A captain’s performance par excellence by slow left-armer Alex Hartley halted Lightning’s brisk pursuit of 189 and ensured Thunder would take the spoils at Aigburth.
Hartley brought herself on as the visitors made a promising start to their chase, taking four wickets for eight runs in a magnificent ten-over spell which included five maidens.
Thunder would go on to win the contest by 72 runs.
Lightning were eventually dismissed for 116 with No4 Abi Freeborn the last wicket to fall, bowled by Hannah Jones for 28
Thunder’s dominance was far removed from the situation in the early afternoon when Lightning were 55 for one in the 15th over. However, the crucial wicket of Sarah Boyce was taken by Natalie Brown, who yorked the in-form Scot for 24.
The stage was set for Hartley, but the skipper would need some help. Two outstanding stumpings by Ellie Threlkeld removed Kathryn Bryce for 22 and Lucy Higham for a duck before Hartley’s brilliant diving caught and bowled dismissed Nancy Harman for 4.
Hartley’s last wicket was that of Shachi Pai who was leg before wicket for seven. Leg-spinner Liberty Heap’s three for 34 completed a fine afternoon for Thunder, who had lost their three previous games. Jones finished with two for 20 from 8.1 overs.
In the first innings of the match Thunder posted a competitive total in their 45 overs thanks to a half-century from Natalie Brown and useful contributions from both Georgie Boyce and Rebecca Duckworth.
Several members of the Lightning attack bowled good spells – notably Kathryn Bryce, who took four for 38, and her fellow new-ball bowler Sophie Munro, who was wicketless but conceded only 27 runs from her ten overs.
Bryce removed both Laura Marshall and Laura Jackson in her first four overs, and Alicia Presland trapped Threlkeld leg before wicket for four, before Brown and Boyce began to repair the innings with a 23-run partnership which took the score to 73 for three in the 19th over.
However, Brown then rightly sent Boyce back when the opener called for a single, only to see her partner fail to beat Higham’s accurate throw and depart for 32. The same fielder later accounted for Brown when she had made 52 and was attempting a similarly unwise single.
That run out ended the top scorer’s excellent seventh-wicket partnership of 59 with Duckworth, who then nursed the Thunder tailenders home, 29 more being added to the total before Duckworth was smartly stumped for 27. Higham had earlier conceded only 17 runs from her seven overs of off spin.
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