Western Storm to take on Trescothick XI at South Devon CC in battle of the sexes

Smriti Mandana, the Indian international who has signed for Western Storm and is expected to play against Marcus Trescothick

A twenty20 battle of the sexes match against a Marcus Trescothick’s Somerset XI will be part of Western Storm’s warm-up for this season’s Kia Super League programme.

The reigning Kia Women’s Super League champions will play a past-and-present Somerset team hand-picked by Trescothick at South Devon CC in Newton Abbot on July 17.

Trescothick has been awarded a testimonial season by Somerset this year in recognition of his service to the club across more than two decades. He made his First Class debut in 1993 and, until breaking a bone in his foot earlier this season, remained a regular in the Championship side.

Caroline Atkins - set to play in the battle of the sexes at South Devon CCSouth Devon have hosted successful testimonial games for Somerset players Peter Trego and Jamie Hildreth over the past three years,

Images of West Indies big hitter Chris Gayle wandering out of the sponsors’ tent to swish a few sixes for South Devon against Somerset in Trego’s testimonial went viral within hours on the Internet.

Western Storm are sponsored by Wollen Michelmore, whose chief executive Chris Hart is a devoted Somerset supporter and president of South Devon CC.

When Hart suggested a game at South Devon as part of Trescothick’s testimonial year, Western Storm coach Trevor Griffin jumped at the chance.

“Somerset and the players at the club are hugely supportive of Western Storm when we play there and this is a chance for us to support them,” said Griffin.

“The game has a bit of everything as far as we are concerned at a perfect time in the season.

“Not only are we supporting Marcus, we are also promoting Western Storm in Devon, which traditionally is a very strong county for women’s and girls cricket.

“And for our team it is a chance to get out in the middle with bat and ball before the Super League season starts.”

The game will be one of the final warm-up matches for the Storm before they begin their defence of the Kia Super League five days later against the Yorkshire Diamonds in Taunton.

Western Storm are captained by Heather Knight, the former Plymstock player who has risen through the women’s game to become captain of England.

Knight led England to World Cup glory last summer when India were defeated in a thrilling final at Lord’s.

Griffin said England duty takes priority for Western Storm’s international players at this time of the summer, which means they may not be released to play.

There will be international talent on parade in the Western Storm side though, including Indian start Smriti Mandana and New Zealand’s keeper-batter Rachel Priest.

“We expect our England players Anya Shrubsole and Fran Wilson will be at the game as ambassadors and also to join guests for lunch before the match,” said Griffin.

“Rachel Priest and Smriti, the first Indian to play in the Kia Super League, should be in our team.

“And our former internationals, Rosalie Fairbairn and Caroline Atkins, who was a Women’s World Cup and Ashes winner, have been lined-up for guest appearances.”

Admission to the game will be by souvenir programme, which can be bought in advance from South Devon CC's on-line shop

A limited number of hospitality packages and gala lunch seats are still available. Click here for details