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Sparks Director of Women’s cricket Laura MacLeod issues a general update as we approach the beginning of the 2024 season.

With the Sparks set to kickstart their season at home to local rivals The Blaze this Saturday, MacLeod offers her thoughts on 2023, our pre-season tour out in Mumbai and our warmup fixtures against Northern Diamonds, Western Storm and Thunder.


Giving a word on her outlook of the upcoming campaign, MacLeod said: “You always start any season with lofty ambitions of returning silverware, and up until the final block of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy last year, we were in a strong position to achieve that.


“Unfortunately, we fell out of contention. In the Charlotte Edwards Cup, our bowling attack wasn’t as potent as it has been in previous seasons, and our batting didn’t match our oppositions’ levels.


“On our day we have one of the most exciting bowling attacks in the country and with smarter executions, along with a new look batting order for the CEC, I’m excited by the style of cricket we could play.”


Recently, MacLeod, along with players and coaching staff, headed to India where the team had an intense 10-day pre-season tour of Mumbai. During that time, Sparks played six games, facing fellow regional team Northern Diamonds three times.


On the tour, MacLeod said: “As we move more into this journey towards full professionalism, players made massive improvements over the winter and to see some of those improvements being put into practice in the recent trip to Mumbai was very pleasing.”


MacLeod went on to say, “I knew to take a squad to India would require a lot of prep and all that prep paid off for me.


“India requires everyone to be on their A game every day and very quickly we were able to turn our full focus to the cricket and make gains from the programme.


“Even more pleasing was to see how a number of our Academy players adjusted and then held their own.”


During the tour, Sparks won four of their six friendly games, returning to the West Midlands in good shape.


With 2024 set to be the biggest season yet, and the final one of regional cricket, Sparks’ Director is excited at the prospect of starting the campaign at home to a local rival.


MacLeod added: “It’s brilliant to think we have an extensive season ahead of us, a chance to see the talent and depth of the squad and to kick the season off against our Midlands rivals will be a great one to start for us.”


During March and some of April, Sparks had Charis Pavely, Hannah Baker, Davina Perrin and Grace Potts all away on international duty. Baker and Potts with England A in New Zealand, while Pavely and Perrin went to Sri Lanka with England’s U19s. MacLeod was happy to see the Sparks quad shining on the international stage.


“To see talent that has been nurtured by the West Midlands region progress to England pathway programme is hugely rewarding not just for Sparks, but for Staffordshire, Worcestershire, and Warwickshire.


“These four players have a bright future ahead of them and we hope to provide even more players to the England pathway in the future.”


Last week, Sparks beat Western Storm in a 50 over friendly in the South West, they have also played Thunder, while facing the Northern Diamonds in three wins while on tour.


Pre-season games are all about performance and development, a chance to get back into the swing of things, positive performances help of course, and MacLeod is aware just how much they will go towards starting right on Saturday.


She added: “Players will use the opportunities to feel English grass under their feet again and hone their new skills and strategies ready to go hard and with confidence heading into that first game this weekend.”


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