Yorkshire ‘surprised and disappointed’ at missing out in women’s cricket revamp

By Sports Desk April 18, 2024

Yorkshire have been left “surprised and disappointed” after being overlooked by the England and Wales Cricket Board in the initial ‘tier one’ revamp of the women’s game.

The governing body has awarded new professional teams to eight first-class counties, replacing the regional structure from next summer, but Yorkshire were edged out in what was effectively a head-to-head with Durham.

Both Yorkshire and Glamorgan have been invited to join an expanded top flight in 2027, with funding to help prepare their coaching pathways, but the news has been met with an unhappy response from Headingley on the eve of the new women’s domestic campaign.

The Northern Diamonds won the Rachael Heyhoe-Flint Trophy in 2022 and finished as runners-up in the previous two seasons.

A statement from the club’s board read: “Yorkshire County Cricket Club are surprised and disappointed not to be awarded one of the initial Tier 1 women’s teams as part of the first allocations from the ECB.

“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.”

The White Rose has endured a turbulent time in recent years, embattled by the Azeem Rafiq racism crisis and fighting major financial troubles leading to the controversial return of Colin Graves as chair.

But there has been a renewed commitment to equality of opportunity at the club against that troubled backdrop, work which the board were keen to highlight.

“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,” it said.

“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.”

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