Earlier in June, ECB announced regional retainers for 25 players as full-time contracts that were to be introduced were pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 16 more players have been added to that list of the contracted professionals and all of them will receive full time contracts.
Each of the eight teams with in the new Elite Domestic Structure have been allocated five players each with Western Storm - the South West and Wales-based hub - awarding an additional sixth contract funded by the region and Glamorgan CCC.
Clare Connor, ECB Managing Director of Women’s Cricket, termed the move as one of the most significant steps for women’s cricket in the country. England currently has 17 centrally contracted players in their roster.
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“We’re delighted that these 41 young women are able to call themselves full-time professional cricketers and we wish them every success,” said Connor.
“The introduction of these 41 professional players, in addition to our 17 centrally contracted England women’s players is the most significant step forward for the women’s game in recent years.”
“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.”
Connor talked about how the professional contracts along with the inaugural edition of The Hundred, scheduled to be played in 2021, will provide the players more opportunities, inspire future players and will help to transform women’s and girls’ cricket in the country.
“Today’s news is not only wonderful for the players themselves; it 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,” Connor added.
“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.”
Southern Vipers: Georgia Adams, Tara Norris, Paige Scholfield, Lauren Bell, Maia Bouchier
Northern Diamonds: Holly Armitage, Beth Langston, Linsey Smith, Phoebe Graham, Jenny Gunn
Western Storm: Danielle Gibson, Sophie Luff, Fi Morris, Georgia Hennessy, Natasha Wraith, Alex Griffiths
South East Stars: Alice Davidson-Richards, Sophia Dunkley, Tash Farrant, Bryony Smith, Aylish Cranstone
Sunrisers: Naomi Dattani, Cordelia Griffith, Amara Carr, Joanne Gardner, Kelly Castle
Central Sparks: Evelyn Jones, Marie Kelly, Issy Wong, Emily Arlott, Gwenan Davies
Thunder: Georgie Boyce, Alex Hartley, Emma Lamb, Ellie Threlkeld, Hannah Jones
Lightning: Kathryn Bryce, Sarah Bryce, Bethan Ellis, Lucy Higham, Abbey Freeborn