Northern Diamonds announce increase in contracted players for 2022 | Cricket News

Diamonds raise number of players on full-time deals from six to eight after reaching two finals in the regional competitions in 2021; ECB funding covers six professionals, with Yorkshire CCC paying for two; Phoebe Graham and Ami Campbell leave for Thunder and Central Sparks respectively

Last Updated: 29/10/21 11:03am

Hollie Armitage is one of four professional players retained by Northern Diamonds

Hollie Armitage is one of four professional players retained by Northern Diamonds

Northern Diamonds have awarded an increased number of full-time contracts for the 2022 season in their pursuit of silverware.

Diamonds have finished as runners-up to Southern Vipers in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy in the last two summers, and also lost out to South East Stars in this year’s final of the Charlotte Edwards Cup.

Four members of that squad have been retained on full-time terms – Hollie Armitage, Jenny Gunn, Beth Langston and Linsey Smith – while Bess Heath, Sterre Kalis, Katie Levick and Rachel Slater win their first full-time deals.

The ECB have increased their funding to cover six professionals, with Yorkshire County Cricket Club have invested in a further two.

Bowler Phoebe Graham and batter Ami Campbell have opted to sign for Thunder and Central Sparks respectively.

Seamer Phoebe Graham has left Diamonds to join Thunder (Picture by

Seamer Phoebe Graham has left Diamonds to join Thunder (Picture by

Northern Diamonds director of cricket, James Carr, said: “It’s really good of the ECB to continue to support us and gradually uplift the contracts year on year. The additional support from Yorkshire County Cricket Club as the regional host has taken us from six to eight full-time contracts, which will allow us to continue to have that competitive edge and show that professional cricket for women is a viable career.

“We’ve had two hugely successful years but have fallen slightly short at the final hurdle and I think the additional contracts will allow us to put a bit more attention to detail that can take us one step further.

“The whole squad have almost been full-time because of Covid, so even the pay-as-you-play players have been able to access more of training. I think the upward trajectory of the women’s game has maybe been steeper than maybe anticipated because of this. Being able to offer a lady a salary so that they can commit their working-week to the game pays massive dividends alongside the holistic support.”

This year Diamonds have played at some of the finest venues in the country in both the regional competitions and for many of the players during The Hundred, as well as entertaining increasing volumes of supporters.

“It’s really special for them,” commented Carr. “All we’ve seen for the last 18 months is huge growth in these players, both as cricketers and people. The opportunity for them to play at Emerald Headingley, Lord’s and all the other First-Class ground is really special.

“I think it gives a statement to the players that they are valued and shows them their worth as cricketers. Ultimately whatever level of sport you play, if it’s not a memorable experience, people will stop playing. I think that is just as important at the top level as it is at grassroots.”

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