Western Storm were back at the Cooper Associates County Ground recently.
The team were training in Taunton, and Sophie Luff was pleased to be back at the home of Somerset CCC.
“It’s always good to be back in Taunton,” she said. “We played a few fixtures here during the summer, which was great, especially for me as a local girl because it always feels like I’m coming back home. We always receive a warm welcome here and it’s a great place to play cricket.”
Helping the bowlers on the day was Somerset Bowling Coach, Steve Kirby. The former Somerset and Gloucestershire paceman has been working with the players this summer, and Sophie is delighted that her side are learning from someone of Steve’s calibre.
“It’s fantastic to be working with him,” she said. “He’s certainly a character, and his energy and enthusiasm for the game are clear for all to see. That certainly rubs off on the group. The girls have really enjoyed working with him. He’s got a lot of experience and to be able to tap into his wealth of knowledge and expertise is invaluable, especially for the younger players in the group.
“It’s great that he wants to come into our group and help the players. We’ve worked with him a few times now and we’re really pleased that he’s interested in the women’s game. It’s always refreshing when you work with a new coach and working with him has been genuinely beneficial.”
It’s also something that Steve has enjoyed.
“We’re very much a family at Somerset, and Western Storm are a big part of that,” he said. “I know Mark O’Leary (Western Storm Head Coach) well from my MCC days. I’ve enjoyed working with them and hopefully I can work with them again in the future. I love working with them and there’s some real talent there.
“Coaching in the men’s game gives you one perspective, but to be able to work in the women’s game gives you a fresh set of challenges, so it’s been really good for my development as a coach.
“It’s an exciting time for the women’s game at the moment. I’ve got a daughter who loves cricket and women now have the opportunity to make a living out of the game. For women and girls to be able to play in front of big crowds and to have a career in the game with 12-month contracts is so important.
“There are some really very good cricketers at Western Storm. These players are super talented and what’s great to see is that they all want to get better every day. That’s so exciting to see, and as a coach that’s all you can ask for.”