Thunder 236 for 9 (Lamb 68, Arlott 4-36) beat Central Sparks 191 (Freeborn 72) by 28 runs (DLS)

The first day/night women’s List A match at Emirates Old Trafford went the way of Thunder after the hosts beat Central Sparks by 28 runs on DLS in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy.

For Thunder it was a first victory in the competition this season with Emma Lamb‘s 68 the pick of several good contributions with the bat before the England international struck with three late wickets to halt Sparks progress in the run chase.

Abi Freeborn top-scored in the match with a run-a-ball 72 but the Sparks’ No. 3 failed to receive the necessary support to get the visitors over the line as the Thunder spun their way to victory, bowling their visitors out for 191.

The win takes Thunder off the bottom of the table, level on four points with Sparks and Lightning, but with all three teams 10 points behind third-placed South East Stars.

Opening Sparks pair Eve Jones and Davina Perrin made a steady start in pursuit of their 237 target, taking 34 runs from the 10-over powerplay, but in an explosive 12th over Jones pulled Deandra Dottin for the first six of the match before losing her off stump two balls later as the Thunder struck an early blow.

Perrin and Freeborn countered with a 67-run partnership to put the visitors on top either side of a further rain interruption that saw five overs lost from the innings leaving Sparks a revised target of 220 off 43 overs.

Two wickets in three balls by left-arm spinner Hannah Jones brought Thunder back into contention at 111 for three in the 28th over. Ellie Threlkeld had Perrin stumped for 46 while Ami Campbell was brilliantly caught by Laura Marshall at short extra cover.

Freeborn and Emily Arlott ran well to reduce the target to 83 required from the last 10 overs but Freeborn continued to lose partners with the off-spin of Lamb accounting for Arlott, Thea Brooks and Ria Fackrell in quick succession with a decisive seven-over spell of 3 for 26 from the James Anderson end.

Although Freeborn reached a 59-ball fifty she perished to Alex Hartley for 72 at the start of the 40th over and Kate Cross finished proceedings with two wickets from consecutive balls.

Following a delayed start with four overs lost to rain, Sparks inserted Thunder on a pitch offering the bowlers some assistance on a damp and overcast afternoon.

Arlott and Grace Potts made the most of the conditions bowling a tight line and length to make early inroads and restrict Thunder to 28 for 2 from the opening 10-over powerplay.

Arlott took a sensational one-handed catch in her first over to have Georgie Boyce caught and bowled for a duck while Potts, who had been cut for the first four of the match by Dottin, trapped the Thunder overseas allrounder lbw for eight.

It was Lamb – in such fine form this summer – who led a good Thunder recovery, well supported by Laura Marshall in a 90-run partnership from 82 balls as conditions eased.

Lamb made the most of being dropped on 30 at point off seamer Liz Russell to reach fifty for the ninth time this season across all formats from 52 balls while Marshall played with increasing assurance in making 41 before chipping a return catch to spinner Georgia Davis.

Captain Threlkeld helped maintain momentum with 40 from 49 balls in partnership with Lamb before the England opener missed a reverse sweep off legspinner Hannah Baker to depart for an excellent 68 with Thunder 154 for 4 after 30 overs.

Threlkeld and Cross continued the Thunder attack by adding 65 runs for the sixth wicket across 11 overs before both departed in the hunt for late runs; Cross holing out to Campbell at deep midwicket off Potts for 38 and Threlkeld bowled for 46 by the excellent Arlott who finished with four for 36 from her 10 overs.

And Thunder’s 236 for 9 from their 48 overs, and the later revised target, proved to be enough.