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Match Preview: Thunder v Sunrisers

Match Preview: Thunder v Sunrisers

Thunder v Sunrisers

Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy
Monday May 31, 2021, 10.30am
Chester Boughton Hall Cricket Club

Georgie Boyce believes the North West Thunder’s coaching staff could very well be the best in the country.

Contracted batter Boyce has been training throughout the winter under the guidance of former England women’s head coach Paul Shaw, who is now in the same role at Emirates Old Trafford.

Shaw is being supported by a host of highly respected coaches, headlined by former men’s internationals Stephen Parry and Craig White.

They are helping to guide a young and emerging squad, best exemplified by a quip from Boyce: “At 22, I’m classed as a senior player.

“I’m in the oldies team every time in warm-ups, and I’m not so sure how I feel about that!”

Opener Boyce has been speaking ahead of the Thunder’s Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy clash with Sunrisers at Chester Boughton Hall tomorrow (10.30am).

It is a game which sees the Thunder aim to bounce back from yesterday’s opening round one-wicket defeat to Western Storm at Bristol when the hosts chased down 292 having been 203-7 and 252-9.

She said: “You’d struggle to find a better support staff anywhere in the country.

“The coaches we’ve got here are outstanding.

“Shawsy, as head coach, has been England coach and there are ex-professionals there, some who have only just come out of their playing careers.

“They’ve been absolutely outstanding, and we couldn’t have asked for anything better.”

Former Lancashire trophy winning spinner Parry has already been praised by Thunder captain Alex Hartley for helping her regain a love for cricket after a difficult few years.

Boyce says her own game has clearly benefitted from the expertise around the squad.

“To have consistent training week in and week out over the winter with the cricket staff, and the sports science and medicine staff, has been brilliant,” she said.

“I’m coming into this season the best prepared I’ve ever been. That’s because I’m a professional. I’ve not been able to say that before.

“I’ve been able to invest all of my time into my cricket. Hopefully that will set me up for a successful season.”

Nottingham-born Boyce was run out for 11 at Bristol on Saturday in a game which brought about so many positives for an emerging Thunder side who are aiming to put some disappointing seasons even going back to the days of Lancashire Thunder in the Kia Super League.

Boyce said: “It’s not easy losing games of cricket because you play to win. And that’s what we’re striving for. But we’re also aiming to be better cricketers.

“We just want to take each step as it comes. If we can take the good work we’ve done in the winter into the summer, then winning will take care of itself.”

As the Thunder do build, as a contracted player Boyce will play a key role in setting the standard for others to follow. But she added: “I guess there is extra responsibility on me, but I’m loving it.”

The Thunder play a Sunrisers side beaten by 135 runs on Saturday against South East Stars at Chelmsford, with them failing to chase down 325.

They will have England players Fran Wilson and Mady Villiers available.

Last time out: Thunder: Emma Lamb scored a brilliant 121 at the top of the order to underpin the Thunder’s 291-8, also including an excellent 79 from Australian overseas all-rounder Piepa Cleary.

The pair shared 177 for the third wicket to advance from 29-2.

Kate Cross and Sophie Ecclestone claimed three wickets apiece in defence, but unfortunately the Storm recovered from 252-8 to secure a one-wicket win off the penultimate delivery.

England captain Heather Knight had opened with 91 for the hosts before World Cup winning seamer Anya Shrubsole was their star with an unbeaten 61 off 41 balls.

Sunrisers: Former Lancashire Thunder player Sophia Dunkley posted an unbeaten 104 off 93 balls for South East Stars at Chelmsford on Saturday to underpin 324-7.

Kelly Castle claimed three wickets for the Sunrisers.

In reply, it was always going to be an uphill task, and so it proved as Sunrisers fell to 189 all out, with England’s Tash Farrant taking five wickets. Naomi Dattani top-scored with a middle order 47.

One to watch: Grace Scrivens. Opening batter and captain for the England Academy side, she has scored a 62-ball 94 for Kent this summer.

Seventeen-year-old Scrivens batted at seven for the Sunrisers on Saturday and hit a busy 36, their next best score behind Dattani’s 47.

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