BOWLERS Finty Trussler, Charlotte Taylor and Ava Lee, batter Abi Norgrove and all-rounder Megan Sturge have been awarded winter contracts at Southern Vipers.

Taylor, Lee, Norgrove and Sturge all featured in the 2023 Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy-winning campaign, whilst Trussler played two games for the Vipers in 2022.

Taylor rose to fame with a stunning six-wicket haul in the first-ever Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy final, leading the Vipers to a 38-run victory at Edgbaston.

However, she featured just once in 2023 after suffering with injury for most of the season - her first as a professional cricketer.

Lee, Norgrove and Sturge all made their senior debuts for the club as Southern Vipers Academy members.

After international call-ups depleted the Vipers squad, and with two players with England A, the three youngsters earned their first Vipers caps at Chelmsford against the Sunrisers.

Opening batter Norgrove scored eight before hitting 48 in her second match against Thunder at Southport.

Spinner Sturge, who also has the ability to take the gloves if required, took one wicket on debut and played a second game against Western Storm which the Vipers won by four wickets.

Berkshire off-spinner Lee took ten wickets in seven matches, with a best of 2-33 against Thunder, and only went wicketless in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy final.

Leg spinner Trussler didn’t feature in a competitive Vipers match in 2023, but like her fellow winter contract recipients, did perform well in various warm-up and 2nd XI matches across a full summer.

Trussler did play two Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy matches at the conclusion of the 2022 season, debuting against Northern Diamonds at Headingley where she picked up two wickets, before claiming 2-12 from 6.2 overs as the Vipers comfortably defeated South East Stars in the Eliminator.

Adam Carty, regional director of Women’s Cricket, said: “2023 proved that player strength in depth at a club is essential to remaining competitive across a full six months of competition.

"The Vipers are delighted to be able to reward these five highly effective players with a winter retainer, which we hope, will allow them to continue to work at their game, to a point of contributing toward future Viper successes in 2024.

"I am delighted at the dedication and application these five are showing, to ensure their competitive presence in 2024.

"I’m sure they’ll play their part, in what will be the fullest summer yet, within the elite women’s program.”