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Somerset Women Season Review

It was a season to remember for Somerset Women in 2019.

Who better to look back on a trophy winning campaign than team coach, Rich Askew.

Somerset Women’s team enjoyed a mixed season in 2019, struggling in the 50-over format in Division Two nationally before recovering to come top of Division Two in the ECB T20 competition.

We welcomed a new Head Coach, Dave Roberts, prior to the season starting with friendlies against the Western Storm Development squad and local rivals Devon.

With the entire fixture list being condensed into the first two months of the season, availability was always going to be an issue with such a young squad, as exams and University commitments caused issues with having a settled team.

This also showed in the longer format games where our opposition regularly had access to England and other International players. However, in the T20 games, playing against opposition without such ‘stars’ and more reflective of County pathways, the team dominated their games and ran out worthy winners.

Having places available within the team led to some positives though as several of our County age group (CAG) players found themselves suddenly elevated to Senior representative level perhaps a year or two earlier than they had anticipated. For them to find their feet in the side and perform at this level is both a credit to their maturity and shows that the training and opportunities at CAG prepares individuals well for their future.

At various times Nat Wraith and Jess Smith from the U17s; Niamh Holland, Jess Hazell and India Owen of the U15s all played in Senior games. Jodie Filer and Tilly Bond, previously CAG players on the fringe of the full team, also grabbed their chances with both hands and will be looking forward to cementing their places in the side over the next few years.

Outstanding performances came from Captain Sophie Luff, leading from the front with the bat, bowler Lorraine Szczepanski with her offspin and all-rounder Nicole Richards. All three were in the top ten for the season nationally for their respective batting and bowling, Richards being the only player in the country for both skills.

Individual high score in 50-over games was Richards with 99 not out against Durham. Luff had 78 not out against Middlesex and 604 runs overall. The bowlers, in particular the spin twins of Richards and Szczepanski, supported each other well with Georgia Tulip, Lauren Filer and Bond leading the seam attack. The fielding, as to be expected from such a young side, was at times far more agile and athletic than many of our opposition teams.

Looking forward from here, much has been speculated about Women’s cricket in the next few years. Somerset have committed to the proposed T20 competition for the next few seasons and, with so many of the current squad still available, should be in a good position to build on their success. A comprehensive winter training program is in place and the players and coaching staff look forward to starting again after Christmas with the anticipation of even better performances in 2020.

Thank you to Rich Askew for supplying this article.

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