LONDON            -             Despite ongoing uncertainty surrounding the English season due to the coronavirus outbreak, a handful of counties concerned by changes to the structure of women’s cricket are planning to launch a new 50-over competition this summer. With the 50-over Women’s County Championship and the T20 Kia Super League discontinued from 2020, and eight centres of excellence established in alignment with the venues chosen to host the Hundred, several existing counties have been left feeling disenfranchised and lacking quality cricket. As a result, Surrey, Middlesex, Kent and Essex hope, subject to Covid-19 considerations, to contest the London Championship this season. They hope other counties may join them in future years, with Sussex and Hampshire understood to be following events with interest. The name of the competition could be changed if more teams get involved. “Going from having all those counties to eight regional centres of excellence smacks of Dr Beeching’s cuts to the railways in the 1960s,” a county chairman said. “This is the start of the county comeback.” While the new competition has been endorsed by the ECB, it does represent something of a breakaway. It underlines the dissatisfaction some counties have with the ECB’s approach to women’s cricket and their preparedness to act to fill the void left by the absence of the County Championship and the KSL. There are echoes here, perhaps, of the early days of limited-overs cricket in England and Wales.