Laura MacLeod is expecting some "selection headaches" as Warwickshire Women's team targets top-three finishes in both competitions in 2019.
A busy and innovative pre-season programme has left the Bears well-prepared for the new campaign with they begin with games away to Sussex and Kent at Brighton and Beckenham respectively on May 5 and 6.
The winter training sessions have been very well attended and there have been a lot of smiles – as well as a few grimaces when they did the ‘Stand Run’.Laura MacLeod
Before then, the Bears women have some pre-season 50-over games including Nottinghamshire away on April 7 and an intriguing match against Shrewsbury School boys on April 28. Then later in the summer, for the first time, there is a programme of T20 warm-ups to assist the transition from the 50-over game straight into the T20 competition.
With Warwickshire legend Dominic Ostler settling well into his role on the coaching staff, the women are approaching the new season in buoyant mood – and Laura is setting the bar high ahead of her first season as Women and Girls Performance Manager.
“It has been a very good winter,” she said. “We are heading towards the season in a good place in terms of the squad, well-covered in all departments. We are aiming for top-three positions in both competitions and I think that is entirely realistic.
“How much we will see of our England centrally-contracted players Amy Jones and Jenny Gunn remains to be seen, but while it will be great if they play some games for us, we have a lot of good options. There will be a few selection headaches.
“The winter training sessions have been very well attended and there have been a lot of smiles – as well as a few grimaces when they did the ‘Stand Run’, that is running up and down the Hollies Stand in the freezing cold!
“Dominic has come in and had a real impact. He is a great addition to the coaching staff and we have also had some really good coaching sessions from Jim Troughton on power-hitting and Pop Welch on bowling. Pop will be working with us again and we will also be having sessions with Lydia Greenway and Ian Salisbury.”
One decision which remains to be taken is whether to recruit an overseas player for 2019.
“I’m still thinking about that,” said Laura. “An overseas player brings in knowledge and experience but also takes up a position which could go to one of our young, homegrown players.”