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Somerset Women: Season Preview

Somerset Women begin their 2019 campaign with a pre-season friendly against the South West Regional Development Centre at Taunton Vale Sports Club tomorrow (Wednesday) with play due to get underway at 11am.

Ahead of the new season we caught up with captain, Sophie Luff to discuss how preparations for 2019 have been going.

“We’ve had a number of winter training sessions, which has given us the chance to practice and put some plans together for the season ahead,” said Sophie. “We’re in Division Two for both competitions this year. We were relegated at the end of the 50-over competition last season, but we’ll be looking to bounce back, and we remain where we were in the T20.

“Last year was tough for us. We had a very young squad and it was hard for them to gain any momentum because we were unfortunately on the losing side more often than not. Hopefully that experience will make them stronger ahead of this season. I think we will be able to find our feet in Division Two and we can then hopefully push on from there.¬†Our squad is pretty young again this year, but there is still a good deal of experience.

“A lot of the girls have been in our system for a number of years now and have come up through the age groups. We’ve also signed Nat Wraith from Gloucestershire, who is a very promising keeper/batter. She’s been involved with the England Academy and will add some more depth to our batting.

“From a personal point of view I will have to stand up and be counted as captain. As a player you always put pressure on yourself to do the best that you possibly can every time you go out on the field.

“I think we’ve got a good chance in the 50-over competition. If we can put a good score on the board we’ve got some good young bowlers who can put the opposition under pressure. That’s been successful for us in the past and hopefully it will be again this year.”

It was announced recently that Somerset will be without Anya Shrubsole in 2019. How will the team cope with the loss of the England star?

“Obviously it’s massively disappointing to lose a player of her calibre,” Sophie said. “She wasn’t available for all of our matches over the last few years due to England commitments, but when she was available she was great for us. To have someone like her on the field takes a huge weight of your shoulders. You can relax a little bit more knowing that you can throw her the ball at any stage. Her batting skills are right up there as well.

“What we will miss most will be her influence on the younger players. I remember Lauren Filer making her debut for us last year, and having Anya there to guide her through that experience was immense for her. Obviously it’s a blow for us, but it will give a young player the opportunity.”

Anya Shrubsole Image courtesy of Getty Images

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