04 Jul

Apart from extending the part-time professional contracts of five of their players, Cricket Ireland have announced that 11 female cricketers will now get non-retainer contracts.

The new contracts include benefits such as year-round medical and healthcare insurance; strength and conditioning support; psychology, nutrition, performance analysis, lifestyle management and specialist coaching support; match fees for all international matches; and take into account loss of earnings for all competition periods.

These contracts were offered to Eimear Richardson, Lara Maritz, Louise Little, Rebecca Stokell, Una Raymond-Hoey, Hannah Little, Leah Paul, Orla Prendergast, Sophie MacMahon, Cara Murray and Louise McCarthy.

The part-time professional contracts of Laura Delany, Shauna Kavanagh, Mary Waldron, Gaby Lewis, and Celeste Raack, first introduced in 2019, were extended for 2020. Kim Garth, who was among those contracted last year, declined the offer this year to sign with Cricket Victoria, the board said.

"The newly introduced non-retainer contracts are a further step on the road to a professionalised women’s game," a release from Cricket Ireland said.

Richard Holdsworth, high performance director for Cricket Ireland, added: "We are pleased that we can further invest in the senior women’s squad through these new benefits contracts. Given the nature and profile of our players, we needed to provide a greater level of support and service to the fitness, health, conditioning and, most important, access to services that they need year-round. The medical and healthcare coverage alone will provide some peace-of-mind to the squad, and we hope to continue to build on these in subsequent years."

Ed Joyce, the coach and former England and Ireland international, is looking forward to the team being able to train again. "For me, it has been an unusual first year in women’s cricket," he said. "We’ve not had any games for the best part of nine months for various reasons, but the challenge ahead is motivation enough for me.

"We have a great young crop of players ambitious to make their mark on international cricket, and with a world cup qualifier approaching, we have the tantalising prospect of potentially qualifying for a World Cup and the ICC Women’s Championship in 2021."

John Stephenson


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