Alex Hartley was a great choice of captain for Thunder in their first season of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy. A tough competitor on the field who has had her fair share of setbacks but always comes back stronger.
Don’t bet against Hartley to bring out the best in her players ahead of another big campaign.
Last year Thunder struggled to find runs, a highest total of 206 for nine tells only part of the story; their bowlers had a habit of keeping them in games, although only two wins followed in their fixtures against Lightning at Trent Bridge and Liverpool.
This year Thunder will return to Chester and play their first game at Old Trafford with the ground out of action last season due to the England men’s team playing at the venue and Covid restrictions in place. If they can get some fans in, it will offer them the extra determination to perform well.
Emma Lamb is at that stage of her career where she needs to string several performances together to break into the England side. Her off-spin is more than handy and has helped win games in the past, including a Kia Super League game at Liverpool where she kept her calm in the last over to guide Lancashire Thunder to victory by four runs.
With the bat, she is most destructive and already has a T20 hundred to her name this season in the county T20 cup. If she can match that form, then not only will her England ambitions be fulfilled, but Thunder will win more games than they lose.
One to watch
Of the three Thunder left-arm spinners, Hannah Jones might not be the obvious choice of player to watch when you consider the other two are England internationals.
A bowler who can keep it tight in the powerplay or through the middle overs, batters find it challenging to get her away. Jones will pick up wickets of players that go after her.
How will they fare?
Thunder start with a tough fixture away against Western Storm at Bristol. Thunder feel like a side that, if they get a win early on they could gain some momentum and while may not make the top four, they could cause a few upsets along the way.
Sophie Ecclestone proved her improving qualities with the bat and, if she plays the early games, she will have the opportunity to add to her previous Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy fifty.
Opening fixture: 29 May, Western Storm, Bristol