DURHAM have appointed Hollie Armitage as their first professional female captain from next year.

Batting all-rounder Armitage, who made her England debut earlier this year, has been skipper at the Yorkshire-based Northern Diamonds since 2020.

But after Durham edged out Yorkshire to tier-one status as the domestic women’s set-up transitions from a regional to a county model from 2025, Armitage has signed a three-year deal at Seat Unique Riverside.

With almost 5,000 runs to her name across all formats, 27-year-old Armitage will reunite with Durham’s newly appointed head coach, Danielle Hazell, having played under her at Northern Diamonds and Northern Superchargers.

“I am really looking forward to starting a new chapter at Durham,” said Armitage. “It’s a brilliant opportunity to start afresh, with a new team and create something exciting.

“After speaking to Marcus (North, Durham’s director of cricket), I knew this was going to be the best move for me to develop my cricket. Dani has been a big part of my journey over the last few years, and it’ll be great to continue that alongside her at Durham.”

An experienced top order batter and leg-spinner, Armitage has represented England internationally and boasts a cricketing CV which has also seen her represent Northern Diamonds, Sydney Sixers, Northern Superchargers, Central Districts and Yorkshire.

A proven leader on and off the field with Northern Diamonds and Northern Superchargers, Armitage led the Diamonds to Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy success in 2022, lifting the prestigious 50-over cup at Lord’s.

She also captained England A to a T20 series win over India A during the winter, smashing 52 off 41 balls in the opening clash at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium.

“This is a proud and historic day for Durham Cricket to be able to announce our first women’s professional captain,” said North. “Hollie is an outstanding player who has a huge amount of domestic experience, both here in England and overseas with Sydney Sixers, Central Districts and Tasmania.

“Her leadership skills will be vital for Durham alongside her proven record as a run scorer at the top of the order. She is a match winner, and we very much look forward to her joining in November.”

Meanwhile, Katie Levick has urged no let up from the Northern Diamonds as they continue their push for more silverware in this season’s Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy. 

The Diamonds, champions in 2022, have won five of their opening seven matches, meaning they sit in third position in the table, just two points off group leaders Southern Vipers.

More importantly, they are eight points clear of fifth-placed Blaze, with the top four teams after the 14 group games advancing to September’s semi-finals.

The signs are encouraging, but Levick knows there is plenty of work still to do, with the Diamonds facing bottom side Western Storm at Cheltenham College on Sunday.

“There’s no easy games in this competition anymore, everyone‘s really competitive,” said Levick. “We’ll be playing away from home at Cheltenham, so it’ll just be about putting in another good whole team performance.

“The last game at Scarborough (in which the Diamonds beat Central Sparks) will be really good to have behind us, and we will just try and keep the momentum going and make sure we qualify as early as possible.”