Alex Hartley, the North West Thunder captain, inspired her side to a comprehensive win on a pitch at Liverpool which offered the spinners more as the game went on. Hartley finished with figures of four for eight as Thunder won by 71 runs.
It was their second win over Lightning in as many games during the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, as their game plan was played to perfection.
Having lost a game against Central Sparks on a similar pitch last month, it was a good case of lessons learnt for Thunder. The plans were evident from the moment Hartley won the toss - put a score on the board and then take the pace off the ball, bowl tight lines and give nothing away.
Lightning had the in-form Bryce sisters to bat and with a target of 189 to they would have been confident that they could chase the target down. When the two came together, things were starting to look good for the Midlands-based side as they were beginning to settle into a groove.
Sarah Bryce (24) who had scored fifties in her previous four innings was the first of the sisters to fall, beaten by a yorker from Natalie Brown. Kathryn was dismissed in the next over by Hartley thanks to a brilliant bit of keeping from Ellie Threlkeld. Hartley and Threlkeld then combined again to dismiss Lucy Higham without scoring.
Lightning were in trouble at 63 for 4 and matters did not improve as Hartley's miserly spell continued. Thunder’s spin trio of Hartley, Hannah Jones and Liberty Heap gave little away.
Abbie Freeborn, who had kept tidily for Lightning, was the batter that their hopes hung on. Whereas the Thunder bowlers bowled tight lines, Lightning were guilty of giving away too many free runs; 43 extras of which 37 were wides added to the Thunder total. It somewhat took away from what would have been a decent bowling effort.
Again, Kathryn Bryce was amongst the wickets with 4 for 38. It was stubborn innings from Georgie Boyce and Nat Brown that dragged Thunder to a total that they could defend. Both were run out, Boyce on 31 and Brown on 51.
Brown had played a crucial innings in the game at Trent Bridge between these two sides, and again she proved difficult to shift. With a target over 150, it was always going to be difficult for Lightning to win on a pitch that was difficult to score runs on.
It will be a difficult result for Lightning to take. It was the first game in which they were outplayed. With one game left to play this year, it will be interesting to see how they bounce back at Leicester next week.
Thunder, on the other hand, will go into their derby against Northern Diamonds with a growing confidence that they can win their last game.