"It makes me feel incredibly proud": Sophie reflects on 100th cap

When Sophie Luff took to the field against Southern Vipers at Hove recently, she reached an incredible milestone.

The Western Storm Captain was making her 100th appearance for the team, becoming the first player to achieve the feat.

We met up with the skipper earlier this week to discuss her accomplishment.

“It makes me feel incredibly proud,” she explained as she reflected on the last eight and a half seasons. “It’s been a long journey, but I feel a tremendous sense of pride to have been here since day one. These kind of milestones allow you to reflect a little bit and I know how much work has gone in to getting to this point. To be able to reach the 100-mark in what is the final year of Western Storm is incredibly special.”

To mark the occasion, Sophie was presented with a special commemorative cap by long-standing teammate and friend, Fran Wilson.

“Fran absolutely nailed the speech to be honest,” Sophie said. “I’ve played cricket with Fran since I was about 13, so we go back a long way. We’ve shared some incredible memories on the pitch. She mentioned Somerset winning the Under 17 National Championship in 2009 and we won a couple of Kia Super League titles together with Western Storm, so there was no better person to have delivered such a brilliant speech.”

Which of those 100 matches stand out most in her memory?

“The KSL final in 2017 is one that stands out. I was out there at the end with Stafanie Taylor, and we shared a match-winning partnership. That was probably the first time that I’d been involved in a game of that magnitude in front of that many people. To win a trophy like that was absolutely unbelievable.

“There have been a lot of brilliant games. Another one that stands out from a personal perspective was my 157 not out against Sunrisers. I think that’s the highest score by a Storm player at Bristol, so hopefully that’s a record that can stand for a while.”

During her time with Storm, what has been the 30-year-old’s proudest moment?

“Storm has been so important to me and my journey in the game, and the best moments for me are when we welcome someone new into the family. I always really enjoy and treasure it when we give a debutant their cap and they’ve earned the right to be in the environment and step out there to perform in a Storm shirt.

“Having seen so many of those girls coming through the Academy is really special. Niamh Holland is a great example of that. I presented her cap for Somerset and then also at Western Storm. For me, those moments are just so special.”

Can she believe how much the game has changed since she made her debut for Storm back in 2016?

“Everything has changed massively,” she explained. “It’s been awesome to be a part of that journey for every step and to see Western Storm and the game as a whole develop. When I first signed a semi-professional contract in 2016, I never envisioned that I’d be signing my first full-time professional contract four years later. To see where the game is now and what will be happening from next year and beyond with the realignment makes me feel very privileged to be a player who’s on that journey.”

What does the future hold for our skipper?

“Hopefully there will be 100 more! I still feel like I’ve got a lot left in the tank and that I’ve still got plenty to offer the game. I’m incredibly excited by the future and hopefully there will be success on the pitch. The future is exciting for the young girls coming through the system now who aspire to be a professional cricketer. That wasn’t an option when I was growing up.

“The realignment of the women’s game is exciting too. To be alongside the guys will be really refreshing. I’m getting towards the back end of my career but I’m keen to keep getting better and to keep tapping into different ideas and the realignment will certainly help players do that. I’m really enthusiastic about heading into the next chapter of my career.”