Rebecca Halliday - a new recruit to the Western Storm Development Squad<br>credit: Photo: Warren Carr

SIX Devon girls are in the Western Storm’s latest South West Regional Development Programme squad for 2018.

Four newcomers – batter Olivia Churcher, left-armer Emily Edgcombe, inswing bowler Sophie Florides and hard-hitting batter Rebecca Halliday – join existing squad members Steph Hutchins and Daisy Meadowcroft in the 15-strong group.

Devon’s Sophie McKenzie, who was in last winter’s squad, has dropped out as she is studying in New York.

Devon’s cricketers caught the eye last season as they chased promotion in the ECB Championship, only missing out in the final game when they lost to Hampshire by eight runs.

Emily Edgcombe and Steph Hutchins, who are both in the Western Storm Regional Development Squad for 2018The Western Storm talent spotters clearly took note when they sketched out the squad.

The programme is designed to identify and support players who have the potential to progress to the England Academy and play in the Kia Super League.

The 15 players identified from across the region will take part in the programme that consists of nine training days before Christmas and six more afterwards.

The players will also feature in pre-season fixtures against women’s county teams from around the South West.

The pre-Christmas programme will see the players, who have been selected from Somerset, Gloucestershire, Devon, Wales and Cornwall, being put through their paces at the Cooper Associates County Ground, the Brightside Ground and at the University of Exeter.

A number of Western Storm coaches will be working directly with the players including head coach Trevor Griffin and pace bowling coach Ben Phillips. Two other members of the Storm’s backroom staff will also be on hand to work with the players. These are Jon Pitts (mental skills) and Zak Bess (strength and conditioning).

Former Western Storm head coach and World Cup winner Caroline Foster and current Somerset women and girls’ coach Paul Lawrence will be giving the players the benefit of their extensive knowledge of the women’s game.

Lisa Pagett, Storm’s general manager, said: “The South West Regional Development Programme is a really important part of the work we do.

“We are fortunate to have a brilliant team working on the programme, fusing together coaches working with the full Western Storm squad and coaches with extensive knowledge and experience of girls’ county cricket across the South West.”

Squad: Olivia Churcher (Devon), Amber Cummins (Cornwall) Emily Dibble (Somerset) Emily Edgcombe (Devon) Lauren Filer (Somerset) Sophie Florides (Devon), Alex Griffith (Wales) Rebecca Halliday (Devon) Steph Hutchins (Devon) Daisy Meadowcroft (Devon) Ellie Mitchell (Cornwall) Georgia Parfitt (Wales) Charlotte Scarborough (Wales) Sophie Thomas (Wales) and Nat Wraith (Gloucestershire).