RAINFORD'S Ellie Threlkeld hopes watching Lancashire’s men lifting a trophy at Trent Bridge tomorrow (Saturday, September 17) can provide her Thunder squad with that extra little bit of inspiration to follow suit.

Thunder captain Threlkeld is one of a number of Thunder players heading down to Trent Bridge to cheer on the county in their Royal London Cup final against Kent Spitfires. Fast bowler Phoebe Graham is also part of BBC Radio Lancashire’s commentary team for the big day.

Thunder were due to play their final game of 2022 tomorrow, a Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy clash with Western Storm at Emirates Old Trafford. But the clash of dates means that game has been pushed back to Sunday (10.30am), allowing Threlkeld and co the chance to boost the travelling Red Rose contingent.

“I’m certainly going and a few other girls are as well,” said wicketkeeper batter Threlkeld.

“It will be great for both our players and staff to go down and support the lads. Hopefully they can go on and win it.

“The bond we created between the two Originals teams during the Hundred was a really special one, and that’s shaping up the same way with the Lancs lads. 

“It’s not just the players, it’s the staff as well. 

“The support we’ve had from the club has been unbelievable. Daniel Gidney has really helped us out and pushed us forwards, and we’re really appreciative of that.

“We’ve spoken about trying to be one club as much as possible and going down there and watching them bring some silverware home will be really special. 

“Hopefully that can act as an inspiration to our squad, wanting to be in the same position in the next year or two.”

Thunder can’t qualify for the finals of the 50-over RHF Trophy, but they are confident of weathering the Storm and ending their season with a bang on Sunday.

Their only win in five games so far came immediately before the Hundred at Emirates Old Trafford against the Central Sparks in July, while in their last match on Sunday they ran defending champions and current group leaders Southern Vipers oh so close at the Ageas Bowl.

They recovered from 23-3 to post 203, including an innings high 79 for Threlkeld, and then reduced the Vipers to 100-5 before a telling home recovery.

“We played really well, but we need to find ways of winning those games,” reflected Threlkeld.

“The thing about 50-over cricket is who can do the basics well for longer, and that’s definitely something other teams who we’re playing against are showing - their experience in that area.

“It’s definitely a work-on for us during the winter.

“Whilst situations like Sunday are really frustrating, it’s also really good because I’m hoping we’ll have learnt a huge amount from something like that.

“We spoke about it in the dressing room afterwards. Although we were on the wrong end of it, we have to look at how far we’ve come as a team. 

“We weren’t even competing with teams like that a couple of years ago. We played some really good cricket in parts. It’s now just about doing that for longer.

“We believe that if we play our best cricket for long enough, we can beat anyone in this competition.

Thunder currently have six points with a win and a No Result, the latter coming courtesy of the cancelled September 9 fixture against Sunrisers following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

A bonus point win on Sunday, yielding five points, could see Thunder jump from sixth place to fourth, leapfrogging Storm and Lightning, who currently have 11 apiece. Lightning face South East Stars tomorrow.

“Everyone loves playing at Emirates Old Trafford, our home ground, and we’re looking to finish off the season as strongly as we can,” said Threlkeld, whose side includes some younger faces who they are aiming to develop more ahead of 2023.

Those are the likes of Libby Heap, Daisy Mullan and Seren Smale.

“It’s really exciting,” said the skipper. 

“With the position we’re in - not being able to make finals and our England girls missing - it’s a blessing in disguise from my point of view. 

“We love having our England players around - they’re amazing. But this is the time we can expose our youngsters to game time, put them under pressure and see what they’re about in preparation for next year.

“It’s an exciting time for women’s cricket. There are going to be places up for grabs in the team, even contracts on offer. So giving these girls a taste of it will be brilliant for them as individuals and the team.”

Threlkeld shared a fourth-wicket stand of 116 with opener Emma Lamb (63) as they recovered the innings from early strife at the Vipers.

Before and during this season, the 23-year-old skipper has spoken a lot about her desire to perform more with the bat alongside her superb skills with the wicketkeeping gloves.

And it has been an encouraging personal summer in that respect.

In all cricket, including for Lancashire women, Threlkeld has topped 550 runs and has posted scores of 110, 91 and Sunday’s 79.

She added: “I was pretty pleased to contribute, and the partnership with Lamby got us out of a tricky situation. But I was disappointed not to see the innings through. Arguably, I didn’t do my job.

“It’s really nice to be contributing with the bat. It’s something I’ve spoken about in the past. I’m definitely on the right track, but it’s still not enough to be winning us games.”

Threlkeld’s vice captain Georgie Boyce has joined Lightning on loan ahead of a permanent winter move. She played for them last Sunday.

“It’s disappointing to lose Georgie, but we wish her all the best,” added Threlkeld. 

“There might be a bit more movement between teams - and we could bring a couple of players in, who knows. But we’ll make a decision on a replacement vice captain closer to the time (of next season).”