Lightning preview

Lightning preview

It has been a difficult couple of years for Lightning; they have seen significant changes to their playing pool since the end of the Kia Super League. The majority of those players dispersed to the other regions, leaving the newish regional setup with a mix of players from Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, and Lincolnshire supplemented with a handful of students from the university at Loughborough.

The winter has again seen changes to the squad and the backroom staff. Rob Taylor has made way as head coach for Chris Guest. In addition, Marie Kelly bolsters the batting since her move from Central Sparks, and Abbey Freeborn has moved in the opposite direction. Piepa Cleary, the Australian allrounder, moves from Thunder and Katie Midwood joins from Sunrisers.

Key Players

As with last season, the other commitments of the Bryce sisters Kathryn and Sarah mean they will miss part of the Charlotte Edwards Cup. Last year it was for international duty in Scotland, and this year the FairBreak competition overlaps with the first round of regional games. Still, with Northern Diamonds expected to be below full strength, it should equal things.

If England allows Tammy Beaumont to play a significant number of games, then Lightning can put decent scores on the board. Marie Kelly has been on a hot streak of form during the preseason Lightning games and is an astute signing for the East Midlands side.

Sophie Munro recently scored her first T20 fifty for Nottinghamshire, improving her all-round game to go along with her main strength, bowling in the difficult overs.

One player that Lighting hope will be fit involved for them this season is Kirsty Gordon, the Scottish born England international left-arm spinner who stands up and performs when her side needs her to do so most. Gordon had a stand-out tournament for Birmingham Phoenix in The Hundred last year; she keeps things tight in the middle overs and ensures the opposition never gets too far ahead.

Piepa adds some experience to a young bowling attack, and years of playing in the WBBL will help.

Ones to watch

Lightning are not short of young talented cricketers; Josie Groves, a highly rated leg-spinner who comes into the squad off the back of an excellent T20 county competition with Northamptonshire.

Grace Ballenger is also a left-arm pace bowler who, at only 20-years-old has been part of the Lightning squad since 2000 and has steadily played more games with each coming season.

Added to the list of players to watch is Beth Harmer, a hard-hitting opener who is going to score big when she gets it right. She has got some good players around her, like Kelly and Beaumont, and it could be her breakthrough season.

Opening fixture: 14 May, Northern Diamonds, Loughborough


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