Home » Yorkshire, Leicestershire and Kent criticise ECB after missing out on Tier 1 status

Yorkshire, Leicestershire and Kent criticise ECB after missing out on Tier 1 status

Yorkshire said they are “surprised and disappointed” not to be among eight counties that will host professional women’s cricket teams from 2025.

Durham, Essex, Hampshire, Lancashire, Somerset, Nottinghamshire, Warwickshire and Surrey were awarded Tier 1 status by the England and Wales Cricket Board.

Yorkshire and Glamorgan will join them in 2027 as part of an expansion.

Leicestershire, meanwhile, say they are “crestfallen” to have missed out altogether.

Despite their women’s performance centre based in Beckenham, Kent also missed out, with the club’s chair Simon Phillip describing the decision as “difficult to swallow”.

Yorkshire, currently represented by the Northern Diamonds, expected to be included.

In a statement, the board of Yorkshire County Cricket Club added: “The news is especially frustrating and upsetting for the players and staff at the Northern Diamonds.

“They have been trying to deal with it whilst preparing for their first game of the season in two days. Our focus is on supporting them through this difficult period and gaining as much clarity on what the future looks like.

“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, so naturally the news has been tough to take.

“Yorkshire has a rich ethnicity mix and as part of our ongoing work to be the most welcoming and inclusive cricket club in the country, we use women’s and girl’s cricket as the cornerstone to creating real, tangible value in those communities that need it the most.

“We believe we hit all of the criteria set out as part of the tender, so we will be taking time to investigate and understand the detail behind the decision, assessing the best next steps for the club and most importantly ensuring we support the players and staff that are impacted.”

The eight selected counties will replace the regions that have competed in the Charlotte Edwards Cup and Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy in recent years.

There will also be the creation of a three-tiered domestic competition structure, which the ECB says could lead to an 80% increase in professional women’s players in England and Wales by 2029.

There will be £8m of new funding every year for the women’s domestic game by 2027, taking annual investment to about £19m.

Glamorgan and Yorkshire will receive additional funding from 2025 to run their own ‘Tier 1 standard’ talent pathways in preparation for joining the top tier in 2027.

The ECB also intends to add a further two teams in 2029.

While Northern Diamonds have been a mainstay of the women’s game, Leicestershire have not been represented by a major side since Lightning became The Blaze and relocated to Nottinghamshire before last season.

Leicestershire County Cricket Club nevertheless hoped to be part of the initial Tier 1 and in a statement described their omission as “a missed opportunity by the England and Wales Cricket Board, given the vast potential Leicestershire presents”.

The statement added: “Whilst we emphatically disagree with the decision, the club remains fully committed to developing women and girls’ cricket in Leicestershire.”