Sydney Thunder grateful for the Manuka Oval home advantage

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Sydney Thunder fans Mahen and Lesen de Silva in Canberra

SYDNEY Thunder captain Callum Ferguson has penned some heartfelt words on playing in Canberra and its passionate cricket followers, just weeks before his side could return unexpectedly back to the capital.

The Big Bash franchise played in five of the six Canberra matches at Manuka Oval of the new season amid one of two initial playing hubs influenced by the pandemic.

But as the outbreak of a NSW coronavirus cluster continues to threaten, the Thunder could be forced to switch their four home games – and possibly home finals – from the Sydney Showgrounds.

The Thunder are scheduled to return to Sydney to host fixtures on January 13, 18, 24 and 25.

Manuka Oval would be the obvious choice as the annual host of at least one Thunder game every year since 2018.

Ferguson said in a letter to the members of the Thunder nation that the appearance of lime green among the Canberra crowd ensured “we were never short on inspiration”.

“Playing in Canberra has been a wonderful experience for the entire Thunder squad,” Ferguson said.

“We’ve benefited from playing at a world-class cricket stadium, and it’s also no secret that many cricketers rate Manuka Oval’s pitch as one of the best in the nation.”

The Thunder gained a distinct home ground advantage after winning four of their opening five appearances of the season at Manuka Oval.

But Ferguson also intimated there was plenty of unfinished business left in Canberra.

“I also trust, that like me, you left Manuka Oval at the end of each match feeling as though it was a great and worthwhile experience,” Ferguson said.

“We hope it our stay in Canberra has inspired many children to love cricket and to want to play the sport.

“The team’s only disappointment during our stay was that we couldn’t mingle with our members and supporters at the end of each match (as we normally do) because of the COVID-19 restrictions.

“Spending time with our members and supporters is something we all enjoy because we gain plenty of energy from the time spent with them.”


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