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Page last updated at 20:54 GMT, Saturday, 15 March 2008

England women get coach contracts

By David Ornstein

Clare Connor
It's groundbreaking in terms of what national governing bodies are doing for their women in sport

Clare Connor

Members of the England women's team will take up positions at the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) after 10 coaching contracts were made available.

Nine players were interviewed for the posts on Thursday and the successful applicants will begin work in April.

"It's a massive step forward for the women's game," head of women's cricket Clare Connor told BBC Sport.

Contrary to reports, the contracts are not a reward for retaining the Ashes in Australia in February.

The women were invited to apply for full or part-time contracts, all of which will be designed to ensure they are able to continue training and performing at the highest level.

Influential players such as Charlotte Edwards, who is captain of the squad, Claire Taylor, Jenny Gunn and Isa Guha are likely to be included.

"We don't want people to think this was a reward for winning the Ashes, it's about far more than that," said Connor.

"It's groundbreaking in terms of what national governing bodies are doing for their women in sport.

David O, BBC Sport

"It wasn't a reward and they are not central contracts but they are well-paid posts and they are completely cricketer-friendly."

Until now, up to 20 of the players received athlete personal awards from Sport England - funding that covered little more than expenses.

Those contracted to the ECB will work as ambassador coaches for the Chance to Shine scheme, taking cricket to millions of state school pupils and encouraging more girls to play at club level.

"Of the hundreds of thousands of children involved in Chance to Shine, 44% were girls but of those 44% only a couple of per cent were transferring into playing club cricket," revealed Connor.

"There is a massive market of girls playing cricket at the playground end but we have to build that fantastic base into potential future England players."

England began 2008 in fine fashion, winning the one-Test Ashes before beating New Zealand 3-1 in their one-day international series.

see also
Anderson puts England in control
14 Mar 08 |  England
England receive kind Trophy draw
13 Mar 08 |  Cricket
England's women seal series win
03 Mar 08 |  Women's cricket
England women win to retain Ashes
18 Feb 08 |  Women's cricket
Twenty20 proposal excites Connor
17 Jan 08 |  Women's cricket
Connor focused on England success
04 Oct 07 |  Women's cricket

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