Western Storm, who played at Gloucestershire CCC this year has awarded Sophie Luff, Fi Morris, Dani Gibson, Georgia Hennessy, Nat Wraith and Alex Griffiths with full-time domestic contracts.
The announcement comes after the eight regions awarded a further 16 contracts to add to the 25 already given in June. This means that 41 females across England and Wales have signed onto full-time contracts.
The decision has been pushed by the Regional Directors of the teams playing in the Rachael Heyhoe-Flint Trophy, Northern Diamonds, Thunder, Central Sparks, Lightning, Southern Vipers, South East Stars, Sunrisers and Western Storm.
Park Life Sport caught up with 18-year-old all-rounder, Alex Griffiths who plays for Western Storm. She said she’s “absolutely over the moon with it. You can’t really put the excitement into words to be honest.”
You will be able to watch Griffiths and several other Western Storm players next year in the ECB’s new franchise; The Hundred, where a number of the women will play in Welsh Fire, a team made up from Cricket Wales, Gloucestershire and Somerset.
On The Hundred, the all-rounder said: “I think The Hundred will be a lot more intense than Western Storm.
“Obviously just the format, that’s going to be a lot of work and it’s going to be quick. It should be quite nice, we’ve got a few of the Australians haven’t we so it’s different got a couple of Storm players in the Fire with me as well so should be sound.
“I think it will be a good environment and a good buzz though especially with the first year and it’s going to be all in Cardiff so it’s not going to be too bad, less on the travelling.”
This year, Griffiths also picked up Supporters Player Of The Year, “I was not expecting to win anything to be honest.” She said.
“Then to get the Supporters Player, that was crazy but I think a lot of family got on board along with half of Wales so that was good, very unexpected.
“I didn’t tell half of my friends, I thought I can’t have them doing all this as well but my family done a good job of spreading the word.”
This year, Western Storm played all their games at Gloucestershire CCC behind closed doors. Griffiths said: “It was weird but not really, I was probably a bit more comfortable playing in front of less people because there’s less pressure but with less people.
“It takes you back to when you’re just in a field, with just your team and your coaches. It was nice but it’s always nice to have a crowd in because you get a bit of a buzz off that but yeah, it took me back to like club and county cricket really which was nice but hopefully we’ll start getting them back in soon.
“I think it will be nice to get them back in, especially for The Hundred as that’s why it wasn’t on this year, but when we’re all there, it’s going to be a good day for everyone, I think.”