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Bell, Collins, Lister, and Rainey sign first professional contracts with Lancashire Thunder

Bell, Collins, Lister, and Rainey sign first professional contracts with Lancashire Thunder

Lancashire Thunder is delighted to announce that following Hilton’s increased investment Olivia Bell, Danielle Collins, Ailsa Lister, and Hannah Rainey have all signed professional contracts.

The four additional contracts take Lancashire Thunder’s squad up to 15 professional players, and eventually to 16, the most of any region within the women’s domestic structure.

Bell and Collins both played a key role in Thunder’s run to Charlotte Edwards Cup Finals Day last summer with Bell a product of Thunder’s Academy system and Collins progressing through Lancashire’s age-group pathway.

Lister and Rainey – both current Scotland internationals – have signed professional contracts with Lancashire Thunder in collaboration with their current Cricket Scotland deals after impressing throughout the winter at Emirates Old Trafford.

20-year-old off-spinner Bell has been rewarded with her first professional contract following an incredible rise during the 2023 season that saw her take 25 wickets as she become a mainstay in the Thunder team. She capped off her debut season by winning Thunder’s Young Player of the Year.

Collins has been with Thunder since their inception in 2020 but made a middle-order spot her own during the 2023 season and the 23-year-old has subsequently earned her first full-time deal after putting pen-to-paper on a part-time contract with the region last summer.

20-year-old wicketkeeper Lister has already made 32 appearances for Scotland in ODI and IT20 cricket, including featuring in their Commonwealth Games Qualifiers in 2022. She’s signed her first professional regional contract with Thunder following a full winter of training with Chris Read’s squad and also holds a contract with Cricket Scotland.

Pace bowler Rainey has featured 38 times for Scotland and was also part of the Oval Invincibles squad during The Hundred last summer. Rainey has claimed 29 wickets on the international stage and the 26-year-old has also signed her first professional regional contract alongside her current deal with Cricket Scotland.

Regional Director of Women’s Cricket for the North West David Thorley said: “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.”

To find out more about women’s cricket in the North West and the Hilton No Boundaries campaign, please click here.

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