Eve Jones, the Shropshire-born professional cricketer who continues to live in the county, is excited about the launch of The Hundred as she looks forward to helping Birmingham Phoenix push for success.
Top order batter Eve, who recently accepted an invitation to join the Shropshire County Cricket Club committee, linked up with the Phoenix squad last week to begin preparations for their first match in the new 100-ball tournament against London Spirit at Edgbaston today (Friday).
Eve, who also captains Central Sparks in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy and the Charlotte Edwards Cup, said: “We joined up as a squad last Thursday. We’re in a hotel, a secure environment, and we’ve been doing a lot of training at Edgbaston.
“It’s going well and we’re just really excited to get going for our first game on Friday.
“It’s going to be a good tournament. There’s a good buzz around and hopefully we can get some good crowds in and play some good cricket.
“There’s quite a few of us from Central Sparks in the squad and we’ve also got three overseas players.
“Shafali Verma is going to be one to watch this summer. She has burst on to the scene in the last couple of years for India and I think she’s going to have a good tournament. She’s hitting the ball well and recently had a good series against England.
“We’ve also got Erin Burns and Katie Mack over from Australia, so they are really good players that are going to boost our squad.”
Eve, from Whitchurch, is relishing the opportunity to play a different format and always enjoys having the chance to play at Edgbaston, the Phoenix’s home ground for the tournament.
“It’s a great ground and I love playing there,” she said. “The ground staff prepare some great wickets and as a batter that’s just what you want.”
As for the new format, Eve added: “We usually only play 50 over cricket and T20s. With the women’s game, there’s a lot of short format cricket, so we’re used to that.
“The Hundred’s an exciting opportunity for us all to showcase what we can do.
“It’s going to be good to watch and hopefully we can get some good crowds in. With us playing before the men, I think that should help us as well.”
Eve has been a consistent performer leading Central Sparks once again this season and scored an unbeaten century against North West Thunder at Worcestershire’s New Road last month.
She also took three wickets in her most recent appearance for Sparks, a T20 victory against Lightning, after working hard with her bowling during the winter.
“I feel pretty happy with my form,” she said. “It’s always good to score a few runs. I feel pretty confident in how I’m going and now I’m just excited to showcase what I can do in this tournament and see where we go.
“The Sparks have had a bit of a mixed bag of results this season. We’ve won three out of four in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, but we’ve won one out of three in the Charlotte Edwards T20 Cup.
“We’ve got a bit of a break now with The Hundred and then we will join up with the Sparks again after The Hundred finishes and we will be looking to hit the ground running.
“I feel that we’re in a good place, especially in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy.”
While Eve’s focus is firmly on her busy schedule of cricket this summer, she added she is honoured to have been invited to join the Shropshire CCC committee.
“It was great to be asked to be involved,” she reflected. “It’s an honour to be invited on to the committee and hopefully I can contribute and add some more input to how the women’s game is going in Shropshire and go from there really.”
Pictured: Professional cricketer Eve Jones, pictured playing for Central Sparks, continues to live in Shropshire. Picture: Laura Malkin.