Western Storm have kept the core of their successful Kia Super League side, and it paid off in the first season of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy. Their only defeats came against their old foes, Southern Vipers, as they finished second in the southern group.
Western Storm’s captain Sophie Luff led from the front with the bat, racking up 339 runs in six innings and averaging 67.80 with a top score of 104 not out against South East Stars at Bristol.
The top order chipped in with runs when needed although, after Luff, Georgia Hennessy was the pick of the domestic players with a top score of 105 against Sunrisers.
Hennessy also weighed in with 11 wickets, and along with Fi Morris, they were Western Storm’s leading wicket-takers.
It is really difficult to look past Sophie Luff as the key player. She is a consistent player at three, with a List-A average of 43.33. With England players not always available for Western Storm, they are looking to someone to set the example, and Luff is that player.
As a Somerset player, and having played for Western Storm since their inception in 2016, no one embodies the regional side more than Luff.
One to watch
Danielle Gibson is still only 20, but has Kia Super League experience and has the potential to be a decent all-rounder. She already has three fifties in List-A cricket, but it is her seam bowling where she excels; a List-A bowling average of 12.58 is an excellent start to a career that can only get better.
How will they fare?
This year Western Storm are due to have their England players for the first half of their 50 over games before they depart for England duty. They got the best out of England captain Heather Knight last year, as her two innings saw her score 91, not out and 67.
How much they get to see of their England players after that remains to be seen, but they would welcome many games from Knight, Anya Shrubsole and Katie George.
A top-three finish is well within their grasp, and anything less than an appearance in the final will feel disappointing. If they don’t win the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, they will expect to win the T20 cup.
Opening fixture: 29 May, Thunder, Bristol, Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy