It may not have been the dream ending for Loughborough Lightning yesterday at Hove – beaten in the final by a rampant Lizelle Lee – but having finished top of the group stages, with 7 wins from 10, in reflection they really ought to look back on this campaign as a success.
A part of this was the contributions of their international superstars – Rachel Haynes finished the tournament as the 5th highest run-scorer; with Sophie Devine 2nd in the list of wicket-takers. Devine also hit 269 runs in the campaign; and there were solid performances from England’s Amy Jones, with 202 runs, and Jenny Gunn, with 14 wickets.
And then there was Kirstie Gordon.
Hang on… Kirstie Whodon…???
Unless you’ve been paying attention to county cricket, you’ve probably not heard of Kirstie Gordon, but the former Scotland international, who is now pursuing her career in England, finished the season not only as Loughborough Lightning’s leading wicket-taker, but the top stump-botherer in the whole KSL.
The signs were all there of course – she was the leading wicket-taker in county cricket in 2018, taking 35 wickets across both formats for Notts; but the KSL is a significant step-up from the County Championship, and to finish with even a handful of wickets would have been an achievement. To finish, as Gordon did, with 17 wickets at an Economy Rate of just a shade over 6, was outstanding.
As Lightning captain Georgia Elwiss told CRICKETher after the final:
“She is a real find – she has been absolutely brilliant. She stands up in the big pressure moments, and for someone that’s playing in her first season of KSL, that says a lot about her as a person.”
“She is a great character to have around the squad – she is always up and about, always lively, and brings loads of energy.”
“She works really hard [and] she deserves everything she is getting – there will definitely be more to come from her.”
Whether “more” includes one day pulling on an England shirt, only time will tell; but if it does, this season for Loughborough Lightning will be where it really started.