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Kent bid for professional women’s side
Kent bid for professional women’s side

Kent Cricket have confirmed that it intends to submit a bid to the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to become one of eight counties with a professional women’s team from the 2025 season onwards, building on the historical successes of Kent’s Women’s team and Female Talent Pathway.

Kent Women are the most successful women’s county side in England & Wales, with ten league championships and five T20 titles to their name; part of a rich history of female cricket in Kent that dates back at least 100 years.

Kent Women won the last Women’s County Championship in 2019, and the trophy is proudly displayed in the Chiesman Pavilion at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence. This 50-Over title was Kent Women’s ninth, beginning with a Women’s Area Championship win in 1986 and seven other County Championship wins between 2006 and 2016. In 2021, Kent Women won their tenth league title by winning the Women’s London Championship – a tournament created in partnership with four other counties.

Kent’s Women’s team has won the league and T20 cup ‘double’ twice, in 2013 and 2016, with five victorious ECB T20 tournaments between 2011 and 2023.

‘The Horses’, the team’s self-appointed nickname from a period of unprecedented success since the turn of the Millennium, already have an existing performance cricket Talent Pathway that stretches from Under 11s to first-team level. 

England Women has long benefitted from Kent’s Female Talent Pathway, with the likes of Tammy Beaumont, Lydia Greenway, Tash Farrant & Alice Davidson-Richards amongst other homegrown Kent talent to have represented their country over the past ten years.

Kent’s Female Talent Pathway sits alongside its Men’s Talent Pathway, under the guidance of Director of Cricket, Simon Cook. The Club launched the Kent Women’s Premier League in 2023, sitting above the existing Kent Women’s Development League as a cross-county hard ball tournament to provide extra competition for talented female cricketers at club level.

Recent growth in women’s cricket teams in Kent has meant the county is now able to sustain two women’s hard ball divisions and distinguish between two levels of ability. Sitting alongside, Kent also has the ever-growing Kent Women’s Softball Cricket League for a more accessible yet competitive form of the game.

If the Club’s ‘Tier 1’ bid is successful, these already established structures will feed into a professional women’s county side, that will add to Kent Women’s storied history in the game, with a Performance Centre and first-class training facilities based at The County Ground, Beckenham – the current home of regional side South East Stars.

Megan Belt, Kent Women’s Captain, said: “The opportunity to be a professional cricketer in Kent would be a completely different prospect to how my personal journey has been so far as a player.

“Being able to train and practice as much as a Men’s county side, using the facilities they use and having access to the same level of support staff, would be an absolute gamechanger for us.

“I’m hoping that our bid is successful, and that Kent Women can once again compete against the best domestic sides in the country for silverware.”

Kent’s Director of Cricket, Simon Cook, said: “All of us at Kent Cricket are determined to provide a professional cricketing future for aspiring young female cricketers from our county.

“We’ve seen local talent win the biggest prizes on the biggest stages in regional, franchise and international cricket over many years now, and there’s an excitement around Kent that we can produce more elite cricketers for many years to come.

“A professional Kent Women side would continue to produce England players through our extensive talent identification and training programmes and facilities.”

The Club will submit its Tier 1 bid to ECB this month and hope to have notification later this year.

Picture supplied by Ian Scammell / Kent Cricket.