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ECB names new women's domestic competition after Rachael Heyhoe Flint

ECB will announce fixtures for new tournament and T20 Blast on Wednesday

Rachael Heyhoe Flint speaks at an ICC conference event in Oxford, July 22, 2009

The ECB's women's 50-over competition will be named after the late Rachael Heyhoe Flint  •  Getty Images/ICC

The ECB has announced that this summer's women's domestic 50-over competition will be called the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, named after England's World Cup-winning captain.
The tournament will begin on the Bank Holiday weekend later this month - August 29-31 - and will feature the eight teams from the new regional hubs in two group of four. Each team will play six group-stage fixtures, with the top team in each group progressing to a final on September 26, held at the home ground of the finalist with the most points.
The ECB has maintained its desire to stage some women's domestic cricket throughout the Covid-19 crisis, and awarded 20 county players and five England rookies with regional retainer contracts in June. Some county games have been played in recent weeks, with Surrey's win over the Middlesex in the London Cup last month the first major women's fixture to take place this season.
"I'm delighted that, despite the obvious challenges of Covid-19, we have been able to continue to build the new women's elite domestic structure to the point that we'll see the eight regions playing 50-over cricket this summer," Clare Connor, the ECB's managing director of women's cricket, said.
"Off the back of appointing the eight regional directors of women's cricket and awarding regional retainers, we have worked closely with colleagues across the men's domestic game to ensure we are able to stage domestic women's cricket safely and at high-quality venues.
"Rachael Heyhoe Flint would have been proud to witness the professionalisation of the domestic women's game. She did so much for our sport and without her work, passion and dedication, we wouldn't be where we are today. It's therefore fitting that this special edition of the competition will be played in her honour."
The team names of the eight new regional hubs have also been confirmed, with six of the eight names identical or similar to those used in the Kia Super League. The two new sides are Central Sparks (Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire and Staffordshire) and Sunrisers (Middlesex, Essex, Northants, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Norfolk, Suffolk).
England players are unlikely to be available until the end of the competition due to their series against South Africa, which is due to start at the end of August, although dates are yet to be announced.
The full schedule will be released alongside the men's T20 Blast fixtures on Wednesday morning. The competition's name from next season is yet to be announced, but the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy is currently planned as a one-off, similar to the Bob Willis Trophy in the men's game.