Sophie Luff is again spending her winter in Australia.
The Western Storm Captain has returned Down Under to represent Parramatta for the second year running.
We spoke to her this weekend to find out how she’s getting on.
“It’s great to be back,” she said. “It’s nice to be able to reconnect with the people that I got to know so well last year. They really looked after me and made the experience so brilliant that I was really keen to come back. It’s been nice to get back into the swing of things and play some cricket. The first game was rained off though, so I got quite a lot of stick for bringing the English weather with me!”
How important is it for Sophie that she is able to get game time at this stage of the year?
“Coming over here gives me the opportunity to spend some time out in the middle, and at this stage of my career I think that’s what’s best for me if I want to continue to develop my game. I can work on things in match play and coming out here to do that seemed like the best fit.
“I feel like I’m in a good place technically and I’m comfortable with where my game is at. This is about exploring what more there is in the locker. I feel like I need to test that out in game situations. It’s one thing to be in the nets and executing your plans indoors, but this gives me the chance to transfer that to the outdoors. Coming out to play Grade cricket allows me to do just that.
“The state players have been involved in some of the games so far and that obviously increases the standard. It’s certainly making the games really competitive.
“Having the opportunity to play overseas during the winter shows how far the women’s game has come. Full time contracts mean that we’re professional cricketers all year round. Ultimately, our job is to just play cricket and although you can do plenty of work in the nets, you want to be out there playing the game, scoring runs and taking wickets.
“These sorts of opportunities are really important for the young girls coming into the game now. The world is their oyster because the franchise scene is getting bigger and bigger and that brings more opportunities to play abroad during the winter, and that’s massive. There’s also competitions like the New Zealand Super Smash, which a couple of our players have been involved with in the last couple of years. The chance to experience different conditions and environments really can help take a player’s game to the next level.”
We finished by asking Sophie what is the mood in the Western Storm camp like?
“The group are as tight as I’ve ever known us,” she explained. “Morale is really good and there’s a great atmosphere in the dressing room. The girls have really knuckled down this winter and hopefully we can hit the ground running this summer. We just need a couple of wins and the confidence boost that will come from that will help to make this group believe that we’re good enough and belong at that level. We’ve also got a great group of staff who play a huge role within what we do. It really is a great group to be a part of.”
Sophie definitely seems to be enjoying herself Down Under. In her three 50-over matches to date she has scored over 120 runs at an average of 40.67.