SOMERSET CCC and Gloucestershire CCC have released a joint-statement re-affirming their commitment to supporting Western Storm after the ECB's plans to align the women's game with the new 100-ball tournament from 2020.

Thursday's announcement stunned many within the cricket world and was seen as a particular blow to women's cricket after the recent growth in the Kia Super League.

That competition was won last year by Western Storm, the Westcountry franchise who play home matches in Taunton and Bristol, and there were fears that the alignment would see the region miss out on hosting women's games as they have in the men's tournament.

The statement attempts to allay those fears by suggesting the women's tournament would be aligned "only in structure and not necessarily geographically."

The 'not necessarily' could yet turn out to be the key words, given Somerset were led to believe they were well set to be a host venue for the men's tournament, but the news will still come as a boost to Western Storm and their supporters.

The full statement, available on Somerset's website, is as follows: "It was announced earlier this week by the ECB that the new regional eight-team, 100-ball competition would be aligned to comprise of both men and women’s teams.

It was also revealed that the men’s and women’s competitions are set to share a common format, brands and identities.

In response to this announcement, Somerset County Cricket Club and Gloucestershire County Cricket Club would like to confirm that we are still 100% committed to supporting Western Storm and the KIA Super League.

At this week’s meeting of CEO’s and Chairmen, we discussed the future of the women’s game at length and whilst it was decided that the new women’s competition would be aligned to the men’s, it would be so only in structure and not necessarily in geography.

We are all excited by the prospect of the new 100-ball tournament, despite neither Taunton or Bristol being selected as a host venue for the men’s competition, and we are delighted that both venues could very well be staging fixtures in the women’s competition.

I would like to assure Members, supporters and sponsors that this week’s announcement will in no way diminish our backing for Western Storm in its current form and we will be forging ahead with the Storm’s new website and re-brand.

The success both on and off the field for Western Storm in 2017, along with the success of local players such as Anya Shrubsole and Heather Knight as England claimed a historic ICC World Cup victory, highlights the vital role that women’s cricket plays within the whole of the South West region.

Somerset County Cricket Club, Gloucestershire County Cricket Club and the University of Exeter will continue to work tirelessly to promote and support Western Storm in order to ensure that both the team and the brand go from strength to strength.

2017 was a huge year for the women’s game and Western Storm played an enormously important role in that. Somerset and Gloucestershire have always been at the forefront of supporting the women’s game, both internationally and locally, and we are determined to continue to do so."

Andrew Cornish, CEO Somerset CCC and Will Brown, CEO Gloucestershire CCC.