Winter Moves And Overseas Signings


The 2023 Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy gets underway this weekend, with the Charlotte Edwards Cup to follow next month – Katya Witney previews the start of the women’s domestic summer.

Following a busy winter of franchise and international action, this summer of regional cricket promises to be the most competitive yet. There has been a major reshuffle in the pack of women’s domestic cricketers over the last few months, with fresh-looking squads at almost every region. Several big overseas names will also feature throughout the summer, alongside a new generation of cricketers coming of age in a very different landscape to their predecessors.

While the winter saw the glitz and glamour of new franchise leagues, the WPL and near-constant international action, regional cricket is the bedrock of the expansion the women’s game has undergone in England over the last five years. Its two competitions foster young talent and simultaneously provide a domestic home for the more established names in the game to play high quality cricket.


The most significant indicator in the progress of professional development in England are the players now shopping around hubs to either find a place in a starting XI or work in differently challenging environments. High-profile names on the domestic scene, including Katie George, Naomi Dattani and Tara Norris, have all made moves this winter – both Dattani and Norris will feature in an excitingly revamped Thunder side.

Thunder have benefitted from several of the most eye-catching moves. Fi Morris has made the North from Western Storm, Steph Butler and Scotland’s Hannah Rainey are fellow new signings, and Deandra Dottin will also be back at Old Trafford.

These moves have gone someway even out the depth of talent and experience that has separated successful squads from the rest thus far in the system. While Southern Vipers and South East Stars have previously held the most notable depth of talent, significant gains by other regions over the winter means their advantage has been cut. Northern Diamonds can also count themselves on this list, having lost Jenny Gunn and Katherine Sciver-Brunt to retirement over the winter, as well as Nat Sciver-Brunt and Linsey Smith to Blaze. It should be pointed out though, that the Sciver-Brunts have rarely featured for the Diamonds over the last few years due to England commitments.

With a busy Ashes summer as well as two white-ball series against Sri Lanka, how squads deal with the absence of their England players will also be more important than ever. The success of the Southern Vipers over the last two years sees them one of the most affected in this regard. Charlie Dean, Lauren Bell, Danni Wyatt, Maia Bouchier and Freya Kemp will likely all miss parts of the season.

As international action kicks into gear, there will be a significant opportunity for the younger generation of players who lit up the U19 World Cup in South Africa. The story of the warm-ups for the Rachael Heyhoe-Flint trophy was Grace Scrivens’ consecutive centuries in the same week. With international players set to miss the end of the group stages of the RHF, reliance on a strong core of consistent players will be key in separating sides.

The continuation of experience and star quality effect once the England players are gone will also fall on the overseas names already secured for the summer. The most eye-catching signing here was Dane van Niekerk’s deal with Sunrisers. Chloe Tryon will also be at Northern Diamonds and, as previously mentioned, Deandra Dottin returns to Thunder.

Against the backdrop of another year which sees more women with professional contracts in England than ever before, the winter’s talking points set the stage for a significant summer of regional action.


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