Lancashire Cricket has been awarded Tier One women’s team status from 2025 in the evolved women’s professional domestic structure.

Following an invitation to tender last month, Lancashire was informed on Wednesday by the England & Wales Cricket Board of the Evaluation Panels decision to grant the Club one of the eight professional teams that will make up Tier One from next year.

After a successful bid, the Club will now take ownership of a team that will compete in Tier One T20 and 50-over competitions from 2025 throughout the initial four-season term.

The Club now has the opportunity to transition its current regional women’s team, Thunder, into a professional Club under the Lancashire Cricket brand ahead of the 2025 season.

Since the inception of Thunder and the regional women’s structure in 2020, Lancashire Cricket and its partners – primarily Hilton and – have invested strongly in the Thunder programme. This investment has allowed Thunder to go on three joint pre-season tours to Dubai and India, alongside Lancashire Cricket’s men’s side, in addition to specialist training camps such as a spin bowling camp which took place in Mumbai at the start of this year, funded by

Hilton has also provided the Thunder set-up with funding for additional access to medical staff in the form of sports psychologists, physiotherapists, and a school’s officer which has changed the landscape of funding for domestic women’s cricket.

The 2024 season will see Lancashire Thunder play more home matches at a Test venue than any other region, with the side now also having their own branded changing room at Emirates Old Trafford after the previous away team changing room was converted into the permanent home of the women’s team.

Lancashire Cricket will continue to evolve its plans and strategy for the Tier One Club, with more announcements about the professional team’s future identity to be made in due course.

Chief Executive Daniel Gidney said: “We are thrilled to have been awarded a Tier One Club following the tender process and work has already begun to start building on the success of the Thunder brand in recent years.

“This will be game changing for us on so many levels as it will allow further investment into the women’s game from the Club, which has been restricted under the current regional system. Our ambition is to create the best player pathway for women and girls, to represent Lancashire Cricket and play alongside world-class talent that deliver repeated on-field success.

“Playing under the Lancashire Cricket brand will also allow us to achieve further equity between our men’s and women’s teams. Our Club vision is to be the “best Cricket Club in the world” and to achieve this, we need to be unified as one Club – men and women – together as the Red Rose.

“We are extremely proud of the work we have done to raise the profile of women’s cricket in the North West, and we are incredibly excited to continue that journey as part of the new structure.”

Off the field, the recent appointment of the Club’s President Dame Sarah Storey, the UK’s most decorated Paralympian, brings an in-depth understanding of elite sport which will be brought to the Boardroom and her expertise will be crucial to the process of establishing the new Tier One team.

The successful bid also includes the launch of a ‘Thunder Premier League’ in 2025 for eight teams, in association with the Lancashire Cricket Foundation. This will see a fantastic opportunity for aspirational Club’s across Cheshire, Lancashire, and Cumbria to bid to join the new Premier League. Lancashire Thunder scouting activity will be focused on the new Thunder Premier League encouraging the best emerging talent to play there. Each team will also be allocated a specific Lancashire Thunder and a Lancashire Thunder Academy player. This will ensure that stronger teams compete against one another, helping to develop players and broaden the playing pool.

Lancashire Thunder captain Ellie Threlkeld commented:“It is fantastic news that Lancashire has been awarded a Tier One Club and fully deserved in terms of the commitment the Club has made to women’s cricket during the last few years.

“As a squad, it will be brilliant for us to have the chance to finally play professionally with Lancashire in our name and with the Red Rose on our shirts.

“I am really excited by the plans already in place and we are looking forward to working closely with the Club over the next year as we make the transition from regional cricket to the new Tier One team in Lancashire.”

Men’s captain Keaton Jennings added: “This is a really exciting time for the game as a whole and it is brilliant to know that Lancashire will once again be leading the way as one of the first eight hosts of a Tier One professional women’s team.

“During the last few years, I have witnessed firsthand how, through some progressive commercial partnerships with Hilton and, the Club have been leaders in creating a one club ethos between its men’s and women’s teams.

“This news can only be a positive as we continue to evolve that, and I am looking forward to seeing how the plans progress and to officially welcoming our women’s team into the Red Rose family.”


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