Southern Vipers have been one of the dominant forces in women’s domestic cricket since the start of the Kia Super League era, and that doesn’t look set to change soon. They won last year’s Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy without losing a game and, with the T20 format brought back into the fold, it could be another successful year for the South Coast side.
Made up of players mainly from Hampshire and Sussex, theVipers are lead on the field by Georgia Adams and Charlotte Edwards off the field. The two worked well together last season, and Edwards being in charge of things – even though she no longer plays – means that you can expect a competitive 2021.
It was another Charlotte, however, who stole the show in the 2020 Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy final. Charlotte Taylor, an off-spin bowler who wasn’t in the original Vipers squad, spun her side to victory, taking six for 36 and 15 wickets across the tournament.
Georgia Elwiss missed the whole of the 2020 season and will be looking to regain the form that saw her become an important part of the England squad. A series of frustrating back injuries struck just as the allrounder was establishing herself in the England side. With a test match against India in the summer and an Ashes series in the winter, expect Elwiss to fight hard to earn that spot back.
Georgia Adams, the Vipers’ skipper, scored 500 runs and took seven wickets as she guided her side to trophy triumph. It led to talk of her even earning an England call up. It gives hope, to those close to England contention, that a string of performances in the regional competitions can propel their aspirations further skyward.
There has never been any doubting Adams’ ability at the top of the order, whichever side she has played for. As part of Kia Super League sides, she played for and even found herself playing in every finals day of the KSL.
One to watch
The day after her 18th birthday, Ella McCaughan played a mature innings in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy final. Along with Adams, her captain, both with Vipers and Sussex, showed that she could build an innings and soak up the pressure of a big occasion.
Danni Wyatt had opened the innings in the first two games of the season, but when she joined up with England, McCaughan filled the vacated spot with ease. With Adams, she set her side on course to win every game with two fifties followed, by a highest score of 63 against Western Storm in an opening partnership of 155 with Adams.
Where most sides are looking for their young batters to develop and score important runs, McCaughan is already going in the right direction.
How will they fare?
You can expect Southern Vipers to be there or thereabouts. They have a squad packed with either experience or potential. Vipers have players who have played KSL cricket such as Maia Bouchier, Lauren Bell and Carla Rudd. It could be a big season for the likes of Bouchier and Bell, who can gain international recognition. Bell might even find herself spending some more time with the England squad this summer.
Opening fixture: 29 May, Lightning, Ageas Bowl, Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy