Bovey Tracey CC are leading the way for female representation in senior positions at cricket clubs in Devon.

In December 2023, the club appointed its first-ever female chair in Tina England, in the process making her the only current female chair in the Tolchards Devon Cricket League.

Tina got involved in the club as a scorer after her husband and kids joined the club in 2010, initially helping manage a junior team, going on to manage the district team then joining the committee as Membership Secretary before taking on the role of Vice-Chair for the last three years.

"One of the reasons I decided to take it on was to signal to all the women and girls that they can make a difference. It's amazing that we've got a lot of strong women involved now."

Tina England (right) is currently the only female chair in the Tolchards Devon Cricket League.

"Andy [Bishop, former Chair] and I worked pretty well as a double act," recalls Tina. "Andy was a brilliant Chair, but he always said he'd do three years.

"There always seemed to be an unwritten rule that [the Chair] had to be a cricketer, somebody with a profile in the Premier League, which we had with Nigel [Mountford] and Andy, so I assumed I never would be Chair because there was always the feeling that it would have to be a man. When Andy said he was going to stand down, people said 'why don't you do it?', so there was a bit of a change in mood."

Tina does admit that she was almost put off by the small number of women in attendance when she went to her first DCL meeting:

"It did put me off a little bit, that there was nobody there like me, but then I looked around and thought there's nobody that can do this as well as me."

Tina is not the only woman in a senior position at Bovey Tracey CC (BTCC). Eight of the 17 club committee roles are now filled by women, with meetings now "worlds apart" from when Tina first joined the club:

"I’m not doing it all on my own, we have an amazing team, but I don't think it hurts around the club that they see a female chair. One of the reasons I decided to take it on was to signal to all the women and girls that they can make a difference.

"It's amazing that we've got a lot of strong women involved now. It's been a really brilliant thing seeing so many young people joining the committee too."

Tina England with previous Bovey Tracey CC Chairs, Nigel Mountford (left) and Andy Bishop.Tina believes that one of the advantages of being a female chair is that people find her approachable and are more willing to raise concerns or suggest new ideas. One such example of this came from an issue raised with Tina that has led to the club having one of the first Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Officers in Devon, which has been fully embraced by the new committee:

"We normally try to keep our meetings down to two hours, but our last one went on for three as everyone wanted to properly discuss EDI.

"Helen [Lockett, BTCC’s EDI officer] is brilliant, she points out those little things that make a big difference.  For example,  at our last meeting, I asked everyone for a report with a traffic light system (red amber green) to see how we're progressing and she pointed out that this isn’t helpful for those people who are red-green colour-blind. It is invaluable to have her watching out for that sort of thing on our behalf. She is also working with others in the club to allow for neurodiversity in the way we set up training, making sure we have the right resources so everyone can participate in an equal way."

Whilst not coming from a cricketing background, Tina is comfortable with this:

"I'm good at communication and making sure everybody knows what everybody else is doing. I've come to love cricket, but in my mind, running a cricket club isn't just about the 11 people on each team who take to the field on a Saturday. We've got over 560 members, of which around 200 are playing members. The rest are social members and their families, so I think of us like a one big cricket family."

A cricket club is more than just the players on the pitch, says Tina.

Speaking on her vision for the future of the club under her tenure, Tina says:

"My vision is about getting more people involved, making sure everyone knows what they're doing and making it fun and rewarding for everyone - not with money, but through the enjoyment of feeling a part of something. In my view, success breeds success. The more people see others joining in and enjoying it, the more likely they are to come and join us."

If you have been inspired by BTCC and Tina's story and would like advice on how to increase the diversity of the committee at your club, please get in touch with our Clubs & Programmes Manager, Alex Jopling, or our Women & Girls' Development Officer, Ann-Marie Presswell.