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Anya, Heather and Fran return to Western Storm for 2018

World Cup winners Anya Shrubsole, Heather Knight and Fran Wilson will once again represent Western Storm as they look to retain their title in the 2018 KIA Super League.

ECB today announced the England player allocations for the third year of the competition and whilst Anya, Heather and Fran will be staying with Western Storm, several other members of the ICC World Cup winning squad are on the move.

World Cup Player of the Tournament, Tammy Beaumont is one of the highest profile movers as she switches from Surrey Stars to last year’s beaten finalists Southern Vipers. Former Stars teammate Alex Hartley will also be in new colours as she heads back to her northern roots to play for Lancashire Thunder. Heading down from Thunder to Stars to replace Beaumont behind the stumps is one of the most prominent keeper-batsmen in world cricket, Sarah Taylor.

Loughborough Lightning and Yorkshire Diamonds undertake a straight swap with all-rounder Jenny Gunn and seamer Beth Langston changing teams.

Heather captained Western Storm to the Kia Super League title last year and also lifted the ICC Women’s World Cup as England skipper. Following the announcement today she expressed her delight at staying with the current champions. “I’m really pleased to be a part of Western Storm again in 2018,” she said. “We’ve created something really special over the last two years and I know that everyone involved will be giving absolutely everything in order to retain our title.

“A huge amount of work goes on behind the scenes as well as on the pitch and everyone connected to Western Storm played their part in last year’s success and I can wait to meet up with everyone again.

“This year’s tournament will be bigger than ever and that will make it much tougher, but I believe that we’ve got the quality in the squad to be successful again.

“There’s been an amazing team spirit right throughout the squad for the last two years which has helped us to succeed and I’m sure that 2018 will be no different.

“Myself, Anya and Fran have all got links to the South West and the amount of support we’ve had at our home games has been tremendous. Hopefully we can thank all those Storm Troopers in the best possible way and win the trophy for them again.”

Talking about the team news, KSL General Manager Jo Kirk said: “The latest player movements are to ensure the best balance between the six sides and to maintain a fair and competitive competition with the over-arching principle of trying to ensure a best versus best competition.

“We want the KSL to continue to go from strength to strength in its third year. Attendances rose by 44% last year and we’re looking forward to even more fans attending games this summer, hopefully culminating in a sold-out Finals Day down in Hove.”

The third year of the Kia Super League will kick off on July 22nd with all six teams in action.

Western Storm will begin the defence of their title at the Cooper Associates County Ground against Yorkshire Diamonds live on Sky.

All six teams will be aiming to reach Finals Day at the 1st Central County Ground, Hove on Bank Holiday Monday, August 27th.

Sky Sports will show 12 KSL matches in 2018, almost doubling their 2017 coverage, including standalone group games for the first time.

Tickets to every match including finals day are now on sale and details for all games can be found at ecb.co.uk/super-league.

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09/07/2022 19:00 - The Cooper Associates County Ground