International legend claimed women’s prize in landmark year for the game.

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2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the annual NatWest PCA Awards. To mark the occasion, the Association has been speaking to notable previous recipients of the main awards, including Charlotte Edwards, the first player to win the Women’s Player of the Summer in 2014.

The award was created in the same year that members of the England Women’s squad were handed their first professional contracts, and therefore became fully fledged PCA members as a result.

Edwards, a bona fide legend of the women’s game, enjoyed a prolific international summer in 2014, leading to her becoming the first ever woman to be recognised with a prize at the NatWest PCA Awards in the professional era.

The NatWest Women’s Player of the Summer is one of the most coveted women’s awards in the game, and is the only major accolade that is voted for by the players themselves. Since Edwards’ victory, there have been four different recipients, namely Anya Shrubsole, Tammy Beaumont, Natalie Sciver and Sophie Ecclestone.

On Wednesday 2 October, Ecclestone could become the first player to win the award on multiple occasions, as the prize is handed out at the 50th NatWest PCA Awards ceremony at London’s Roundhouse. She is nominated alongside all-rounder Katherine Brunt and batter Amy Jones.

Alongside the women’s award, the NatWest PCA Players’ Player of the Year and the PCA Young Player of the Year will also be announced.

“Winning any award like the NatWest Women’s Player of the Summer is always memorable,” Edwards recalls.

“It was really special given that it was the first time that women were recognised at the awards and, as a result, I was really honoured to receive it.

“It’s great that we can celebrate every year at the PCA awards and so on, but I think that all the other things that the PCA can do for female players are just as valuable.

“To be part of the PCA and gain the benefits of being a PCA member was huge for the women’s game.”

In May 2014, Edwards, then a Wisden Cricketer of the Year, was one of 18 female players to be awarded central England contracts by the England and Wales Cricket Board. The announcement saw all 18 players benefit from improved financial and contractual arrangements.

“The game was just growing at a rapid rate.

“A lot happened in that 12-18 months after we became professional. Commercially there were a lot more businesses and companies who wanted to get involved with the women’s game which led to a lot more appearances for us as well.

“To have the support of the PCA is, as I said before, so valuable for the players – especially now, when there is so much more money in the game.”

On the playing side of things, Edwards enjoyed a stellar summer in 2014, averaging 165 in List A cricket and accumulating 141 runs across three T20Is. There is, however, one particular highlight that sticks in her mind.

“Scoring a hundred at Scarborough was definitely the standout moment.

“We played India and South Africa and it was just one of those summers where I scored a lot of runs, which is obviously what you always hope for as a player.

“We had some close games but it was an important summer for us as a team and it was great to perform well. I have very fond memories of that time.”

Reflecting on the NatWest PCA Awards, Edward regrets that she was unable to attend due to being on a plane to Perth to compete in Australia’s Big Bash League.

“I was pretty gutted because I’d been to so many awards ceremonies and had managed to miss the one where I was actually awarded a prize.”

She does, however, have a message for this year’s nominees Brunt, Ecclestone and Jones.

“Enjoy the evening! They’re always great nights and it’s the one event of the year that all the players look forward to. I’m in no doubt that it will be the same this time around.”

Click here to find out more about the 50th NatWest PCA Awards ceremony.

2018 NatWest PCA Awards

Go behind the scenes at last year's NatWest PCA Awards ceremony...