I now have a much better understanding on how the universe works. For the last 5 years, Sydney Thunder fans have looked at the Big Bash table, wondering why it couldn’t be our team playing in the finals. Why we hadn’t won a Premiership. Wondering when our moment in the sun would come.
And yesterday our moment in the sun finally came. I am calling it destiny that the Sydney Thunder have made history. We will go down in history as the first winners of the inaugural WBBL competition and by being the first BBL franchise to win both the men and women’s competition in the same year. It’s been worth the wait.
Whilst yesterday was all about the Sydney Thunder, the Final acted as a tremendous advertisement for the game of cricket. My tip is that BBL06 is going to be even better.
It began with the women’s WBBL Final between the Sydney Thunder and the Sydney Sixers.
At the beginning of the WBBL season you would have been hard pressed to have found many people in Australia who would have known the names of more than 5 of our female Australian cricketers. I’m confident that with the television coverage of the WBBL, the way that fans have embraced it over its inaugural season and the tremendous skill and talent that these women have shown, that the landscape begins to change.
I am hopeful that people will now begin to talk about the #spintwins from the Sydney Thunder – Erin Osbourne and Maisy Gibson. That people will compliment Alex Blackwell on her marvellous strategy as she captained the Thunder to victory. That people will keep an eye on players like Lauren Cheatle – the young and quirky 17 year old who is one of the best talents in Australian cricket.
And that’s just the players from the Sydney Thunder. I haven’t even mentioned Ellyse Perry, Holly Ferling, Grace Harris, Kris Britt, Suzie Bates, Marizanne Kapp and Sarah Aley. All current stars or stars of the future.
Yesterday’s game had everything. Skillful bowling, masterful tactics, dropped catches, boundaries, stumpings – joy, heartbreak, determination and courage. Highlights for me included Claire Koski’s stumping of Ash Gardner (which showed tremendous resilience following her earlier error which meant Ellyse Perry was able to bat on), watching the #spintwins (Erin Osbourne and Maisy Gibson) shine with figures of 3/21 and 2/21 respectively and the poise of Alex Blackwell in the field and with the bat.
The WBBL will continue to go from strength to strength next year. We learnt a lot this year and have the opportunity to capitalise on it next year.
The biggest question I had yesterday was about playing the women’s Final on the same day as the men. By playing before the men, we have the opportunity for television coverage, allowing the girls to play on one of the biggest stages in Australian sport and making the day of the Finals a real spectacle.
However, the women’s match began at 1.40pm. With one of the biggest drawcards of the Big Bash being how short it is, by the time the men’s game began at 7.20pm, spectators would already have been in the audience for 5 hours. By the end of the men’s game, what is celebrated as a short match has become longer than a Test match. Not as family friendly or as time conscious as what the BBL might like.
Further, with both teams in the Final being from Sydney, it is likely that a bigger crowd would have been in attendance had the game been played in Sydney.
But as I said – this is an opportunity to grow and be better next year. So hold on, because women’s cricket is well and truly on the rise.
So many moments stand out for me in the BBL Final between the Melbourne Stars and the Sydney Thunder. Perhaps my favourite though was the guard of honour which David Hussey and his Melbourne Stars gave departing Sydney Thunder captain Mike Hussey. Cricket is a gentleperson’s game and this gesture was another demonstration of why.
The match was a fitting end to what has been a tremendous tournament.
Usman Khawaja made 70 runs off 40 balls. Ben Rohrer hit the winning runs in style, with a beautiful six straight from the middle of the bat. KP gave another masterclass, with 74 from 39 balls. Chris Green and Shane Watson led the bowlers with 2/17 and 2/27 respectively. There were boos from the crowd, cheers from the Sydney Thunder bay and in the end two teams from one Club being photographed together as victors in BBL 2016.
When I began my Big Bash journey 2 months ago, I never could have predicted the joy that the competition could have brought me. I have spent my summer evenings either in attendance at Spotless Stadium or the SCG or watching on television at home. Chris Lynn, Dan Christian, The Big Show, The Wild Thing and Andre Russell have become household names. #BBLEmojis became a thing. I ducked as a hurtling ball came flying my way. I shook as I met Freddie Flintoff after a Sydney Thunder home match. I learnt the Zooper Dooper dance. I learnt about power plays and the difference between leg stump and off stump. I made new friends. I accepted electric green as a colour into my wardrobe. And I got 2 premierships out of it.
These victories mean so much to the Sydney Thunder – to everyone working at ThunderHQ, to the fans and to the players.
For years, the Thunder have been the underperformers in the competition. These victories have come through hard work and a concerted effort to ensure that the team is successful both on and off the field.
I want to thank everyone at the Sydney Thunder for bringing the fans so much joy this season. It has been such a pleasure cheering for you and watching you take this year’s competition by storm. Enjoy these victories because they are both so well deserved.
I can’t wait to see both teams running out for BBL06.
Ladies who Legspin xxx