Heather Knight column: Stormtroopers, Vipers and Ghostbusters - a look back at the Super League

Heather Knight

Heather Knight rounds off her first summer as England captain with a look back at the first Women's Super League - and a look ahead to another busy winter.

I spent most of July and August in the West Country and on the road with the Western Storm for the inaugural Super League.

It was really good fun being part of the brand new competition and I think it has been a huge success. Unfortunately, our campaign ultimately ended with defeat in the final at the hands of the Southern Vipers…

Stung by the Vipers on Finals Day

Despite the result, it was great to be involved in the first finals day at Chelmsford and the first ever final, after coming away with a win in the semi-final against Loughborough Lightning. Although no one likes coming second, the Vipers were the better team on the day and congrats to Lottie (Charlotte Edwards) and her team.

We played some brilliant cricket all tournament and we can be proud of the competition we had as a squad, including a very well deserved player of the tournament award being presented to my Storm team-mate Stafanie Taylor, the West Indies captain.

Stafanie Taylor and Heather Knight
Taylor and Knight will be opposing captains when England tour West Indies in October

It's been great to get to know and bring together a new group of players, including our overseas imports. I've definitely learnt that South Africa's Lizelle Lee is very gullible, with a perfect example when Kiwi Rachel Priest persuaded her she could definitely make this shot during a round of pitch and putt…

In terms of how the tournament has gone as a whole, I think it has been a massive success. People have come to watch, the cricket has been of a very high standard and it's created that level between international and county cricket that it set out to do.

Another massive positive for me has been to see some of the younger England Women's Academy and county players putting in some match-winning performances.

The younger girls in the Western Storm squad have definitely developed and learnt a lot over the course of the competition - something that I'm sure has happened in all the teams. That opportunity for them to train with and play against the best players really is priceless.

Kia Super League's top performers
Most runs - Stafanie Taylor 289, Suzie Bates 232, Heather Knight 199
High scores - Dane van Niekerk 91, Natalie Sciver 90*, Stafanie Taylor 78*
Most wickets - Stafanie Taylor 11, Suzie Bates 9, Anya Shrubsole 9
Best bowling - Anya Shrubsole 5-23, Linsey Smith 4-10, Danielle Hazell 4-10
Click here for full results and scorecards from the KSL

When I first played for England six years ago, I'd only played a handful of games with a white ball, I'd hardly played in front of more than 20 people and I didn't have a clue as to what to expect from international cricket - I had to learn pretty quickly.

Now the girls coming through have the opportunity to play in this type of competition below international cricket where people are watching them, their skills are under pressure and they're playing against the best players in the world - that can only be a good thing in developing England players of the future.

As a first year, it's a great place to start from, so big credit to Clare Connor (the England & Wales Cricket Board's director of England women's cricket), Jo Kirk (Super League general manager) and everyone at the ECB who has made it possible. Hopefully the competition will continue to develop and grow over the coming years with an increased radio and TV presence.

I wrote in my last column that I hoped to see some Stormtroopers out to watch our home games, and people of the West Country, you didn't disappoint! The crowds overall were brilliant and it was great to see people getting behind the new competition.

Heather Knight and some Stormtroopers
She's the captain of England. She's not the droids you were looking for...

Calling at all stations to... Pretoria?

With the ICC Women's World Cup taking place in England next summer and a number of the leading international players in the country for the Super League, a few of us headed to Lord's for a marketing shoot and interviews to promote the tournament.

Alongside fellow Western Storm players Anya Shrubsole and Stafanie Taylor, we hot-footed it down to London on the train following our game at Headingley. I had to chuckle to myself as we all ran along the platform for our train with our massive cricket bags - I think it was a new experience for Stafanie as there aren't many trains in Jamaica!

She did, however, proudly declare that she had taken the London Underground before, to a place called Pretoria. Following our bemused looks, it took her two hours to realize she actually meant Victoria!

We made it safely to Lord's ready for a 6am start the next day alongside Dane van Niekerk (South Africa and Loughborough Lightning), Ellyse Perry (Australia and Loughborough Lightning) and Suzie Bates (New Zealand and Southern Vipers). We were all then dressed in some very strange "Ghostbuster" outfits ready for the shoot. Uncanny…

World Cup players and Ghostbusters
Who ya gonna call?

It was a long, but fun day and definitely got the excitement going for a home World Cup next year.

Another busy winter

So it's not long now until we head away again with England at the end of September to the West Indies, which is a massive tour for us, with ICC Women's Championship points up for grabs.

Beyond that, we have a tour to Sri Lanka and then I'll be heading out to Australia for the Women's Big Bash League to join up with the Hobart Hurricanes once again.

Roll on another winter chasing the sun.

BBC Test Match Special will have ball-by-ball commentary on England's one-day international series in West Indies, which runs from 8-19 October - and you can read more BBC columns from Heather during the winter.

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