Sydney Thunder has signed talented teenager Anika Learoyd to a two-year deal ahead of the upcoming Rebel Women’s Big Bash League season.
A prolific run-scorer, the right-hander hit 541 runs at an average of 54.1 in the 2019/20 NSW Women’s Premier Cricket competition across the One-Day and T20 formats.
Learoyd was also central to the success of the ACT/NSW Country team at the Under 18 National Championships. She finished as the leading run-scorer with 384 runs at 42.7.
“Getting a WBBL contract is a goal that I’ve been working towards for a couple of years now so it’s exciting to see that hard work paying off,” Learoyd said.
“It was a great experience to be invited along to a couple of Thunder training sessions last season and I’m really looking forward to being part of it this season.”
Learoyd, who is a proud Gumbaynggir woman, is an integral part of the NSW Women’s Indigenous team and has also represented the Homestar Finance Thunder Indigenous XI.
The teenager said she was drawn to the club’s commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander engagement.
Through a variety of initiatives and programs such as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander T20 Cup, Sydney Thunder strives to provide opportunities for Indigenous people to celebrate their culture and connect to their communities through sport.
“I’m really proud of my culture and it’s exciting to know that I’ll be stepping into an environment that really supports the Indigenous community,” she said.
Sydney Thunder young gun and proud Kamilaroi woman Hannah Darlington said she is excited to welcome her close friend to the club.
“I’ve seen Anika develop over a couple of years now and I always knew she was going to be a real talent. She’s a really hard-working player and I think she’ll be a great addition to the team," Darlington said.
“It’s going to be amazing to have another Indigenous player join our squad. The fact that the Thunder Nation is so inclusive and connected to culture is something that I really love about our club and feel very lucky to be part of.”
Sydney Thunder Head Coach Trevor Griffin said this is a natural progression for the promising batter.
“It’s exciting to have another high-quality batter coming into our side,” Griffin said.
“Anika has performed really well through Cricket NSW pathway programs and this is a great opportunity for her to step up and showcase her abilities on a bigger stage.”
The WBBL|06 fixture builds on the tremendous success of the inaugural standalone season in 2019-20.
A full 59-game fixture has been scheduled across October and November, with Thunder set to open its season on 17 October against the Scorchers in Perth.
Sydney Thunder WBBL Squad
Head Coach: Trevor Griffin
Contracted for WBBL|06: Rachael Haynes (C), Sam Bates, Hannah Darlington, Saskia Horley, Shabnim Ismail, Sammy-Jo Johnson, Anika Learoyd, Phoebe Litchfield, Lauren Smith, Rachel Trenaman, Tahlia Wilson
Sydney Thunder WBBL|06 Fixtures
Sat 17 Oct | Vs Perth Scorchers | Perth | 5:00PM
Sun 18 Oct | Vs Hobart Hurricanes | Perth | 1:00PM
Sat 24 Oct | Vs Adelaide Strikers | Karen Rolton Oval | 2:30PM
Sun 25 Oct | Vs Brisbane Heat | Karen Rolton Oval | 10:20AM
Wed 18 Oct | Vs Melbourne Renegades | Hurstville Oval | 2:00PM
Sat 31 Oct | Vs Perth Scorchers | North Sydney Oval | 12:15PM
Sun 1 Nov | Vs Melbourne Stars | North Sydney Oval | 10:20AM
Sat 7 Nov | Vs Melbourne Renegades | Blacktown Intl Sportspark | 10:00AM
Sun 8 Nov | Vs Sydney Sixers | North Sydney Oval | 1:45PM
Tues 10 Nov | Vs Melbourne Stars | Blacktown Intl Sportspark | 6:30PM
Sat 14 Nov | Vs Adelaide Strikers | Blacktown Intl Sportspark | 10:00AM
Sun 15 Nov | Vs Sydney Sixers | North Sydney Oval | 1:45PM
Sat 21 Nov | Vs Hobart Hurricanes | Melbourne | 10:00AM
Sun 22 Nov | Vs Brisbane Heat | Melbourne | 10:00AM
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