who will face the Vipers in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy final (details at end), will not take place at the home ground of the side finishing second in the table, the Blaze, but at the ground of the side finishing third, South-East Stars. That means the Kent County Ground, Beckenham.

I will detail the plusses and minusses of the South London venue later. But the non-availability of Trent Bridge leaves women’s cricket looking like the inferior being some men treat it as. The famous test ground cannot be used, though the possibility it would be needed for this vital game must have been known way back. In a more reactive world Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club would receive a hefty fine and be told exactly where they could put themselves.

Bear in mind, Loughborough Lightning were renamed The Blaze and moved from Loughborough to Nottingham with NCCC’s blessing. But, bless me, the second biggest game in the RHF Trophy is not welcome. Nor is any other ground in the county currently available, again for tenuous reasons.

Beckenham is now one of Kent’s two out-grounds beyond Canterbury, one last outpost of the days when KCCC, like so many others, made sure they spread their favours right across the county to ensure members and fans got the chance to see their favourite players disporting themselves. That facility now dates back to the dark ages.

I have visited Beckenham twice this season. As may possibly be the case with others of the eight regional sides, there is an uncertain link between them and the counties whose grounds they use. I hope Beckenham is the sole exception. Who has finally responsible for the facilities laid on, South-East Stars or KCCC?

In practice it means you will be lucky to find a seat to sit on, unless you are willing to walk round to the far north-west side of the field to use the open 2,000-seater stand. If not, you have the option of a couple of benches or a view from side on from the large indoor cricket school. Or, ‘bring your own seat’.

If you find your way to the bar, well done. For women’s matches at least it isn’t signposted. It’s on the first floor of said cricket school. There was a time when you could happily enter the attractive iced-cake pavilion for your every need. No longer.

The good news is that the ground boasts one of the best squares in English cricket. Kent batters have certainly enjoyed themselves there, as a top total of 701-7 bears witness. Bowlers may not feel so happy.

As a piece of harmless fun, see how many faces you can spot watching the game from the balconies of the 48 flats that were built as part of the ground’s development.

Raf Nicholson’s view of the situation is given piquancy by the fact that she had been present at a Parliamentary Select Committee meeting, discussing, of all things, women’s sport and the inequalities she finds endemic everywhere she looks.

Fixture Details

Thursday 21 September, Kent County Cricket Ground, Worsley Bridge Road, Beckenham, 10.30 start