London, Dec 4 (IANS) Forty-one female cricketers have signed full-time domestic contracts with England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB’s) eight regional hubs.
In June this year, 25 players were signed as regional retainers.
Alongside the 17 centrally-contracted England players, there are now 58 professional women’s cricketers in the United Kingdom.
Commenting on the development, Clare Connor, ECB Managing Director of Women’s Cricket, in a statement said: “We’re delighted that these 41 young women are able to call themselves full-time professional cricketers and we wish them every success.”
“In terms of the health of women’s cricket in England and Wales, we cannot overestimate the importance of these 41 players having the opportunity to train and work on their skills full-time, with access to high quality coaching and facilities across the eight regions,” she added.
Connor further said that the news is not only wonderful for the players themselves but it also represents a “step change for our whole domestic game and for young girls who will now be able to see more opportunity and aspiration in front of them”.
“When you add in the profile opportunity of The Hundred next year, the landscape looks even more exciting. After a challenging year in the wake of the pandemic, I’m really pleased with the progress we’ve made in 2020, just one year after launching our action plan to transform women’s and girls’ cricket,” she said.
New full-time contracts:
Northern Diamonds: Hollie Armitage, Beth Langston, Linsey Smith, Phoebe Graham, Jenny Gunn
Thunder: Georgie Boyce, Alex Hartley, Emma Lamb, Ellie Threlkeld, Hannah Jones
Central Sparks: Evelyn Jones, Marie Kelly, Issy Wong, Emily Arlott, Gwenan Davies
Lightning: Kathryn Bryce, Sarah Bryce, Bethan Ellis, Lucy Higham, Abbey Freeborn
Southern Vipers: Georgia Adams, Tara Norris, Paige Scholfield, Lauren Bell, Maia Bouchier
South East Stars: Alice Davidson-Richards, Sophia Dunkley, Tash Farrant, Bryony Smith, Aylish Cranstone
Sunrisers: Naomi Dattani, Cordelia Griffith, Amara Carr, Jo Gardner, Kelly Castle
Western Storm: Dani Gibson, Sophie Luff, Fi Morris, Georgia Hennessy, Nat Wraith, Alex Griffiths (Sixth contract funded by Western Storm and Glamorgan CCC)