ECB Premier League appoints first all-female umpiring team

Anna Harris and Yvonne Dolphin-Cooper are set to make history this weekend as the first all-female umpiring team to officiate in the ECB Premier League.

Harris, 22, and Dolphin-Cooper, 64, are due to stand in Downend’s home clash against Bedminster in the West of England Premier League on Saturday – breaking new ground in the top tier of the country’s club cricket pyramid – before teaming up again seven days later when Pontarddulais take on St Fagans in South Wales.

Both took part in the Rachael Heyhoe-Flint Trophy last summer and are expected to be retained for this year’s competition, with a chance of going on to appear in The Hundred.

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Dolphin-Cooper is hoping the moment can be used to harness other women to take up umpiring, explaining: “I played very badly but I’ve always loved cricket and now live and breathe it.

“Through umpiring I see the astonishing talent that is coming through in the women’s game and it’s great to now be breaking through the glass ceiling.

“I want to encourage as many women as possible to umpire: we’re here so why can’t other people do the same?”

Harris, a second-year medical student who has been involved in the coronavirus response and has also represented Wales on the pitch, said: “We’ve known each other for a long time and have the same passion for cricket.

“Yvonne has umpired me several times and when we’re fielding I like to get to square leg so we can have a chat and share some banter. It’s great that we can now together umpire these two matches.”

Chris Fortune, vice chair of the WEPL, welcomed the development.

“As a league, we pride ourselves on being both a forward-thinking and inclusive network and our officials remain one of the most valued components within our community,” he said.

“We are exceptionally proud of the upcoming historic game, achieved by Anna and Yvonne.

“Diversity is fundamentally key to the growth and progression of our sport. Congratulations to both of our on-field officials, and for all of their hard work and commitment to their roles over a number of years.”

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