This week promises to be an exciting week for women’s cricket with the Rachael Heyhoe Flint trophy beginning on August 29th. The Women’s tournament is named after former England captain Rachael Heyhoe Flint, Baroness Heyhoe-Flint, who died in 2017.
The tournament will comprise of 8 teams, pooled into two groups, competing in a series of one-day matches to be played between 29th August to 19th September. The top team from each group will advance to the finals to be played on 26th September to determine the overall winner of the tournament. The one-off tournament is expected to provide much-needed match practice to England domestic players after the suspension of cricket for several months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are thrilled to announced our 15-strong squad to represent the East Midlands region in this summer’s Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy. ⚡
— Lightning Cricket ⚡ (@Lightningcric) August 20, 2020
The two groups are named ‘North Group’ and ‘South Group’ and include the following teams:
North Group: Central Sparks, Lightning, Northern Diamonds and Thunder
South Group: South East Stars, Southern Vipers, Sunrisers and Western Storm
The Lightning team, representing the East Midlands region of Loughborough University, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire, have revealed their 15-strong squad for this tournament.
Following players will represent Lightning in the competition:
Abbey Freeman (Yorkshire) – Abby Freeman started her domestic career as a wicket-keeper in the last season in 2019 in the 50-over format. Representing Yorkshire, she played 7 one-day matches where she took 2 catches but also scored a half-century on debut, scoring 58 against Surrey. She now has a chance to claim her spot as a wicket-keeper for the Lightning side in this tournament.
Bethan Ellis (Warwickshire) – Bethan Ellis has participated in the 2018 and 2019 domestic season for Warwickshire. As a batter, she has an excellent record scoring 201 runs in her last 10 outings scoring 74 against Ken in the 2019 season and another 69 against Cornwall in the 2018 season. She can also bowl and has picked up 4 wickets in those games, bowling on 4 instances. But Lightning will be looking for her batting contributions in this tournament.
Grace Ballinger (Loughborough) – Grace Ballinger is a promising tall, left-arm seamer who can swing the ball both ways. She was a key part of the under 17s Warwickshire side that won the National Cup in her ninth season playing age-group cricket for the Bears, and she is now making her way through the second XI and breaking into the first team. Her talents have resulted in call ups to the England training squad. She was also part of the School Games in 2018, picked as one of the best young 39 female cricketers in the country, representing Loughborough.
Ilenia Sims (Staffordshire) – Ilenia Sims has represented Staffordshire in the 2018 and 2019 domestic one-day season. She has performed admirably for her side as a bowler picking up 16 wickets in her last 10 outings including 2 three-for. She has been quite unlucky missing out on the Kia Super League and now has a chance to progress in her career and realize her full potential in this tournament.
Katheryn Bryce (Scotland) – Katheryn Bryce is a 22-year old player from Scotland. She is one of the few cricketers in this tournament to have played at the international level. She made her international debut for Scotland in 2018 and has so far played 14 T20Is scoring as many as 400 runs with 3 half-centuries at an average of 50. Her best knock came in the last match that she played, an unbeaten 73 against the Netherlands in 2019. She will be lending her experience at the international level to the other players.
Leah Kellogg (Derbyshire) – Leah Kellogg has played for Derbyshire in the 2018 and 2019 50-over domestic season and has established in her side and a key bowler. She has been consistently among the wickets and has picked up 7 wickets in her last 10 games. This call-up strengthens her prospect to break into the national side soon.
Nancy Harman (Sussex) – Nancy Harman has played for Sussex since 2017 and has emerged as a key bowler for her side. She has picked up 15 wickets in her last 10 matches with the career-best figures of 6 wickets for 40 runs against Warwickshire and 4 wickets for 16 runs against Lancashire, both in 2019. She would hope to have a similar performance in this tournament to progress her career.
Ria Fackrell (Warwickshire) – Ria Fackrell, aged just 20, is another promising talent from Warwickshire. She played with Warwickshire from the 2017 domestic one-day season, scoring an unbeaten 65 in her last game, against Lancashire in 2019. That innings helped her get a call-up to the Lancashire Thunder side in the last season where she had not played many games. She will hope to get a few more opportunities in this tournament.
Sarah Bryce (Scotland) – The second international player in the side, Sarah Bryce is the younger sibling of fellow team-mate Katheryn Bryce. Representing Scotland as a wicket-keeper, she has an excellent record with the bat, having scored 511 runs in 20 T20Is with an average of just under 40. Her highest score of 65 also came against the Netherlands in her last match in September 2019. As a wicket-keeper, she has 29 dismissals to her name – 14 catches and 15 stumpings. She will lend valuable insight into the side in this tournament with her international experience, along with her elder sister.
Lucy Higham (Nottingham) – Lucy Higham was a part of the Nottingham squad for the 2019 domestic one-day season before being picked up by the Loughborough Lightning side for the 2019 Kia Super League. She was given a chance in only 2 of their games and this call-up represents her best opportunity to showcase her skills.
Sophie Munro (Nottinghamshire) – Sophie Munro played for the Nottinghamshire side in the 2019 domestic one-day season and had shown her bowling skills by picking up 14 wickets in just 7 games. Her performance included a four-for and 2 three-for. She will be a key bowler in the side and will be expected to pick up wickets to derail the opposition in this tournament. This can be the opportunity to get noticed among the selectors.
Bethany Harmer (Norfolk, Essex) – Bethany Harmer started her career with Norfolk in the 2018 50-over domestic season before signing up with Essex in 2019. She is known for her batting but her contribution has so far been modest. She will look to better this record in the tournament, given an opportunity.
Shachi Pai (Lancashire) – Playing with Lancashire in the domestic one-day set up in 2018 and 2019, Shachi Pai, aged 21, has had a modest return in the game so far. She has another opportunity, having been picked for the side in this tournament.
Alicia Presland (Northamptonshire) and Teresa Graves (Nottinghamshire) round up the Lightning squad.
Speaking about the Lightning squad, Head Coach Rob Taylor said: “I’m really excited by the squad we have been able to get together for the Racheal Hayhoe Flint trophy. With a mix of youth and experience, it gives us a great chance to set the standards for Lightning Cricket going forward and look at the talent our region has to offer. The group has been excellent over the build-up phase to the competition, and everyone can’t wait for some competitive cricket.”
Lightning kick off their season at Trent Bridge on the 29th August against Thunder.