At 23 Capital our passion is to unearth brilliance and unleash greatness.
Gender equality is an issue that’s close to our hearts at 23 Capital and, as sponsor of the recent inaugural Day of Gender Equality T20 cricket match, we are proud to be making a contribution while also supporting excellence in women’s cricket. There's still a long way to go, but the success of the event highlights the immense potential of women’s sport.
The game – between the UK-based Sir Paul Getty Women’s XI and the international FairBreak Women's XI – took place at Wormsley cricket ground, hidden away on the late Sir Paul Getty’s beautiful estate in the Chiltern Hills and often described as the UK’s most scenic oval.
FairBreak Global – an organisation that helps to create opportunities for women in sport, business, media and the arts and is promoting gender equality – has been involved with cricket for many years.
There is a real buzz about women’s cricket at the moment – a remarkable 180 million people around the world watched the International Cricket Council’s Women's World Cup, won by England, last year – and it’s very satisfying to be able to nurture that passion. We believe that men and women should compete on a level playing field in terms of reward, which is why we think sponsoring women's cricket and supporting gender equality are a perfect match for us.
It was a remarkable feat to gather so much talent in one place. The players – including six national captains – came from 11 countries, ranging from cricketing powerhouses such as Australia and New Zealand to up-and-coming nations like Vanuatu, Hong Kong and Oman.
The Sir Paul Getty Women’s XI were odds-on favourites to beat the FairBreak Women's XI, but as the captains – England legend Charlotte Edwards OBE and Kiwi star Suzie Bates – went out for the toss, it was clear women’s cricket was going to be the real winner.
The huge potential of women’s cricket
We believe women's cricket is a breakthrough sport and anyone who doubts its quality should have watched West Indian Shamilia Connell bowling at 130kph or warmed to the confidence of Selina Solan, captain of Vanuatu, who was running in to bowl to the world’s finest while the game was being streamed live to her fans back home.
In general, 23 Capital is involved at the elite level of sport where revenue streams are robust, but we also believe it's important to support the grassroots and build for the future. The up-and-coming women players of today will become the champions of tomorrow.
Why shouldn't women's cricket be on a par with the men's game? At Wimbledon, for example, the prize money is equal and many fans actually prefer the finesse of the women’s tournament.
I have two young daughters who play cricket and I try to teach them that brilliance is brilliance no matter what your gender. I come from a matriarchal family in Australia where four generations of women ran the farm with no men around. Supporting the push for gender equality ties in strongly with my childhood as well as 23 Capital’s vision of helping people unleash their greatness.
Team spirit and skill
The Sir Paul Getty Women’s XI scored 155 runs in their 20 overs, with Middlesex’s Naomi Dattani hitting a rapid 41 from 19 balls, a stylish mix of wristy flicks and powerful drives. Despite the Aussie Alex Blackwell bringing up her 50 with the last ball of the match, the FairBreak Women’s XI reply of 131 fell 24 runs short.
Everyone was captivated by the intensity and quality of the game. It was great to see Mike Gatting, the former England men’s captain, watching with the Aussie fast bowler Geoff Lawson. The two were once arch-rivals on the pitch and fought for the Ashes, but today they were on the same side; they agreed that the skill levels of the women's game are exceptional and rising fast.
The team spirit and positivity were a highlight, too. The international team were enjoying themselves so much they looked like old friends rather than an invitation side that had just met for the first time. It was a privilege to walk on to the field and meet the players, who often play for nothing, just because they are so skilful.
The fact that our sponsorship helped to pay for the day and promote the excellent FairBreak mission makes us exceptionally proud.