CHESTER-born cricketer Sophie Ecclestone has been awarded with a full central contract for 2019 by England Women.

The 19-year-old left-arm spinner, has represented England in all three formats since her debut in 2016 and finished as Lancashire Thunder's leading wicket-taker in the 2018 Kia Super League with 15 wickets.

Also among the raft of central contracts are fellow Lancashire Thunder players Kate Cross and Alex Hartley.

Pace bowler Cross, who in 2006 became the first female cricketer accepted into the Lancashire Academy, has played three Tests, 15 ODIs and four T20Is - she has recently finished a stint in the Women's Big Bash League (WBBL) with Perth Scorchers.

Hartley took 10 wickets as England claimed Cricket World Cup glory on home turf in 2017, including two in the final against India at Lord's, the left-arm spinner also featured in the WBBL for Hobart Hurriances.

Elsewhere Sussex seamer Freya Davies has been awarded her first full Central Contract, alongside Surrey's Bryony Smith, who received her first call-up to the senior team for last year's tri-series against India and Australia, is now on a Rookie Contract.

Smith is joined on the Rookie list by Linsey Smith, Alice Davidson-Richards and Katie George.

Tash Farrant and Beth Langston have been released, while Dani Hazell announced her retirement from the international game last month.

21 players are now centrally contracted to ECB - four of those on Rookie Contracts. The new contracts signify a higher level of remuneration for England Women, continuing the trend since the women's game turned professional in 2014.

The overall salary pot has grown by 10 per cent on 2018, with several players receiving an increase of between 15 and 30 per cent on their 2018 salary. The bonus pot for bi-lateral series wins has also been increased by 25 per cent.