Thunder have not got off to the greatest of starts as one of the regional hubs, but they haven’t finished bottom of any of the groups they have participated in. They have a new captain in Ellie Threlkeld, and there will be a certain expectation and desire to prove competitive this season.
The recent county T20 competitions proved to be successful for Lancashire. The core of the Thunder side represented, and those who played for other counties also showed some form going into the Charlotte Edwards Cup.
Some astute moves have seen the Thunder squad look more solid despite the departure of Piepa Cleary to Lightning, Shachi Pai has moved in the opposite direction, and Phoebe Graham has moved across the Pennines to join from Northern Diamonds.
There may be times this season when Thunder play three left-arm spinners in their side. It shouldn’t work, but when they have utilised Sophie Ecclestone (one of the best bowlers in the world), Alex Hartley, a World Cup winner herself and Hannah Jones in the same attack, it has worked. All three offer different things; Ecclestone uses height and bounce while Hartley attacks the stumps, and Jones, is irritatingly tricky to get away.
Threlkeld takes over the captaincy reigns from Hartley, and that responsibility might be what the wicketkeeper batter needs to take her game to the next level. With someone required to challenge Amy Jones for the England gloves, Threlkeld is one of those in line to take over.
If England allows Ecclestone and Kate Cross to play a significant part in the Thunder campaign, they will be competitive. Consistent runs have been the problem, and the two England internationals also strengthened the lower order batting.
One player keen to impress is the allrounder Emma Lamb who played a bit-part role in England’s recent World Cup campaign. A big-hitting batter and a decent off-spinner, Lamb, is one of Thunder’s most consistent performers and if she is in the runs and wickets.
Ones to watch
With Cross and Ecclestone due to be away with England for large parts of the season, it may come down to some of the younger bowlers to put in match-winning performances.
Alice Dyson and Sophia Turner could be the bowlers that will be asked to step up; Dyson, who at 23-years-old should be looking to cement a first-team place, Dyson has some Kia Super League experience as well as being part of the Thunder lineup for the past two seasons as well as some appearances in The Hundred.
Turner, at 19, is starting to put in the sort of performances that will ensure she is part of the Thunder team for a while. Against Northern Diamonds, Turner returned figures of one for four from her allotted overs.
Opening fixture: 14 May, Southern Vipers, Hove