• Saturday, May 18, 2024

CRICKET

Yorkshire, Leicestershire, and Kent disappointed over ECB snub

The ECB’s decision was met with surprise and frustration from Yorkshire. (Photo: Getty Images)

By: Vivek Mishra

Yorkshire, Leicestershire, and Kent have voiced their disappointment after not being granted Tier 1 status by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for hosting professional women’s cricket teams from 2025.

This decision, reported by the BBC, has led to a notable backlash from these counties. While Yorkshire and Glamorgan are slated to receive Tier 1 status in 2027 as part of an expansion, Leicestershire will not be included at all, and Kent has also missed out on the opportunity.

The ECB’s decision was met with surprise and frustration from Yorkshire, which is currently represented by the Northern Diamonds.

“We are surprised and disappointed,” said a statement from Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

The club described the decision as “especially frustrating and upsetting for the players and staff at the Northern Diamonds,” who are preparing for their season opener.

Yorkshire stressed its robust history in women’s cricket, saying, “Yorkshire has the largest active playing base of women and girls in the country, has produced many players that have gone on to represent England in the women’s game, winning the County Championship 16 times, and Headingley has been successfully hosting the Northern Diamonds since 2020.”

As reported by the BBC, Leicestershire also reacted strongly, describing their exclusion as “a missed opportunity by the England and Wales Cricket Board, given the vast potential Leicestershire presents,” and emphasised their commitment to developing women’s cricket locally.

Kent shared similar sentiments, with their club chair, Simon Phillip, stating the decision was “difficult to swallow.”

Despite these setbacks, the ECB has confirmed plans to introduce a three-tiered domestic competition structure and expects an 80% increase in professional women’s players in England and Wales by 2029.

The restructuring includes £8 million of new funding each year for the women’s domestic game by 2027, taking the total annual investment to about £19 million.

This investment aims to prepare Yorkshire and Glamorgan for their entry into Tier 1, with additional funding to run their own ‘Tier 1 standard’ talent pathways from 2025.

The ECB also intends to expand by adding two more teams in 2029.

[TheChamp-Sharing]

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