THUNDER STRIKE: When you’re hot you’re hot

We’re off the mark. 

Still on the front foot after six losses, we went to Etihad Stadium with clear plans to execute and they all fell in place. 

At 47 degrees inside the Melbourne coliseum, I nearly climbed the scaffolding and opened the roof myself. 

It was an uncomfortable experience walking into an industrial sized oven and taking on arguably the best team from last year’s Big Bash League boasting two extraordinary Australian cricketers in Aaron Finch and James Pattinson, surrounded by consistent performers in first class cricket and “The Magician” Murali, but it was an experience that needed to be approached head on. 

A win in this game didn’t come from luck and a good pre-game warm up. This came from a season of application.

The Thunder rebuild has been taking its shape all BBL season. 

Training has developed from a run around sun tan to hard hitting, intense sessions day after day. Higher scores, more wickets and great fielding under pressure has taken the Thunder from underperformers to a team playing cricket that the players, fans and members want to be associated with. Unfortunately hard work and improvements don’t entitle you to results.

They certainly pull the reins of the competition back but at the end of the game, regardless how many balls you’ve hit during the week, all that matters is the W or L next to your name. Yes, the Thunder were so close and in the fight for most of the games this year but the standings on the competition ladder may paint a different picture.

I have to credit everyone. 

From the inside to the outside of the Thunder club, everyone worked tirelessly for a win. Game after game, session into session, work never became work. Being able to see obvious improvements in the club was enough to keep everyone motivated and focused moving into our first win. 

This may not be a total changing of the tides, but it’s a step in the right direction and with one win comes a winning feeling that everyone chases.

I was fortunate enough to be infected with the winning feeling and was able to sneak it through the customs gate and into New Zealand for the HRV Cup finals. 

A hurried trip across the Tasman and I’d landed in Auckland ready to rejoin the Northern Districts Knights for their finals campaign. 

Our home ground of Seddon Park in Hamilton hosted our semi-final clash against Canterbury and we were victorious in the final over. Following suit, we took it to the final ball of the 19th over the very next night in the final against The Otago Volts. 

A booming six straight off Otago’s West Indian import Jason Holder spelt victory for the Knights and a Champions League birth. 

A four day trip in and out of New Zealand for two Twenty20 games has opened up a world of opportunity. T20 finals experience, new teammates and an opportunity to play against the world’s best in the Champions League. 

A prospect grasped at the final moment nearly a month ago now has endless amounts of possibilities.

Now back in Australia, about to embark on our last BBL game this season, I walk into training and our final clash with a whole new look on T20 cricket and a confidence only acquired through success in a supporting environment.  In Australia or New Zealand, this BBL season has been one to remember.

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