SOUTHERN Vipers starlet Katie George is ready for the Kia Super League after impressing for Totton & Eling this season.

The 18 year-old has prepared for the Vipers’ defence of their Kia Super League title by moving from home club Old Tauntonians & Romsey to play for rivals Totton & Eling in division two of the British Gas Southern Premier League.

Relishing the challenge, she took 4-16 and scored an unbeaten 17 against Langley Manor in only her third appearance.

While she had the full backing of most of her teammates, including boyfriend Ollie Perrin, some were sceptical.

“The captain [Zimbabwean Mark Mbofana] told me a couple of teammates were unhappy about me playing in the first game or two so I had to try and prove myself and that’s what I’ve done,” she said.

“There was that extra bit of pressure every time the ball came to me but every time I get the ball in the hand I’ve done well and proved the doubters wrong.

“It was a little bit of a jump [in standard] but I backed myself to compete, although I wasn’t expecting to take a four-fer so soon.”

Katie played four KSL games last season and believes she is a better player going into this year’s tournament, which the Vipers begin tomorrow Thursday against Western Storm, who they beat in last year’s final.

“I’m fitter, stronger, more consistent, more confident and I have more strings to my bow with my bowling,” she added.

Katie, who completed her A levels last month, has been developing her coaching skills as a PE teaching assistant at King Edward VI school as well as Totton & Eling’s colts.

No longer the youngest member of the Vipers squad, she is also helping 16 year-old Hampshire teammate Charlie Dean, an off-spinning all-rounder from Havant, to settle in.

“Charlie’s where I was last year, everything’s a bit new but it’s the right decision to get her in.”

The Vipers will again be captained by former England skipper Charlotte Edwards and New Zealand’s Suzie Bates has returned as one of the three overseas players.

South Africa captain Dane van Niekerk has pulled out with a thigh injury but other new signings, both from Lancashire Thunder, include West Indies teenager Hayley Matthews and Danielle Wyatt, a member of England’s World Cup squad.

England’s achievement is expected to make the KSL even more popular this year.

“Two of our games will be live on Sky which is already more than last year so we’ll have a much wider audience,” continued Katie.

“Thursday's double header, before Hampshire play Glamorgan, will bring even more in.”