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The Hundred 2.0 and the dreaded second album syndrome

The Hundred exceeded all expectations in 2021 but how did the second year fare against its own successes?

Mention 'Second album syndrome' to any musician and watch the fear spread across their face. It is a phenomenon by which an artist's first album catapults them into the limelight but is followed by a slump either critically or commercially upon the release of their second. It's not just in music that this beast may rear its head.

After the undeniable success of the inaugural Hundred, especially for the women's game, I had a look over the second year of the ground-breaking opening tournament to see if it, too, fell foul of this.

As ever with the Hundred, it's probably who you talk to. Your sceptics will say year one was detrimental and year two was a nail in cricket's coffin. BUT that's not what we're here to talk about. Regardless of where you stand on the divisive tournament, it is undeniable that the impact on the women's game has been a hugely positive one. In year one we saw double-headers - a concept born out of the pandemic - help display women's cricket on a level platform with men's. That happy accident was undeniably ground-breaking and propelled players, performances and women's cricket to the headlines.

Let's have a look over some of the biggest talking points.

The Numbers - they speak for themselves

It's impossible to ignore record-breaking numbers and this year's Hundred women's competition continued to break its own records and women's cricket records throughout.

10,400 - average attendance for women's games in 2022. In 2021 this was 7,500. That's an increase of 2,900.

20,840 - attendance for the women's final at Lord's. In 2021 this was 17,116 so it's an increase of 3,724.

271,000 - total attendance to women's games across the tournament. In 2021 it was 267,000. That's an increase of 4,000.

The Performances - memorable moments

Hat trick hero - When Alana King started 2022, she was yet to make her international debut, let alone light up the Hundred on her first appearance. But that's exactly what she did. The young leggie, decked in her iconic sunglasses, bowled herself into the history books when she took a hat-trick in her first game as the Rockets battered the Manchester Originals. First she bowled Cordelia Griffiths before trapping Sophie Ecclestone lbw and rounded it off sending Kate Cross' bails flying. Not a bad debut eh?

Wolv on the hunt - Laura Wolvaardt again shone with the bat throughout the tournament. It was her unbeaten 90 from 67 in a thrilling chase against the Manchester Originals that really stood out for the South African Northern Superchargers star. A Deandra Dottin masterclass that included six sixes had rocketed the Originals to 160 and it had seemed unimaginable that it could be chased. Enter Laura Wolvaardt and cue the fireworks.

The Players - new names and familiar faces

It's difficult to pick because there were so many stand-outs so I've just gone for here.

Sophia Smale - At just 17, the Oval Invincibles player couldn't even celebrate the title with a beer. When I caught up with her after the final, she was happily sipping a lemonade and wearing a massive grin. The young Welsh spinner was a late call-up to the back-to-back champions but definitely made her name known. She was trusted to bowl in Powerplays and managed to pick up some of the biggest names in the game including Alyssa Healy, Danni Wyatt and Sophie Devine. She finished the tournament with 8 wickets in 7 matches. Hmm.... a young Invincibles player lighting up the tournament...ring any bells anyone?!

Beth Mooney - Having not been able to fly over in 2021 due to restrictions, Mooney more than made an entrance bludgeoning 97* on her debut for london Spirit. She continued to play with aggression throughout the tournament and finished with 205 runs from six games.

Other names on my list include - AJ Wellington, Nat Sciver, Alice Capsey, Emily Arlott and Ellyse Perry

The Legacy - where to go from here

Say what you like about the Hundred, there is no denying what it has done for the women's game and will continue to do as it goes into year three.

Second album syndrome? I say no.

Let's leave it in the words of Alice Capsey who told Sky Sports:

"I think from last year it exceeded all our expectations. Going to this year it's almost had to one-up it and I think it's absolutely done that.
"We've seen some amazing games of cricket, we've seen some new records. We've seen new records for crowd attendance.
"I think the general standard of the game has gone up and it's been incredible to play in, to be a part of that and to see it."

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