Thunder survived a manic late order collapse to win a pulsating cross-Pennine Charlotte Edwards Cup clash with Northern Diamonds by 56 runs at Sale.
After half centuries for home openers Emma Lamb and Georgie Boyce, both sides suffered major batting problems on a pitch offering signs of uneven bounce.
Lamb made 50 and Boyce 65, the pair sharing an entertaining 95 inside 13 overs. But Thunder slipped from 136 for 1 in the 18th over to post 148 for 7, with Katie Levick taking three wickets in three legitimate balls.
Diamonds, however, were about to undo all of their good work as, including the loss of returning England star Nat Sciver for two, they collapsed to 33 for 6 in the seventh over of their reply. They were unable to recover and were bowled out for 92 in 20 overs.
Left-arm spinner Hannah Jones claimed an excellent 3 for 23 from four overs as Thunder claimed all five points on offer for a bonus-point victory.
Lamb's fourth Thunder score of 50 or more and Boyce's third were central to a competitive score and both came at better than a run-a-ball. The pair shared three sixes, two hit down the ground and the other over midwicket.
Lamb reached her fifty first, off 40 balls, before falling next ball to a brilliant diving catch from Sciver running in from the deep midwicket fence off Abi Glen's seamers. Boyce followed her there off 42 balls, reached with a straight six off New Zealand off-spinner Leigh Kasperek.
But she was the second of the six wickets to fall in the last 13 legitimate balls of the innings as Thunder subsided badly. Levick (4 for 22 from four overs) ousted Shachi Pai caught in the deep, and Ellie Threlkeld and Laura Jackson both bowled at the end of the 18th and start of the 20th overs – but there was a wide in between to prevent a hat-trick being taken.
Emma Lamb carried on from where she left off in 2021 (Image credit: George Franks)
She added the wicket of Laura Marshall with the penultimate ball of the innings, added to two wickets for the left-arm spin of Linsey Smith as Diamonds' four spinners returned combined figures of six for 93 from 14 overs.
While the Thunder were missing England duo Sophie Ecclestone and Kate Cross due to IPL Challenge duty, Diamonds were able to include Sciver as a batter only for her first appearance since the early April World Cup final in New Zealand.
And she was thrust into early action with the bat as national colleague Lauren Winfield-Hill, seemingly hampered by a leg injury suffered in the field, was bowled for a duck four balls into the visiting chase trying to hit Jackson (2 for 16 from four overs) to leg.
But Sciver's first innings of the 2022 summer lasted only 10 balls as she also was bowled pushing forwards at Jackson.
And when Hollie Armitage slapped former teammate Phoebe Graham to mid-on shortly afterwards, Diamonds were 8 for 3 in the fourth over. Jones then trapped Abi Glen and Bess Heath lbw in the sixth over before Kasperek was run out by Alex Hartley as the score slipped to a game deciding 33 for6in the seventh.
Jones later bowled tailender Rachael Slater as wickets continued to fall with the game already decided.
Main image credit: George Franks
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Units 7-8, 35-37 High St, Barrow upon Soar, Loughborough, LE128PY
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