Teresa Graves’ new role at the top of the order is one she’s embracing, and keen to make count, as The Blaze close out their first block of Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy fixtures against Western Storm at Trent Bridge (10.30am start). 

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She is in a squad which includes one change, with Daisy Mullan (who was ineligible to face Thunder due to the terms of her loan spell) replacing Sarah Glenn (England).

Squad: Ballinger, Beaumont, Claridge, De Klerk, Gammon, Gordon (C), Graves, Groves, Higham, Kelly, Kirk, McCarthy, Mullan, Munro. 

Whilst Graves’ season has begun with mixed fortunes, her form in the scorebook belies her feeling at the crease. 

A clearer indicator of her touch is the way she got off the mark against Thunder - cracking prodigious talent Mahika Gaur through the covers, driving on the up - having set the foundation with 33 runs in a win against Northern Diamonds five days prior. 

Her positivity is an asset brought back from Australia over the winter, and one she is sure will pay off in time. 

The ambition is to repay the opportunity she has been given as opener, having sought out that spot last season. 

“Last year, I asked the coaches where they saw me as a player - I enjoy batting at the top or in the middle order, but I had been a bit lower down,” Graves explained. 

“They said I would get the chance if a spot opened up, and with how I got on in Australia, they offered it to me.  

“It is a little frustrating not to have got a score because I’m feeling good in the nets and I am going out with confidence but it isn’t quite translating. 

“Opening is something I am trying to cherish though, it is just about having that awareness that it’ll come good if I keep playing positively.”

Positivity has no doubt been her trademark.

In a defeat to Stars, Graves’ again showed her potential, twice driving Ryana McDonald-Gay straight in what could justifiably be called the shots of the day. 

That attitude comes despite the turnover of opening partners Graves has had - Tammy Beaumont was her third against Thunder, having also enjoyed the company of Marie Kelly and Kirstie Gordon at the top of the order.

“My role is always clear, whoever I am batting with,” Graves said.

“They are all good players, it is just someone different standing at the other end. That doesn’t change the way I go about things. 

“As a team, it’s important that we find a way of gluing things together. We’ve produced some solid performances without really clicking, so I don’t think changing things up a bit is a bad thing.”

And there is a sense that a complete performance is on the way, having collected their first win of the season in that fixture at Scarborough, before battling back to within one wicket of a win against Thunder. 

With the fixture against Western Storm being the last before the side break for the Charlotte Edwards Cup, there is a strong desire to finish the first block of games on the up. 

“It is really important to end well,” Graves said, “even though we lost against Thunder, we still carried through the momentum we built against Diamonds by making a good fist of it, and making it as close as it was in the end.”

“We’ve been improving every performance. The bowling unit has been superb all year and we can build on what we have achieved already to finish off the block of 50 over games with a win, which can also give us impetus going into the Charlotte Edwards Cup.”