The Diamonds head into 2022 with eight contracted professionals, more than any other region, following Yorkshire’s support.
The county have funded two more professional contracts, added to the six funded for each of the eight teams by the ECB.
Homegrown stars Katie Levick and Rachel Slater are two of four newly contracted players, added to Bess Heath and Netherlands international Sterre Kalis.
Experienced leg-spinner Levick, from Sheffield, said: “It’s every credit to Yorkshire that they’ve had the foresight to see we’ve had some success early on and have put faith in us.
“Ok, it’s not the full silverware, but we’re the only team to have reached every final.”
Levick, 30, is confident that she can take a career which has already brought her nearly 300 one-day and T20 wickets to a new level now that she is pro.
She has given up her job as marketing manager with ProCoach and said: “Now I’ve got a whole winter and summer ahead of me, I can work on whatever I want. The world’s my oyster. I’m really excited to see where my game can go.”
Left-arm seamer Slater, aged 20, only debuted in senior regional cricket in August, claiming two wickets in her opening two overs on debut.
A former Yorkshire age-group captain who was born in New York State but raised in Leeds, she said: “I’m so happy that all my hard work has paid off.”
Chesterfield-born wicketkeeper batter Heath and Dutch batter Kalis are another two stars of the future, while captain Hollie Armitage, Jenny Gunn, England A seamer Beth Langston and reigning Players’ Player of the Year Linsey Smith have all been retained.
“To be able to have squad which has half of the players contracted is very exciting,” said Heath.
“It just allows us to be able to focus more on cricket rather than working and having it as your hobby. The standard can only then progress.”
Kalis added: “When they told me they wanted to offer me a contract, I was so excited. All I’ve ever wanted to do is focus full-time on my cricket, and the Diamonds have given me that opportunity.
“The Diamonds feels like a second home for me now, and the girls are amongst some of my closest friends.”