Durham Essex large winners as top-flight girls’s groups unveiled

Durham will characterize the north, whereas Essex and Surrey will characterize London and the south-east, in spite of everything three counties have been named among the many eight groups which can compete in a brand new top-level home girls’s competitors in England and Wales from subsequent yr.

They are going to be joined by Hampshire, Lancashire, Nottinghamshire, Somerset and Warwickshire with an extra two groups – Yorkshire and Glamorgan – to hitch by 2027, and two extra by 2029 below a revamped home construction confirmed by the ECB on Thursday.

Although Yorkshire declared themselves “stunned and upset” to have missed out on Tier 1 standing, essentially the most notable county to have been completely omitted at this stage is Middlesex, who have been already embroiled in monetary points after being positioned below particular measures by the ECB final yr. Their MCC-backed bid for Tier 1 standing was rejected, that means that Lord’s won’t be a possible house venue for any of the groups. Yorkshire and Glamorgan, because the enlargement groups, will obtain further funding from 2025 to run a “Tier 1 commonplace” expertise pathway.

Richard Gould, ECB CEO, stated: “By way of this course of we have seen an enormous urge for food from First Class Counties to have a girls’s skilled crew, and an actual dedication to rising girls’s and ladies’ cricket on this nation.

“Extra skilled groups means extra girls in a position to make a profession out of being a cricketer, extra position fashions to encourage future generations, and extra of the nation having a girls’s skilled crew to comply with close by.”

In February, the ECB invited all 18 First Class Counties and MCC to enter the tender course of to turn into a girls’s Tier 1 membership. In a transfer away from the present regional construction, which started in 2020 with groups below central ECB management and largely encompassing multiple county, these new groups can be extra intently related to the present counties and their males’s groups, that means that possession, duty and governance will shift to these golf equipment.

Derbyshire and Worcestershire, together with MCC, have been the one ones who didn’t submit bids. These counties not awarded Tier 1 standing, together with the Nationwide Counties, can be invited to hitch a course of to find out the composition of Tier 2 and Tier 3, with promotion and relegation between these tiers deferred till after the 2028 season. The end result of this course of is anticipated to be confirmed by September, forward of the launch of the brand new construction in full in 2025.

Amongst those that missed out have been Leicestershire, who declared themselves “crestfallen” at being missed, declaring the ECB’s choice to be a “missed alternative” given the membership’s various potential and historical past of manufacturing pathway gamers. “We should recognise such development will transpire at a slower tempo as a consequence of the choice,” the membership wrote in an announcement.

Gould added: “I recognise at present’s announcement will even be disappointing to those that have not been profitable at this stage. However with the brand new three-tier construction we’re introducing, there may be nonetheless an enormous alternative for them to compete within the different tiers so collectively we are able to all realise the potential of ladies’s home cricket.”

A panel comprising ECB board members, executives and impartial members thought of the Tier 1 bids on 4 standards:

  • Imaginative and prescient and mission: ardour, ambition and prioritisation.
  • High quality cricket: together with participant growth, teaching provision, expertise pathway, and amenities.
  • Fan provision: together with advertising and marketing and communications plans, and match-day experiences
  • Lengthy-term worth: Monetary funding, industrial technique, governance, management and EDI plans.
  • ECB Director of Girls’s Skilled Recreation Beth Barrett-Wild stated she had been “vastly impressed by the standard and ambition of the bids”.

    “The choice to pick two further Counties – Glamorgan and Yorkshire – because the ninth and tenth Tier 1 Golf equipment by 2027, and our acknowledged goal to maneuver to 12 groups in Tier 1 by 2029, is testomony to the power of the bids and the tempo at which all of us need to transfer to impact change,” she added. “It is clear that the sport is united in desirous to take the ladies’s skilled recreation ahead, and in wanting to supply commercially vibrant groups and competitions that excite followers and showcase the standard of our skilled gamers.”

    Middlesex’s monetary points culminated a discount in central funds to the membership, and a suspended factors deduction. The membership can also be embroiled in a long-running authorized dispute with former chief government Richard Goatley, and can play two T20 Blast house video games at Essex’s Chelmsford floor to save cash on non permanent infrastructure at outgrounds. Their bid was missed in favour of Essex, whose collaboration with neighbouring cricket boards, together with Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Suffolk, and Norfolk, presents a large catchment space throughout East Anglia.

    Gloucestershire, who’re additionally experiencing monetary woes, have been one other county to overlook out on Tier 1 standing. This week the membership reported a lack of £1.19 million of their annual accounts, elevating the prospect of promoting their Nevil Street floor. Yorkshire, in the meantime, are rebuilding after the damaging Azeem Rafiq racism scandal.

    Surrey’s bid was broadly anticipated to succeed however there was no room for Kent, with whom they share the South East Stars below the present construction. Sussex additionally missed out within the south and, like others who have been missed, their finest hope now’s to hitch the highest flight when it expands to 12 groups by 2029.

    Durham chief government Tim Bostock stated: “This can be a monumental second within the historical past of Durham Cricket and girls’s sport within the area. The bidding course of was extraordinarily aggressive, however we have been assured the North East was the correct place for one of many groups and that we had delivered a bid that demonstrated our capability and enthusiasm to carry a crew right here.

    “The monetary funding can be appreciable each on and off the pitch and is ready to create over 30 new jobs and produce new industrial alternatives.”

    The ECB estimates an 80% improve within the variety of skilled feminine gamers in England and Wales between now and 2029. To allow the enlargement from eight to 10 Tier 1 groups, the ECB is committing an extra £3 million a yr from when Glamorgan and Yorkshire are operational. It can imply a complete of £8 million new funding per yr is invested into girls’s home cricket by 2027 – taking annual funding on this space to about £19 million.

    The newest revamp of the home girls’s construction follows final yr’s report by the Unbiased Fee for Fairness in Cricket, which concluded there was nonetheless a lot work to be achieved to right deep-seated discrimination inside the recreation, notably on the grounds of race, class and gender.

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