WEST Midlands Women’s Cricket Limited (WMWC) has named Eve Jones, Marie Kelly and Issy Wong as the first three professionals who for the summer will be on retainer contracts and hopefully play in the England & Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) new eight-team regional tournament.
The trio were also named in the Birmingham Phoenix Women’s Hundred team recently.
Left-hand top order bat and left-arm bowler Jones, 27, was part of the Kia Super League (KSL) since its inauguration in 2016 and recently made the move to Warwickshire from Lancashire having captained the Red Rose side.
Jones has experienced winters overseas in Australia and New Zealand and was previously a member of the England Academy squad.
Like Jones, opening bat Kelly, 24, has experience in the KSL representing Southern Vipers in the final year of the competition.
Kelly is a product of the Warwickshire pathway and captained the Bears to the Vitality Women’s County T20 in 2019 when she was the tournament’s leading run-scorer with 219 runs at an average of 36.33.
Eighteen-year-old Wong is widely recognised as one of the most exciting fast bowlers in the women’s game and is currently part of the 24-strong England Women’s squad preparing for a possible tri-series with South Africa and India in September.
Wong broke into the Warwickshire senior team in 2019 after representing Worcestershire on loan in 2018 and subsequently earned a call-up to Southern Vipers in its final season. Wong also is currently an England Women’s Academy player.
Laura MacLeod, Director of Women’s Cricket at WMWC, said: “We’re thrilled to secure Eve, Marie and Issy as our first three players in the West Midlands squad and to award them four-month retainer contracts.
“In Marie and Eve, we have two players with vast experience of the county game who have benefited from playing with and against many of the world’s best in the KSL.
“Both are also leaders and can play an important role in developing the many talented cricketers who will also be named in the squad in the coming weeks.
“Issy has the potential to achieve a huge amount in the game. She has already been clocked bowling above 70 miles per hour and, by maintaining her very high standards and by continuing to learn from the best players and coaches in the game, she can become faster and more skilful.
“It’s great this new regional structure can support her development as a cricketer and hopefully propel her towards the international stage.”
The West Midlands is formed of Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire and is one of eight regional hubs developed by the ECB as part of a new structure for elite women’s domestic cricket.
The team will play in a 50-over national tournament in 2020, with plans to extend to T20 as well in 2021.
Further details on the name for the West Midlands team, announcement of the senior squad and fixture information will be revealed in the coming weeks.