Georgia Adams, Tara Norris and Paige Scholfield are today announced as the three recipients of ECB Regional Retainers for the South Central region’s Southern Vipers squad.
The three Sussex players are among 25 elite women’s players across England and Wales who have received Retainers. The scheme has been put in place by the ECB to support the women’s game through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adams, daughter of former Sussex captain Chris, has played over 100 games for Sussex since her debut in 2009. The stylish batter was signed for Oval Invincibles in The Hundred and starred for Loughborough Lightning in the Kia Super League.
All-rounder Scholfield, 24, was also signed for The Hundred, to represent Southern Brave having featured for our very own Southern Vipers in the KSL.
22-year-old left-arm seamer Tara Norris also represented Loughborough Lightning in the KSL, while studying sport science at the university, and has featured for the England Women’s Academy squad since 2019.
The 25 players on retainers, spread across eight regional hubs, represent the first tranche of professional women’s domestic cricketers, with the ECB planning to increase the number of full-time contracts to a total of 40 later this year.
Those on retainers will adhere to strength and conditioning programmes and undertake certain online modules including anti-corruption and anti-doping education. They will also give some of their time for “good of the game” activities and appearances.
Southern Vipers Director of Women’s Cricket, Adam Carty, said: “I am delighted to be able to recognise and reward these three highly-talented young women with a retainer agreement. This marks a significant move toward fulfilling our objective of professionalising elite domestic women’s cricket and we very much look forward to working with these highly talented young women along with other great female talent from the region in due course.
“Our Vipers organisation, by way of ECB support, is fully committed to creating an appropriate environment, to give the likes of Georgia, Tara & Paige every chance to the best they can be and go as far as they can in the sport. They are all great girls with a wonderful work ethic. I am sure we are about to embark on an exciting cricketing journey”
ECB Managing Director of Women's Cricket, Clare Connor, said: “In doing so, we are taking another step towards contracting our first cohort of full-time, professional players in the women’s domestic game.
"We know that in order for the women's game to continue to grow, we need a strong and thriving domestic set-up to enable more women to be able to make a living from the game.
"Girls need to see visible role models and to know that a talent and performance system exists for them to fulfil their potential. I'm excited to see how these players progress with greater support over the next couple of years – it’s another significant step forward for our sport.”
While domestic cricket activity is still suspended due to the pandemic, planning is underway to hopefully start the first year of the new Women’s Elite Domestic Structure this summer.
The new structure will see the eight new regions playing against each other, giving female players the best opportunity to reach their full potential.