WESTERN Storm got their Kia Super League campaign off to a flying start on Tuesday, and Somerset Women’s captain Sophie Luff is hopeful that the 2017 champions can reclaim their crown this year.

Storm won their opening match by seven wickets away to Loughborough Lightning, who defeated them in the semi-finals last season, with Luff (4no) helping see her side over the finish line.

Storm’s next match is at home to Lancashire Thunder today (3pm start), at the Cooper Associates County Ground in Taunton, and Lympsham star Luff cannot wait to play in front of a home crowd.

She said: “We love playing at Taunton; I’m slightly biased because I’m a Somerset girl, but you speak to a lot of the girls and they love playing at Taunton, too.

“We’re very well looked after, similarly at Bristol, and we get really good crowds with a lot of young girls coming to watch us, so hopefully there’ll be a few out on Saturday.

“England Women won the World Cup in 2017, Storm won the KSL in 2017, and I think that’s helped cricket in the South West immensely.

“Hopefully, Western Storm can win the title again this year, and there’ll be another spur for women’s cricket in the South West.”

Luff scored heaps of runs as a Somerset opener in the county cricket season just gone, but will again slot into Storm’s middle order.

She said: “I’ve had a great season with Somerset, I’ve been able to lead from the front, albeit I’ve batted in a slightly different role in the T20 to what I’ll be playing for Western Storm this year.

“I’m used to that middle order role with the Storm over the last few years and, hopefully, I can slot back into that role quite nicely.

“Middle order can be tricky, because you come in in different situations – you’ve only got a couple of overs left and you’ve got to go hard, or you might be in a little bit of trouble and you’ve got to rebuild and get some partnerships together.

“You’ve got to be versatile but, hopefully, I can adapt my gameplan to what the team needs.”

This is the final year of the KSL, which began in 2016, ahead of the restructuring of domestic cricket by the ECB [England & Wales Cricket Board], and Luff is confident of her team finishing with a flourish.

“I think we’ve got a great squad this year and there’ll be real competition for places,” she added.

“That gives us a really good chance of winning the title this year, and I’m confident we can do that.

“It’s something we’ve talked about; this is the last year of the KSL, and we want to be that team that does get to finals day every year and be the only team that wins it twice as well.

“It would mean a huge amount [to reach finals day], not just to me but the whole squad, and the coaching staff as well; it would be a great way to finish what’s been a fantastic tournament over the last four years.”

And while much of the make-up of the domestic game is still to be made concrete, the ECB has said that women's county cricket will continue, in a T20 format.

Luff added: “We now know that there’s going to be a county T20 competition next year, which obviously is great as Somerset captain that I’ll be leading those girls out again.

“We’ve got a lot of talent coming through our pathway so county cricket is really important for those girls, and I’m pleased the ECB has made the decision that county cricket will continue in some form next year.

“Hopefully there will be that pathway for girls to aspire to, to get to a Western Storm - albeit this is our last year, and for the KSL, so what that level of cricket looks like [in the future] will be interesting.

“But certainly in the South West I think women’s cricket is on the rise and we’re in a great position here.

“I’m involved in a coaching capacity with the Somerset Cricket Board, as women’s and girls head coach, and we’ve got a number of players on the regional development programme, which is linked to Western Storm, so I have no doubt that some of those Somerset players will go on to achieve their ambitions.”