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Alice Capsey & Danielle Gregory have become the fifth and sixth professional cricketers with South East Stars, the regional side representing Surrey & Kent at the elite level of the women’s domestic game.

Sophia Dunkley, one of the original five professionals with South East Stars, has been awarded a central contract by the ECB. The governing body has also announced each of the eight regional hubs will receive funding for a further professional player for the next 12 months.

This freed up two spaces in the full-time ranks with South East Stars, now filled by Surrey Women Capsey & Gregory. They join Aylish Cranstone (Surrey), Alice Davidson-Richards (Kent), Tash Farrant (Kent) & Bryony Smith (Surrey) as the region’s professional women’s cricketers.

Capsey, a 17-year-old all-rounder, has enjoyed an incredible breakthrough season on a national level shining in The Hundred for inaugural champions Oval Invincibles and hitting the winning runs as South East Stars won the Charlotte Edwards Cup. Her form throughout 2021 has already been rewarded with a number of awards including PCA Young Women’s Player of the Year & Cricket Writers’ Club Emerging Player of the Year.

The off-spinner and top order batter played her first match at county level for Surrey as a 14-year-old in 2019. Despite the curtailed 2020 season, her progress was not halted as she helped Surrey Women to London Cup success and opened the batting for South East Stars.

After impressing in those fixtures, she reached a new level in 2021 scoring 703 runs and taking 33 wickets across all formats for Surrey, South East Stars & Oval Invincibles.

On the contract for Capsey, Regional Director of Women’s Cricket Richard Bedbrook said: “After what has been an amazing 12 months for Alice, the awarding of a Regional contract is very much the next step for her on the journey to realising International honours.  We’ve obviously been aware of her prodigious talents since her County Age Group days and her early steps into senior cricket with Surrey at just 14.

“The ambition and drive she has to become an International cricketer has been clear from those early days and we look forward immensely to supporting her through the next steps in her career as she navigates the continuation of developing her game combined with ensuring she completes her education to the highest possible standards.  We look forward to continuing to work in partnership with Bede’s School so that Alice can maximise her time left at school as well as taking her cricket programme on to the next level with the support that this Regional contract will provide.”

Gregory, a 22-year-old leg-spinner, played her first senior county cricket in 2018 immediately becoming a regular in Surrey’s T20 side before featuring regularly in both formats in 2019. In the curtailed season of 2020 she played two List A fixtures for South East Stars and also produced one of the highlights of the season, with a wicked delivery to bowl Natasha Miles in the London Cup between Surrey & Middlesex.

In 2021, Gregory has become a fixture with the title winning South East Stars & Oval Invincibles teams playing every match as Stars lifted the Charlotte Edwards Cup and six times during the Invincibles’ triumph in the inaugural edition of The Hundred. She now has 40 wickets in her senior career across all formats. Away from her game on the field, Gregory is also working towards a Master’s degree in Performance Analysis and has been a coach with the Rikki Clarke Cricket Academy in its first year.

On Gregory’s move to a professional deal, Bedbrook said: “Dani’s rise to this moment of being awarded a Regional contract is testament to her work ethic, her commitment to learning and improving and her ability to perform at the highest level of the domestic game.  From her gradual development of the art of leg spin through the Surrey Women’s programme from a few years ago to now being an ever present in the South East Stars team in both formats and to making her appearance in the Hundred this season for the Oval Invincibles, Dani has become one of the fore-most spinners in English domestic cricket.

“Combined with her Master’s degree in Performance Analysis at University of Chichester, which includes a work-placement with Surrey County Cricket Club, we are excited at supporting Dani further and at what the future will look like for her as she continues to improve all aspects of her game and especially how her primary skill as a spin bowler can create more and more impact on the domestic game over the next 12 months.”

South East Stars’ 2022 fixtures will be announced here in due course.