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Loughborough selected as force to drive women’s cricket forward

Loughborough University has been selected by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) as the East Midlands Regional Host of its new elite women’s cricket domestic structure.

The programme forms part of the ECB’s plan to make cricket a gender-balanced sport and will see a new Lightning Cricket academy and senior squad created, working alongside partner counties Leicestershire County Cricket Club, Derbyshire County Cricket Club, Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club and Lincolnshire County Cricket Club.

Lightning Cricket will compete against seven other regions across the country with the goal of providing a player pathway for talented female athletes to international cricket.

Ian Read, Regional Director of Women’s Cricket said:

“This is a fantastic opportunity for Loughborough University to be at the forefront of Elite Domestic Women’s Cricket that builds on the success of Loughborough Lightning in the Kia Super League.

“We aim to see a successful conveyor belt of talent coming into our programme - be it students of the University or women & girls from the East Midlands region - before going on to represent England at all levels.

“I feel honoured and excited to be able to lead and develop such an unbelievable opportunity for Women’s Cricket and the East Midlands region in an environment as we have at Loughborough University.”

Henry Cowan, Communications Manager – Performance, England and Wales Cricket Board said:

"The momentum behind the women’s game has been staggering in the last few years and it is our ambition to build on that through greater investment in the women’s domestic game.

“The new elite domestic structure will play a critical part in that as we look to generate more best versus best competition to prepare our players for the international stage.

“Loughborough have been an important partner for us through the lifespan of the Kia Super League and are well placed as one of the country’s leading high performance establishments to be one of our new Regional Hosts working alongside the four Counties in their region.”

Training and matches will take place on campus at the Haselgrave ground as well as across the East Midlands.

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 20/100

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2020 QS World University Rankings and University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2019.

Loughborough is in the top 10 of every national league table, being ranked 4th in the Guardian University League Table 2020, 5th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020 and 6th in The UK Complete University Guide 2021.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.