Georgia Adams: I didn't know women's cricket existed until I was 13

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Georgia Adams speaks at A Catalyst For Parity In Sport's panel event
Georgia Adams speaks at A Catalyst For Parity In Sport's panel event

Georgia Adams didn’t know it was possible to play elite women’s cricket until she was 13, writes Rachel Steinberg.

It certainly wasn’t a case of being unfamiliar with the sport, or a bat-wielding black sheep in a family of footballers. In 2004, Adams’ dad, Sussex captain Chris Adams, was named one of Wisden’s five Cricketers of the Year.   

While astonishing, acknowledged the now- 27-year-old, the lack of visibility for the women’s game meant even girls with the privilege of pedigree were left in the dark.  

It’s something Adams believes will change dramatically under the spotlight of The Hundred, which on July 21st will become the first major UK team sport competition to launch with a women’s fixture.  

“It was [incoming MCC president] Clare Connor, the Sussex women’s captain at the time, who said to my dad, ‘Why haven’t you sent your daughter to women’s trials?’,” recalled Adams, whose Oval Invincibles will host Manchester Originals in The Hundred’s opening contest.  

“He was just as naïve as me, really, like ‘I don’t know what the avenues are. How do we send her?’  

“I think that’s why competitions like The Hundred are so instrumental in creating female role models and getting the game out there, getting it seen by people, it’s going to be a spectacle.   

“Hopefully it’s going to [help] girls specifically realise that you can go and make a career out of playing cricket now.”  

Adams was speaking at The Hundred: A Catalyst for Gender Parity in Sport. 

The event marked two weeks to the start of the innovative new 100-ball competition, which will see men’s and women’s matches played back-to-back on one ticket, save for the historic standalone opener featuring the two women’s sides.   

Olympian Sam Quek takes part in A Catalyst For Parity In Sport panel event
Olympian Sam Quek takes part in A Catalyst For Parity In Sport panel event

Even the language of the game will reflect the tournament’s commitment to parity. Fours and sixes will be hit by ‘batters’, not batsmen, and a ‘Hero of the Match’ will be crowned after every game.   

Sky Sports will broadcast all 34 women’s matches for free on its YouTube channel with extensive coverage also on the BBC.  

That profile, believed Adams, will be immense for both the boys and girls she coaches.  

She said: “I’m still amazed at how much cricket boys watch compared to the girls.  

“The girls want to watch it [but] it’s a case of they don’t want to watch it unless it’s the girls playing.   

“[And] the little boys come up to me and they’re like ‘Georgia, Georgia we’re supporting Oval Invincibles because you’re playing for them.’”  

The Hundred offers an equal prize pot for the men’s and women’s champions, as well as the same off-pitch resources, from training facilities to transport and hotels.  

“It’s a massive thing,” said 19-year-old Birmingham Phoenix bowler Issy Wong.  

“Traditionally women’s teams haven’t always had the same opportunities as the men.   

“We’re on the same platform [in The Hundred] —one club, two teams is very much the mantra going about, and that’s so exciting for us as female players, learning off the men’s players and maybe they can learn something off us.  

“I think it’s a first in sport, certainly in cricket.  

“The fact that The Hundred exists means so much to us as female players. It really makes us feel like there’s an investment being made in us, and we can go out there, perform, enjoy it and have fun.”  

You can see and be part of history: show your support and attend the first game of The Hundred on 21 July at The Kia Oval #BeThere.

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