DORSET will face Hampshire as part of a new South Central Counties Cup competition this summer.

Southern Vipers have created the competition, which will see six women's teams face-off against each other in a round robin 50-over event.

Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Dorset, Hampshire, Oxfordshire and Sussex will all compete in the inaugural event, which begins in May.

The primary objective of the South Central Counties Cup is to provide meaningful peer-on-peer competition for the best 72 players - as decided by county performance lead coaches - who sit one tier lower on the performance pyramid than those players who will represent the Southern Vipers in this season’s Charlotte Edwards Cup and Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy.

Adam Carty, regional director of women’s cricket for the south central region, said: “To provide a competitive platform for players who could potentially otherwise go under the radar and to give them the opportunity to demonstrate their skills on a meaningful stage is a progressive step.

“Our responsibility, as the Southern Vipers, is to positively affect multiple tiers of recreational and elite women & girls’ cricket and we are delighted to be able to get this competition up and running in 2022.”

Each county will play five 50-over matches from May 30 to August 11, and there will be a live league table with MVP recognition with the best players at the conclusion of the competition taking part in a three-day festival of cricket in mid-August.

Players will be selected for the ‘best of region’ matches by a consortium panel of senior women’s county head coaches, county performance leads, as well as Charlotte Edwards – Southern Vipers head coach, Adam Carty and senior regional talent manager Ian Cox.

Southern Vipers will provide financial support towards the running of the programme. This funding will provide match balls, umpires, scorers, ground hire and trophies.

Cox said: “The ambition of the competition is to provide players of high potential, who are otherwise not part of the elite domestic core squad for 2022, with the opportunity to take the next step on the performance ladder.

"At the conclusion of the competition, the best performing players will be rewarded by way of gaining selection to an August 'Best of South Central' Festival.

"Three days of high-profile competitive cricket will be played out by the best 16-22 players from the competition at first class venues against competitive domestic and international opposition. We are very excited by what this new competition might bring.”

Some of the matches will be live streamed.

Dorset fixtures:

Mon May 30: Oxfordshire (h)

Thu Jun 2: Buckinghamshire (a)

Wed Jul 27: Berkshire (h)

Fri Aug 5: Sussex (a)

Thu Aug 11: Hampshire (a)