WESTERN Storm are hoping a successful four years comes to a perfect conclusion on Sunday as they look to win the last ever Kia Super League trophy at Hove.

Storm have reached finals day every year since the tournament’s inception in 2016 and this year go straight through to the final for the first time having topped the group stage with nine wins from 10 games.

They couldn’t quite make it a perfect 10 on Wednesday night, losing by five runs to Yorkshire Diamonds despite a terrific stand of 76 in 5.4 overs between Fran Wilson and Sophie Luff – Storm’s first Kia Super League defeat in Taunton after nine previous wins.

Nonetheless, Luff believes the squad still have plenty of momentum going into the final as they seek their second KSL trophy.

“We’ve got that out the way now – we’d much rather lose the final group game than lose on Sunday,” she said.

“It’s been a great four years and it would be really fitting if we could lift that trophy and bring it home.

“It has been a complete team effort and that’s been the case every year, which I think is why we’ve been so consistent.

“A lot of our players have contributed at different times, which is pivotal in T20 cricket.

“If Smriti [Mandhana] hasn’t come off then Priesty [Rachel Priest] has done the job, and Heather [Knight] and Fran [Wilson] at three and four have been exceptional, as has Freya [Davies] with the ball.”

Davies is the tournament’s leading wicket taker with 18 (the next highest is 12) and, on Wednesday, finished with remarkable figures of 3-7 from two overs in a match reduced to 10 overs a side.

And, as Luff indicated, the runs have been shared around far more than in 2018, when Mandhana was the undoubted star – her absence on finals day proved costly as Storm went down by nine runs to Surrey Stars in the semi-final.

This time around, Priest [338 runs] Knight [314] and Wilson [280] are leading the way and Luff has also been in good form, with 134 runs at a strike rate of 131.37.

Those four players are part of a core who have been with Western Storm throughout their Kia Super League journey, breeding a bond on and off the field which has helped the team along the way.

“There are a group of us [Luff, Knight, Priest, Wilson, Davies] who have played every game for Storm since it started in 2016, which is an achievement in itself and something we can be proud of,” Luff said.

“A number of us have played at finals day before, which will hold us in good stead, and we know the ground well as this is our third year at Hove.

“We’ve made it easier for ourselves by getting straight into the final so it would be great to get over the line, whoever we play.”

Storm will take on either Loughborough Lightning or Southern Vipers in the final – if it’s the latter, it would be a re-run of the 2017 final which Storm won by seven wickets, with Luff at the crease when the winning runs were hit.

“That is definitely the highlight of my career to date, so to win it twice would be the ultimate,” Luff said.

“It would be so fitting, not just for us as players but the support staff, who have been fantastic - a number of people work tirelessly to make Western Storm what it is and the work that goes on behind the scenes is exceptional.”

Indeed, the occasion on Sunday will be tinged with a certain sadness whatever the outcome.

Western Storm have attracted healthy crowds and formed a genuine bond with the Westcountry’s cricketing public since their inception in 2016 but, from next year, it will be ‘Western Fire’ playing in 100-ball matches instead.

It is, at best, an almighty risk to throw away the fine work done by the Kia Super League in favour of a new format, new teams and that oft-quoted ‘new audience’ – the existing audience, in this area at least, seem more than content with what they have.

Reflecting on the team’s last match in front of the Taunton crowd on Wednesday, Luff said: “I had to do a little speech in the team huddle before and it was a bit emotional.

“Being a Taunton girl I love playing here. Walking out here and hearing the crowd cheering your name is special.

“The guys get it week in, week out but for us to come here and get the support we do is exceptional.

“I genuinely think we are the best Super League team on and off the field.

“We are inspiring a lot of girls to pick up a bat or a ball, and that has been a journey in itself over the past four years.

“I really hope there can be a team playing women’s cricket here [from next year]. It’s a great place to play and we obviously get great support, so that is the aim.”