England domestic cricket May 25, 2007

Birch to lead Sapphires in Super Fours

Cricinfo staff

Super 4s cricket kicks off in England this weekend and Rosalie Birch has been named as the new Sapphires captain following Laura Newton's retirement.

The Twenty20 Challenge will be held on Monday 28 May, with Sapphires taking on the Emeralds, captained by Alexia Walker. Nicki Shaw's Diamonds, last year's winners, will take on the Rubies, who are led by Gill Richards.

Shaw is taking over temporary charge of the Diamonds while Charlotte Edwards recovers from knee surgery. Edwards's knee flared up after the quadrangular series in India, but she hopes to be back playing by mid-July ahead of the New Zealand series in mid-August.

The winners from these two games will then face each other in the Final, while the remaining two teams will have a third place play-off. The first round of matches starts at 11.30am, followed by the third place play-off and the Final at 3pm. All games will be played at Loughborough University.

The league competition begins on the weekend of June 2-3, with further matches taking place on June 16 and 23 and over the weekend of July 7-8.

Ebony Rainford-Brent, representing the Diamonds had this to say about the Super 4s; "It's a great platform for players to showcase their talent. It is also an excellent way of preparing for international level, by facing the best in the country on a regular basis and to push yourself either individually or as a team. For me this is my first Super 4s season and I look forward to having the opportunity of playing a key role and producing some good performances."