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Yorkshire and Kent ‘deeply disappointed’ after missing out on Tier One status

Northern Diamonds winning the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy in 2022
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Yorkshire and Kent have missed out on hosting Tier One women’s domestic teams in 2025 following the ECB’s announcement of which counties will be home to the top level of women’s professional cricket from next season.

The announcement is the next step of the ECB’s plan to restructure the women’s domestic game over the next five years. Earlier this month, 16 of the 18 first-class counties submitted bids to host one of the eight Tier One sides from next year onwards. Tier One sides will be fully professional, and compete in the Charlotte Edwards Cup and Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy. The ECB today (April 18) announced the successful bidders, with Hampshire, Essex, Surrey, Warwickshire, Lancashire, Nottinghamshire, Somerset and Durham awarded sides.

The most shocking omission from the winners of the bidding process is that of Yorkshire. Headingley already acts as hosts to the Northern Diamonds, who won the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy in 2022 after coming second in both the 20 and 50 over competitions in 2021. Durham will instead host the most northern side, with club chief executive Tim Bostock labelling the decision, “a monumental day in the history of Durham cricket”.

A statement from Yorkshire CCC on the decision read: “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.

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“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.”

While Yorkshire has not been selected in the initial creation of eight Tier One sides, they are set to become a Tier One side in 2027 when they ECB plan to expand to ten fully professional teams. Glamorgan is also set to become a Tier One side when this happens.

However, Kent will have to wait until at least 2029, when the number of Tier One sides is again expanded, this time to 12, to gain Tier One status. Kent currently hosts the South East Stars, who are based at the County Ground in Beckenham, but also have a highly successful women’s county setup. They won the final edition of the Women’s County Championship before it was scrapped in 2019, and registered the most number of wins in that competition over the course of its existence. They have also produced several England players including Tammy Beaumont, Alice Davidson-Richards and Lydia Greenway.

Kent chair, Simon Phillips said of the decision: “As the most successful county team in the history of Women’s Cricket, offering the only dedicated Women’s performance centre at Beckenham and based in a highly diverse South East London population of 1.2 million people, the decision is difficult to swallow.

“With nine of the 80 players selected in The Hundred in 2024 emerging from the Kent Pathway, it is hard to accept that – at least for the next four years – they will have to ply their trade elsewhere to further their professional careers. Whilst this decision will take some getting over, we remain committed to Women’s and Girls’ cricket and are determined to not let it hamper our long-term ambitions for Kent Cricket, Beckenham and our Women’s and Girls’ game. However, this is a deeply disappointing day for the Club and our players who wanted an opportunity to wear the White Horse at the highest level.”

The counties who have not received Tier One sides will host either a Tier Two or Three team. These sides will be a mix of semi-professional and amateur teams but there is little clarity as yet on the details of what those teams will look like and what competitions they will compete in.

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