Warwickshire Women’s team is targeting success in all formats in 2016 after making two eye-catching signings to inject proven quality and experience to the young talent already on board.
Captained by Marie Kelly, Warwickshire Women will open their season on Sunday when they face Sussex in a 50-over Royal London Women’s One-day Cup match at the Edgbaston Foundation Sports Ground, where they are now based.
To an already strong squad including England pair Becky Grundy and Amy Jones, the Bears have added Anna Lanning and Jenny Gunn.
There is a really positive atmosphere around the club at the moment.Marie Kelly
The signing of Australian all-rounder Lanning as overseas player is a real statement of intent while long-time England regular Jenny Gunn from Nottinghamshire is one of few cricketers who can match Ian Bell’s feat of playing in five successive winning Ashes series.
With a new home, new signings and a new name (the women’s team will, like the men, play under the Birmingham Bears name in T20 cricket) there is a lot of anticipation around the EFSG.
And to all that can be added the alluring prospect of playing two T20s at Edgbaston, doubling up with the men’s games on Sundays June 19 and July 17.
“It will be great for us to play after the men’s games because they will be day-nighters and we’ll get the floodlights and a lot of Bears fans staying on to watch,” said Marie. “We have just been promoted back up so have good momentum behind us, so hopefully we can win the T20s and play really well.
“It’s great that we have doubled up with the men’s team, with the Birmingham Bears name and the same kit. We can’t thank the Bears enough for their support.
“There is a really positive atmosphere around the club at the moment. Some of our warm-ups were affected by the weather so we just can’t wait to get out there and get going.
“It’s a real boost to have Anna and Jenny on board. Anna is a very exciting signing and I have known Jenny for quite a while and know what a brilliant player she is and that she will fit right in.”
Kelly and her team have been busy preparing at the EFSG, the former Mitchells & Butlers ground, which is now back fully in cricket use after Warwickshire acquired it from Persimmon Homes for £1.
Winning it is achievable if we play well, especially with the players we now haveMarie Kelly
“It’s great to have a regular home ground because home advantage does play a massive part,” said Marie. “When we play at different home grounds it just takes that little bit longer to get used to it so it’s great that we have somewhere that is familiar and where we know what the pitch plays like.
“This year we are looking to push on and really compete in all formats. In the 50-over format, after struggling to stay in the division in the last couple of years, we are definitely looking for a top-order finish. Winning it is achievable if we play well, especially with the players we now have with Jenny and Anna here.”