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How England are closing the gap with Australia

When Heather Knight's England take to the field in the Ashes, starting in Adelaide on Thursday (January 20), their performance will not be the only thing under the microscope. The series will also help to gauge whether the increasing professionalisation of domestic women's cricket in England has helped bridge the gap with Australia, who started down the same route some years before.

Blame for the failings of England's men in their recently concluded Ashes series has been laid squarely at the door of county cricket by some, along with the focus on white-ball cricket - including the new Hundred tournament. By contrast, observers will watch England Women's progress Down Under for further evidence that domestic changes are building strength in depth and creating competition for places.

Teeing up for Open success

The eyes of the golf world fall on Kent next month as the leading men’s players compete for the prestigious Claret Jug in The 149th Open, the sport’s crown jewel event at Royal St George’s in Sandwich.

The world’s oldest golf tournament returns to the club for the first time since 2011, when an emotional Darren Clarke fulfilled his boyhood dream of becoming Champion Golfer. It will be the 15th time the event will have taken place on the historic links course in Kent.

Taunton has come a long way since 2004

Somerset are marking the culmination of a 13-year journey to bring regular international cricket to Taunton as they get ready to host England’s sold-out T20 international against South Africa next month.

In that period, the club has redeveloped the County Ground to international standards and added extra capacity without incurring huge amounts of debt, while increasing its financial independence. It’s a real success story in times when county cricket’s financial problems have been seldom out of the headlines.