England Women v Australian Women, 1st Test, Hove August 10, 2005

Cinderella misses her trip to the ball

You would think the publicists would be happy to promote the women's Ashes. Apparently not



Advertising the product - but it was the only poster in evidence, and even then it was inside the ground! © Cricinfo
Few people know that the women's Ashes is on at the moment, so you would think the publicists would be happy with any kind of leg-up they could get to promote the series. Apparently not. Access to the England men's team is jealously guarded, but understandably so - everyone wants a piece of them, media and fans alike - and at least they are made available to the media after an important day's play.

But when a big story broke in women's cricket at Hove yesterday the star of the show, 15-year-old debutante Holly Colvin who took three wickets, was banned from talking to the media. The official reason given was that she would be "too tired" after a long day in the field. Where is the sense in this? For once the poor little sister, women's cricket, had the chance to shine proudly alongside her big brother, but Cinderella was kept away from the ball.

All sports compete for press coverage, and football is usually the winner. But the men's game in the ascendancy with Ashes fever sweeping the nation - that match even knocked football off the back pages and planted cricket on the front. So interested has the country been in cricket's revival that most of the broadsheets sent a journalist to Hove yesterday to give women's cricket some valuable exposure. The Times even went so far as to plant Colvin on the front of the paper - what great exposure - but their journalist, Sarah Potter, had to make do with quotes from England's head coach and Holly's mum.



Packing them in at Hove © Cricinfo
To date, the ECB have been doing a fine PR job: this series was launched on the London Eye, and there were plenty of tv crew at the ground. The media interest reflects the increasingly professional nature of the women's game, boosted greatly by the ECB's involvement since its merger with the WCA. The Tests at Hove and Worcester are npower-sponsored, Sky are covering some of the one-dayers and the women are technically more correct, and better athletes than ever, thanks to personalised coaching.

But it is clear that much still needs to be done to promote the game. The only poster in the entirety of Hove which advertises the match is tucked away within the ground, but the real error was in keeping Colvin away from an interested media.

Jenny Thompson is assistant editor of Cricinfo