After being named one of the country's most-popular sporting sides, Sydney Thunder's WBBL team are spreading the love to Wollongong.
The Thunder announced they'll take one of their home games from the upcoming campaign to the regional NSW city as they look to expand their supporter base.
Both the men's and women's Big Bash Leagues have experienced rapid growth recently, quickly overtaking the A-League and W-League in broadcast and attendance metrics.
This sudden surge has seen twenty20 cricket become the star attraction of Australia's sporting summer calendar and one of the highest attended sporting leagues worldwide.
Wollongong City Deputy Lord Mayor Councillor David Brown believes the match will help drive further cricket participation in the community.
“It’s great to see another major sporting event come to Wollongong. The Women’s Big Bash League has grown remarkably over recent years, entertaining fans with high quality cricket and helping to promote female participation in the sport. I look forwarded to seeing Sydney Thunder take on the Adelaide Strikers at North Dalton Park on 20 November," Cr Brown said.
“North Dalton Park is a beautiful venue for an action-packed game and I encourage all cricket lovers and their families to visit the park to enjoy the exciting cricket from the Big Bash League.”
Adding to their exciting news, the club also announced the signing of wicket-keeper Tahlia Wilson to a two-year contract.
Wilson, a Wollongong local, dominated NSW Women’s Premier Cricket last season, scoring 471 runs at an average of 235.5 for St George-Sutherland to finish as the competition’s leading run-scorer.
Her outstanding performances saw Wilson named Women’s Premier Cricket Player of the Year and awarded the Alex Blackwell Medal, as the best female cricketer in Country NSW.
The 19-year-old joins Thunder from cross-town rivals the Sydney Sixers where she played five Rebel Women’s Big Bash League games last season.
“I’m really excited about joining Sydney Thunder. I’ve had a great a time the last few years in the Big Bash and I can’t wait for the season ahead with my new teammates,” Wilson said.
“A few of the Thunder girls in the NSW Breakers have told me how much the purpose of the club means to them and I’m really looking forward to being part of that culture.
“I hope I can score some runs, but I also want to bring lots of energy to the group and just play whatever role is needed to the best of my ability, whether it’s fielding, keeping or batting.
“It’s really exciting that Sydney Thunder will play in Wollongong. Cricket in the Illawarra region means a lot to everyone, so it’ll be great for us to head there.
“Personally, it would mean a lot to me to play in front of a home crowd.”