Loughborough Lightning suffered a narrow 17 run defeat at home to Yorkshire Diamonds in their third Kia Super League game of the season, as the rain quite literally rained on their parade.
On a day of intermittent showers at Loughborough University’s Haslegrave Ground the side in pink and purple knew that they very much needed a win, after losing out to Western Storm and Southern Vipers in their opening two games. With a heavy downpour and hailstones delaying proceedings significantly, the game became a reduced overs affair.
With captain Georgia Elwiss winning the toss and electing to bowl first in the revised 13 over game, Beams opened up at 5.28pm on the dot, Lightning restricting Diamonds to 20 off the first three overs. Sonia Odedra was next to bowl, and she took the first wicket of innings, Winfield playing a long aerial shot, caught on the boundary by Beth Langston.
With the first bowl of the 11th over and the score at 86-2, Beams ran out Katherine Brunt off her own bowling, however two balls later Atapattu made amends for her error, notching up her half-century. With the next bowl though Brunt’s replacement Alice Davidson-Richards was dismissed for one, and Lightning were starting to turn the screw.
However it wasn’t enough, despite Langston taking a lovely wicket in the penultimate over, as Atapattu continued her good strokes, eventually racking up 66* by the end of the innings, with Diamonds setting a score of 110-5 for Lightning to chase.
It was a less than perfect start to the batting for the side in pink and purple as Amy Jones was dismissed for just two with the final bowl of the first over, but it got worse as Perry went for five in the next. Lightning finally started to build some momentum, Elwiss picking off a nice four, but Villani was dismissed for six just moments later, leaving her side at 24-3.
Just seven runs later Thea Brookes went for a big hit but was caught by Diamonds captain Lauren Winfield, Lightning rocking at just 31-4. Next to the crease was Sonia Odedra, as finally the home side started to form a partnership, Odedra hitting a big six and Elwiss a nice four as the pair took 12 runs in the eighth over to close the gap.
After a very average ninth over Elwiss really started to find her form, planting a big six into the hedge surrounding the ground, backed up by two further fours to put her on 37 and her side 71-4.
With two overs to go and 33 needed, Elwiss was caught for 41 as she was forced to take risks in chase of that 110 Diamonds score. With 31 needed off the final over, Sarah Glenn caught a lucky edge for a four, but that was the luck that had eluded Lightning all tournament. She hit another four with the next bowl but in the end Lightning finished up 17 short at 93-5.
With that result Lightning’s hopes of reaching Finals Day are all but over, but with two games remaining they’ll be hoping to play some of the cricket they know they can.
Reflecting on her team’s performance captain Georgia Elwiss said:
The amount of time and effort these girls and all the staff here at Loughborough Lightning have put in, we owe it to them to finish the Super League well. We’re hurting, we know that we’ve not played well in these first three games, and hopefully we can turn it around for the last two.
I don’t think we’ve had any luck but you can’t always rely on that; we knew the situation today with the weather and it was the same for both teams. We were quite happy chasing that score down and there’s not really any excuses for that.
Lightning are back in action on Sunday, away at Lancashire Thunder. For further information head to http://loughboroughsport.com/lightning-cricket/