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Charlotte Edwards Cup – all you need to know

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South East Stars beat Northern Diamonds in the final of last year’s competition

The cricketing summer ramps up another notch on Saturday with the start of the Charlotte Edwards Cup.

England internationals, up and coming talent and the best from the domestic scene are all set to feature in the Twenty20 competition.

BBC Sport takes a look at what to expect.

How does it work?

This will be the second running of the Charlotte Edwards Cup – South East Stars won the inaugural edition last year – with eight regional teams competing across a month-long tournament.

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The teams are split into two groups of four and will play the three other teams in their group home and away.

The best group winner qualifies automatically for the final at the County Ground, Northampton, on Saturday, 11 June.

The other group winner and the best second-placed team will compete in an eliminator earlier on Finals Day for the right to progress to the final.

Ten of the group stage matches will be double headers, taking place on the same day at the same venue as men’s T20 Blast fixtures, including at large Test grounds such as Emirates Old Trafford, Headingley and Trent Bridge.

Group A Group B
Central Sparks (Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire) Lightning (Loughborough University, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire)
South East Stars (Surrey, Kent) Northern Diamonds (Yorkshire, Durham, Northumberland)
Sunrisers (Middlesex, Essex, Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Norfolk, Suffolk) Thunder (Lancashire, Cheshire, Cumbria)
Western Storm (Glamorgan, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Wales, Cornwall, Devon, Wiltshire) Southern Vipers (Hampshire, Sussex, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Dorset, Isle of Wight, Oxfordshire)
Counties/regions feeding into regional teams in brackets

Who should I watch out for?

The players who took England to the World Cup final last month are all set to feature alongside the best domestic talent and a sprinkling of players from overseas.

Opener Tammy Beaumont will play for Lightning in their opener against Northern Diamonds this weekend while bowler Kate Cross (Thunder), wicketkeeper Amy Jones (Central Sparks), batter Lauren Winfield-Hill (Northern Diamonds) and all-rounder Charlie Dean (Southern Vipers) are all available.

England captain Heather Knight (Western Storm), spinner Sophie Ecclestone (Thunder), plus Danni Wyatt (Southern Vipers), Sophia Dunkley and Tash Farrant (both South East Stars) are all playing in the Fairbreak Invitational competition, which concludes on Sunday in Dubai but are all expected to be available for their domestic sides later in the competition.

Nat Sciver and Katherine Brunt, who both play for Northern Diamonds, are being managed following their World Cup and Ashes exploits but will feature – Sciver possibly as soon as the second round of fixtures.

Elsewhere, bowler Anya Shrubsole has moved to Southern Vipers from Western Storm following her international retirement.

Exciting bowling talents Issy Wong (Central Sparks) and Lauren Bell (Southern Vipers) will be among those pushing to take Shrubsole’s place in the England XI.

All-rounder Alice Capsey, the breakout star of the 2021 women’s domestic summer, will play for South East Stars while also sitting her A-levels.

Issy Wong, Alice Capsey and Lauren Bell
Wong (left), Capsey (centre) and Bell (right) and three young players who will look to push their case for an England call-up

What else is new?

Thunder announced this week wicketkeeper Ellie Threlkeld will captain this side this year after spinner Alex Hartley stepped down.

Sunrisers have drafted in former England spinner Laura Marsh as interim coach, replacing Trevor Griffin. Scotland spinner Abtaha Maqsood, who played in The Hundred for Birmingham Phoenix, has also been signed.

England’s 2017 World Cup winner Fran Wilson has returned to Western Storm following her international retirement while New Zealand’s Leigh Kasperek has joined a Northern Diamonds squad that already boasts Sciver, Brunt and Winfield-Hill.

Lightning, who failed to win a game last year, have a new coach in Chris Guest.

How can I follow?

You will be able to see fixtures, follow the scores and read post-match reports throughout the tournament on the BBC Sport website and app.

There will also be BBC radio commentary on selected games, including Southern Vipers v Thunder on Saturday (14:30 BST – online only).

And as ever you get an unique insight into the women’s game by listening to the No Balls podcast on BBC Sounds.

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