Fri, 06 Sept 2019
Pic: Dave Vokes
LAUREN Bell has praised her Southern Vipers teammates after they finished runners-up in the Kia Super League last weekend.
Vipers were beaten by six wickets against Western Storm in the final on Sunday, at the County Ground, Hove.
It was the second game that the Vipers had played, having beaten Loughborough Lightening by five wickets earlier in the day.
"We were all so proud that we made it to the final," said Bell. "We knew that if we were to beat [Western] Storm, all of us would have had to play at our best.
"The game didn't go quite as we wanted it to, but full credit to Storm because they deserved to win.
"We were just so proud that we made it there after losing our overseas players halfway through the season and other things happening too.
"We're so close as a team and, although we're disappointed, we're happy we made it that far."
In their semi-final victory over Loughborough, 18-year-old Bell took two wickets in her four overs and was happy to contribute in the win.
She said: "I had a lot of nerves in the semi-final, but taking wickets always calms me down and makes you feel on top.
"I was happy to get the team off to a good start because we had to come at Loughborough hard after they beat us last week."
The final between Vipers and Storm was the last-ever Kia Super League (KSL) match as it's being replaced by a new concept called 'The Hundred'.
And although the KSL has come to an end, Bell believes the new scheme will continue to develop the sport for women.
She said: "I have been involved in the KSL for three years and the different between that and county cricket is so different.
"I think it's helping the women's game and bringing in The Hundred where we're aligned with the men's team means it'll get more people watching and hopefully more people involved within the sport.
"Playing in the semi-final and final was great because it's a great way to show off what you can do.
"In the final I was so nervous because I had never really played in a game that was so important, but now I am going to be one step further prepared because I'll have more responsibility and have to step up even more."
While representing Vipers and Berkshire over the summer, Bell also studied at Bradfield College completing a sports scholarship.
"They gave me so much help," she said. "They gave me a gym programme and I had Julian Wood (head of cricket), who gave me a lot of one-to-one sessions.
"They also let my bowling coach come in and help me, so they were very supportive with everything."
Now Bell will have a few weeks away from the sport before heading to Loughborough University.
"I'll be training throughout the winter and hopefully I can be selected for England academy and the The Hundred next year."
- pictures by Dave Vokes.