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Tom and Sophie to fly the Welsh Fire flag in The Hundred

Somerset and England wicketkeeper batsman Tom Banton is one of eight players retained by Welsh Fire today.

Tom will line up alongside World Cup winner Jonny Bairstow.

A number of West Country-based women’s stars have also signed for Welsh Fire with Sophie Luff, Alex Griffiths, Georgia Hennessy, Lauren Filer, and Natasha Wraith all confirmed. All have been part of the highly successful Western Storm side previously, with Sophie captaining the side in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy last summer.

Joining Banton and Bairstow in the men’s squad are exciting batter, and fellow England international Ben Duckett.

Welsh Fire are one of eight new teams taking part in The Hundred, a new 100-ball competition that is designed to throw open cricket’s doors to everyone. Boasting world class men’s and women’s players, it will take place this summer and feature eight city-based teams from Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham, Southampton and two in London. It will be screened live by Sky and the BBC.

Welsh Fire have also announced that Ollie Pope will be in the side and he became the team’s first Test centrally contracted England player last autumn. All England men’s Test contracted players have been allocated a Hundred team.

Jonny Bairstow said: “I’m delighted to be staying at Welsh Fire. The team have shown a lot of faith in me and I’m looking forward to hopefully repaying them this summer. Ben and Tom are both excellent players and we’ve got the makings of a really strong line-up.”

Sophie Luff said: “It was an easy decision to stay at Welsh Fire. We have a strong West Country contingent in the squad and that is hugely important to me. It promises to be a hugely exciting summer of women’s cricket and I can’t wait to be part of it.”

More than 100 players have now been confirmed for the competition with all of the eight city-based teams confirming signings today.

Somerset’s Max Waller will line up for Southern Brave.

World Cup winner Jason Roy is confirmed to stay at Oval Invincibles while Manchester Originals have secured a number of world class players with South African duo Lizelle Lee and Mignon du Preez signing up, alongside the exciting talents of Phil Salt and Joe Clarke.

London Spirit have also made strides in securing their overseas signings, with Pakistani quick bowler Mohammad Amir and a pair of all-rounders – Afghanistan’s Mohammad Nabi and South Africa’s Chloe Tryon – all due to represent the side at Lord’s.

The remaining retained men’s players will be announced on February 4 while the women’s squads will continue to be announced in the coming months.

Full list of signings announced today:

Birmingham Phoenix: Emily Arlott, Kirstie Gordon, Tom Helm, Benny Howell, Phoebe Franklin, Abtaha Maqsood

London Spirit: Mohammad Amir, Amara Carr, Aylish Cranstone, Jade Dernbach, Danielle Gibson, Mohammad Nabi, Luis Reece, Adam Rossington, Susie Rowe, Chloe Tryon

Manchester Originals: Joe Clarke, Danielle Collins, Mignon du Preez, Alice Dyson, Cordelia Griffith, Hannah Jones, Lizelle Lee, Phil Salt

Northern Superchargers: Helen Fenby, Bess Heath, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Adam Lyth

Oval Invincibles: Megan Belt, Alex Blake, Eva Gray, Marizanne Kapp, Sunil Narine, Jason Roy, Rhianna Southby, Nathan Sowter

Southern Brave: Lauren Bell, Alex Davies, Sonia Odedra, Max Waller

Trent Rockets: Kathryn Bryce, Matthew Carter, Abbey Freeborn, Dawid Malan, Tom Moores, Steven Mullaney

Welsh Fire: Jonny Bairstow, Tom Banton, Ben Duckett, Alex Griffiths, Georgia Hennessy, Lauren Filer, Sophie Luff, Natasha Wraith

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