Thunder secure additional professional contracts following Hilton partnership extension

Four players have earned full-time contracts, taking the number of players in the squad with professional domestic deals to 15


Four Thunder players have secured full-time professional contracts following an extension of the commercial partnership between Lancashire Cricket and Hilton.

Hilton, who have been involved with the club since 2016, have added another year to their deal as well as committing to investing in Thunder for the next three years.

That investment includes providing funding for additional professional contracts, the first four of which have been allocated to Olivia Bell, Danni Collins, and Scotland duo Ailsa Lister and Hannah Rainey.

They join Ellie Threlkeld, Naomi Dattani, Mahika Gaur (who also has an ECB development contract), Phoebe Graham, Liberty Heap, Laura Jackson, Hannah Jones, Fi Morris, Daisy Mullan, Tara Norris and Seren Smale on the full-time staff at Emirates Old Trafford, taking the number of players in the squad with professional domestic contracts to 15.


Olivia Bell (centre) was awarded one of the four contracts [Tony Marshall/Getty Images]


Hilton have been involved with Lancashire since 2016, most recently expanding their hotel at the ground [Michael Regan/Getty Images]

Kate Cross, Sophie Ecclestone, and Emma Lamb hold ECB central contracts while Sophie Morris, Alice Clarke and Shachi Pai have pay as you play deals.

The Cricketer understands a 16th contract, also funded by Hilton, will be awarded later this year.

Other elements of the partnership include the continuation of the No Boundaries campaign, which focuses on breaking down barriers in cricket and supporting both the senior team and pathway squads.

Lancashire's chief executive, Daniel Gidney, said: "We are delighted to have extended our flagship partnership with Hilton and are incredibly excited by the increased funding they are providing to support our ever-growing Lancashire Thunder programme - as we look to continue to lead the way in the women's domestic game and grow women's cricket across the north-west.

"The benefit that this will have to the players themselves, and to new head coach Chris Read, can't be understated; as four more members of the squad are able to train and dedicate their time to cricket knowing they are secure financially."

Related - Chris Guest: "I remember the day that England Women went professional and that wasn't a lifetime ago"

Regional director of women's cricket, David Thorley, added: "We are extremely grateful to Hilton for continuing to support the Thunder programme which has allowed us to grow our professional squad to 15 players – the most of any region and something that we are very proud about at Emirates Old Trafford.

"Liv is one of the first products of the Thunder academy to make her way into the first team and have a real impact. Following her performances last season, she is fully deserving of this opportunity, and we are really looking forward to watching her continued development as a professional cricketer.

"Danni has worked incredibly hard during the last couple of years and really earned this deal. She's been part of Lancashire Women and Thunder for a long time, and I hope that now she has the freedom to dedicate more time to her cricket that we will see even further growth in her game.

"Ailsa and Hannah are two really exciting additions to our squad, who both already have lots of experience on the international stage with Scotland. They have been really impressive during the winter, fitted into our squad seamlessly and we are looking forward to seeing what they bring on the pitch."

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Units 7-8, 35-37 High St, Barrow upon Soar, Loughborough, LE128PY

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