SOMERSET have been awarded professional Tier 1 status for their Women's team starting from 2025.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed the eight First Class Counties who have been successful in their bid to be awarded Tier 1 women’s team status from 2025.

The eight selected Counties to compete in Tier 1 of the evolved women’s professional domestic structure from 2025 are: Durham, Essex, Hampshire, Lancashire, Nottinghamshire, Somerset, Surrey, Warwickshire.

Following the successful tender process, Somerset CCC Chief Executive, Gordon Hollins said: “We are delighted to have been given the opportunity by the ECB to play a leading role in the growth of women’s cricket. 

"I am extremely proud of all the staff at Somerset CCC, past and present, who have done so much to promote and develop women’s cricket over several years. I would also like to thank the Executive Team who worked so hard to compile our submission earlier this year.

“The growth of the women’s game is an integral pillar within our Club’s strategic plan, as Somerset seeks to inspire the South West through cricket."

He added: “We will now take time to study the terms of the award before creating a robust implementation plan which will allow the Club to deliver its ambitions in women’s cricket, while maintaining our position at the top table of men’s cricket.

“It is important amidst the excitement, to allow players and coaches, men and women, the opportunity to focus on the season which is now under way.”

The ECB has also set the ambition to expand Tier 1 to 12 teams by 2029, given the rapid growth of the women’s game and the level of passion and desire for the growth of women’s professional cricket demonstrated across the FCC network during this tender process.

No decision has been made yet as to where these further two teams would be based.

The plans – which could see an 80% increase in the number of professional female players in England and Wales by 2029 compared to today – will further accelerate the growth of women’s cricket as a three-tiered domestic competition structure is introduced, and the ownership model underpinning the women’s professional game evolves.

To enable the expansion from eight to ten Tier 1 teams, the ECB is committing a further £3m a year from such a time Glamorgan and Yorkshire are operational. It will mean a total of £8m new funding per year is invested into women’s domestic cricket by 2027 – taking annual investment in this area to c.£19m.