The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced the England Women Central Contracts for 2023/24.

Northern Diamonds’ Bess Heath has been awarded a development contract after breaking into the senior set-up in 2023.

These development contracts – which have also been awarded to bowlers Mahika Gaur and Lauren Filer – are awarded to those players the England Women management team feel will play a pivotal role for the team in the future and enable the ECB to support them further over the next 12 months.

The Northern Diamonds wicketkeeper-batter has just finished a stint with Brisbane Heat in a T20 competition.

Bess Heath

Bess Heath of the Heat bats during The Eliminator WBBL finals match between Brisbane Heat and Sydney Thunder at WACA, on November 28, 2023, in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Nicknamed BAM, because of her initials Bess Alice May and also her powerful batting style, Heath, 22, was drafted by the Heat, with their coach Ashley Noffke saying: “She’s a player on the rise.”

The 22-year-old from Chesterfield has continued her progression in Diamonds’ colours in the 2023 season, and with England A and the Northern Superchargers as well.

In September this year, Heath earned a full senior international debut in an ODI victory over Sri Lanka at Leicester, scoring a quick-fire 21 down the order late in the innings.

Sarah Glenn of England presents Bess Heath with her first ODI cap during the 3rd Metro Bank ODI between England Women and Sri Lanka Women at Uptonsteel County Ground on September 14, 2023 in Leicester, England. (Photo by Matt Lewis – ECB/ECB via Getty Images)

Eighteen contracts, which run for one year, have been awarded with Maia Bouchier and Danielle Gibson given their first England Women Central Contract.

All contracts run until 31 October 2024 and provide significant structural improvements to meet player needs. Working closely with the England Women’s Player Partnership and the PCA, remuneration advancements include enhanced family provision entitlement, a bonus structure that rewards success against higher ranked opposition, increases to the value of retainers and the equalisation of match fees with England men.

Director of England Women’s Cricket, Jonathan Finch, said: “The Central Contracts are awarded to the players we feel will play a significant role over the next 12 months and beyond. We are at the start of an unprecedented busy period of international cricket and the group reflects the requirements of the multi-format schedule we face.

“Maia Bouchier and Danielle Gibson have been part of our group over the summer, have performed well and will be important players for England moving forward.

“The introduction of development contracts is a key step for us and allows us to support a wider group of players in their ongoing development and we will work closely with the regions to manage the players’ development and workloads.

“After a record-breaking Ashes summer, we have a really exciting 12 months of cricket ahead and we feel this group of players will form the foundations of our side that will take us through various bilateral series, and the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup.

“Our thanks as ever go to the England Women’s Player Partnership and the PCA who continue to play an important role.”

England Women centrally contracted list

Tammy Beaumont (The Blaze)

Lauren Bell (Southern Vipers)

Maia Bouchier (Southern Vipers)

Alice Capsey (South East Stars)

Kate Cross (Thunder)

Charlie Dean (Southern Vipers)

Sophia Dunkley (South East Stars)

Sophie Ecclestone (Thunder)

Tash Farrant (South East Stars)

Danielle Gibson (Western Storm)

Sarah Glenn (The Blaze)

Amy Jones (Central Sparks)

Freya Kemp (Southern Vipers)

Heather Knight (Western Storm)

Emma Lamb (Thunder)

Nat Sciver-Brunt (The Blaze)

Issy Wong (Central Sparks)

Danni Wyatt (Southern Vipers)

England Women development contract list

Bess Heath (Northern Diamonds)

Lauren Filer (Western Storm)

Mahika Gaur (Thunder)

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