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Women's World Cup can make Essex major hub - Feist

The new general manager of Essex Dan Feist believes being chosen to host Women's World Cup games in 2026 will be key to further establishing the county as a major cricket hub.

England and Wales were chosen to host the expanded 12-team tournament two years ago, but the grounds which will stage matches have yet to be confirmed.

Feist stepped up into the general manager role as part of a restructure that will see chief executive John Stephenson leave Chelmsford at the end of the season.

"Our purpose is that we want to be the number one cricket region and there's plenty of potential measurements you can take at the moment that show that we're in a good position for that," Feist told BBC Essex Sport.

"Obviously the number one thing we're in conversation with the city and county councils for is making sure this is a hub for the future and how do we make sure that Chelmsford has another hundred years of playing cricket on it?

"A big part will be, in the next few months, our application to try to host Women's World Cup games here in 2026.

"Like any major event that comes over to this country now, it's not just about the venue, it's about the engagement, the opportunity, the aspiration and the economic viability and everything around that in terms of the region and the reach."

Essex have been one of the most successful clubs in the 21st century. They became county champions in 2017 and 2019 - also completing a double five years ago by also winning the T20 Blast - and have won four other trophies.

The county have been chosen as one of eight to host a fully professional women's team as part of a major restructure of the domestic game next year - another indicator of the health of the club.

"With the growth in terms of population, the diversity of the region in a number of different areas, it is a vital hub for the country in terms of the ECB's [England and Wales Cricket Board] ambition to be the most inclusive sport and we've got plenty of examples of how we can impact that," he said.

"As the game grows and the aspirations around that, we need to be making sure we're making the most of those unique selling points to us - which is a large part of the UK population is living in this area and there's a huge passion for the game."