ANYA Shrubsole scored a brilliant unbeaten 61 as Western Storm opened their Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy campaign with a dramatic one-wicket victory over North West Thunder at the Bristol County Ground on Saturday.

Chasing 292 to win in 50 overs, Storm looked to be down and out when Heather Knight was dismissed for 91 in the 37th over.

But England World Cup winner Shrubsole smashed six fours and three sixes in an extraordinary 41-ball innings, hitting Sophie Ecclestone for the winning boundary off the final ball of the match to complete a remarkable turnaround.

Emma Lamb had earlier posted a brilliant century as Thunder made 291-8, scoring 121 from 105 balls and sharing in a third-wicket stand of 177 with overseas signing Piepa Cleary, who contributed 79 on debut.

Shrubsole weighed in with three wickets as part of a superb all-round performance, while Georgia Hennessy claimed 3-57.

England captain Knight represented Storm's best hope and she shrugged off the loss of Lauren Parfitt, Sophie Luff, Hennessy and Nat Wraith to almost single-handedly keep the contest alive, posting a 60-ball 50.

But the requirement was for a big hundred and when Knight, having scored 91 from 90 balls (with 12 fours and a six), attempted to pull Cleary, she top-edged a catch behind with a further 97 runs still needed from 13 overs.

Hannah Jones accounted for Fi Morris and Gibson in the 39th over, after which Shrubsole picked up the cudgels with stunning effect, in an unbroken last wicket stand of 43 with Somerset and Weston-super-Mare player Lauren Filer.

Reflecting on the win, Shrubsole said: "We were so far out of the game when I came in to bat that it was easy to be relaxed about it.

"Things became a bit more tense the nearer we got to the target, but it was a matter of holding your nerve and seeing it over the line.

"Our top order has been so good for so long that I've hardly had a chance to make any decent runs.

"That was definitely my highest score for Storm and I'm delighted that it's won us the game.

"Heather [Knight] is a world class player and it was her innings that made it possible.

"We didn't bowl well enough as a unit today, but we always believed we could chase 292.

"It's important to get off to a winning start and we're buzzing in the changing room."

Western Storm's next two fixtures are away from home, as they take on Central Sparks at Edgbaston (May 31) and South East Stars at the Kia Oval (June 5), before they welcome reigning champions Southern Vipers to the Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton, on June 12.