Thunder to launch Tape Ball tournament with cultural festival

Western Sydney BBL club Sydney Thunder will launch an innovative Tape Ball League this month with a free South Asian themed cultural festival.

The festival, on Saturday June 29 at Cricket Central in Sydney Olympic Park, will feature casual tape ball games, food vendors, henna painting and face painting, along with appearances from current Thunder stars Tanveer Sangha and Phoebe Litchfield, as well as Pakistani-born former Australian international and Thunder representative Fawad Ahmed.

Festival guests will also be able to hear from comedian and MC Nazeem Hussain, watch performances from Bhangra dancers and Dhol drummers, amongst a host of activities for children.  

The cultural festival will set up a massive 24 hours of entertainment for cricket fans with the final of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup in the Caribbean starting at 12.30am on June 30.

The Sydney Thunder Tape Ball League will start on Monday August 26 and be played over six weeks at Blacktown International Sports Park (BISP). Teams or individuals can register for the tournament at the cultural festival on June 29.

The tournament will be operated by the Cricket NSW competitions team with cash prizes up for grabs for the finalists.  

Sydney Thunder Cultural Festival

What: Cultural Festival to launch the Sydney Thunder Tape Ball League
Where: Cricket Central (161 Silverwater Rd, Sydney Olympic Park)
When: 12pm-4pm, Saturday June 29
Who: Thunder stars Tanveer Sangha, Phoebe Litchfield and Fawad Ahmed. Comedian and MC Nazeem Hussain, Bhangra dancers, Dhol drummers, food vendors, henna and face painting
Cost: The festival is FREE and open to all

Tape ball, traditionally played on the streets with a tennis ball wrapped in electrical tape, is to Pakistan culture what backyard cricket is to Australians. After originating in the streets of Karachi in the 1960’s, the format has also become popular amongst Indian, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan and Nepalese communities.

Ahmed, who emigrated to Australia after turning 30 in 2010 and made his debut for Australia just three years later, played for Sydney Thunder for four seasons from BBL|05.

The leg spinner said tape ball was a wonderful way to mix cricket with culture, especially for South Asian communities.

“Tape ball was a massive part of my childhood and I even played it into my teens and twenties,” Fawad said.

“It really connects the community and for Sydney Thunder to put on this cultural festival to launch their Tape Ball League warms my heart.

“I can’t wait to get down to the festival and meet Thunder fans and the people of Western Sydney.” 

Sydney Thunder Tape Ball League

To REGISTER your interest to play in the Sydney Thunder Tape Ball League, please click HERE or scan the QR code.

Sydney Thunder General Manager Trent Copeland said the club welcomed anyone and everyone to the cultural festival and the Tape Ball League.

“We can’t wait to welcome the people of Western Sydney, the city’s South Asian communities and of course our valued members to Cricket Central for what will no doubt be a fantastic day,” Copeland said.

“We look forward to receiving registrations for the Sydney Thunder Tape Ball League at the festival, but the day will offer so much more than that with some great Thunder players from the present and past, music, dancing and great food.

“It’s a great example of the club immersing itself in our heartland and the fabric of the diverse and rapidly growing population of Western Sydney.

“Whether you want to sign up to play tape ball or not, there will be something for everyone.”

Memberships for Sydney Thunder will be on sale from Thursday June 13. To register your interest in a Sydney Thunder membership, click HERE.

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