2023 Rachael Heyhoe-Flint Trophy Preview: Thunder v Storm


Western Storm take on Thunder in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy at Emirates Old Trafford tomorrow (Saturday September 16th).

This 50-over match will get underway at 10:30am.

Tickets for this match are still available.



You can keep up to date via the Western Storm website.

In addition to this, a report on the day’s play along with quotes will be posted on this website.


The teams have faced each other three times in the Rachael Heyhoe-Flint competition with Western Storm coming out on top on each occasion.

The first game was in 2021 when Storm won a close encounter by just one wicket at Bristol.

After winning the toss, Sophie Luff elected to field first.

Emma Lamb top scored for Thunder with an outstanding 121 from 105 balls as her side posted a total of 291 for eight from their 50 overs. Anya Shrubsole (three for 29) and Georgia Hennessy (three for 57) were the pick of the home bowlers.

Heather Knight scored 91 but when she fell at 195 for five in off the final ball of the 37th over Storm were in trouble. However, Shrubsole blitzed her way to 61 from just 41 balls and hit the winning boundary off the final ball of the match to secure a dramatic victory for her side.

The second time the two sides met was in last year’s competition at Emirates Old Trafford. It was a clash that Storm won by two wickets (D/L method).

Seren Smale (57) and Deandra Dottin (46) helped to ensure that their side reached 242 for five after being asked to bat first.

Chasing a reduced target of 239 from 48 overs, Storm reached their total from 44.3 overs for the loss of eight wickets. Dani Gibson top scored with 56 from 40 balls.

Storm came out on top by six wickets when they faced Thunder earlier this season at Sophia Gardens.

After being invited to bat first, the visitors were dismissed for 214 from 44.4 overs. Emma Lamb made 74 whilst Chloe Skelton claimed three for 36. There were also two wickets each for Dani Gibson and Lauren Filer.

In reply, Storm slipped to 11 for two but Orla Prendergast smashed her way to a run-a-ball 115 and Fran Wilson made 74 as Storm reached their target for the loss of four wickets from just 41.3 overs.


Western Storm will be without Heather Knight, Lauren Filer and Dani Gibson who are all on international duty.

A starting XI will be named from the following squad: Sophie Luff (c), Emma Corney, Fran Wilson, Claire Nicholas, Nat Wraith, Alex Griffiths, Nicole Harvey, Mollie Robbins, Chloe Skelton, Sophia Smale, Niamh Holland, Izzy Patel, Katie Jones, Isla Thomson, Rebecca Odgers and Gemma Lane.


Ahead of the match, Western Storm Head Coach, Trevor Griffin said: “We’ve spoken a lot since the defeat on Wednesday. Everyone was disappointed with the performance and we know that we are better than that performance demonstrated. We didn’t execute the skills that we know we’re capable of.

“Despite the disappointment, there were some positives to take from the game. The partnerships between Katie Jones and Nat Wraith, and Sophia Smale and Chloe Skelton gave us a competitive total and showed the fighting spirit that we have in the squad.

“The players are excited to get out there again tomorrow for our last game and everyone wants to put in a performance that showcases what we can do. There are no easy games in this competition and Thunder have had some good results this year.

“The league table doesn’t lie. We’ve played some good cricket at times but we’ve also played some cricket that’s not been competitive enough. It will be good to get out there tomorrow, execute our skills and walk off having secured the result.”



Captain: Ellie Threlkeld
Head Coach: Paul Shaw

2022 finish: Seventh place
2022 highest run-scorer: Ellie Threlkeld (266)
2022 highest wicket-taker: Alex Hartley (10)

Key winter moves: Thunder have been busy. Six signings include a trio of eye-catching contracted professionals in USA left-arm quick Tara Norris (Southern Vipers) and all-rounders Naomi Dattani (Sunrisers) and Fi Morris (Western Storm). West Indian all-rounder Deandra Dottin, the self-confessed ‘World Boss’, returns as overseas. All-rounder Steph Butler (Central Sparks) and Scottish seamer Hannah Rainey have also inked pay-as-you-play deals. Serial trophy winner Norris last month became the first player to take five wickets in a WPL match in India.

Player to watch: A number of players set for big summers could be chosen – from Emma Lamb to Ellie Threlkeld to England Under-19s wicketkeeper-batter Seren Smale. But let’s go for another England Under-19, the dynamic all-rounder Liberty Heap. A newly-contracted batter-spinner, the Lowerhouse teenager is a real excitement machine with the bat, be it up the order or in the finisher’s role. A breakthrough summer is incoming.