Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Sydney Thunder: Brilliant Billings returns to Thunder

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Photo Credit: Sydney Thunder

A passion for Western Sydney and the chance to help build a team that can win the KFC BBL title has brought Sam Billings back to Sydney Thunder with the English star today inking a three year deal and a commitment to play each season from start to finish.

Billings’ signing is a massive coup for Thunder coach Trevor Bayliss and General Manager Trent Copeland with the 32-year-old attracting the attention of a number of other BBL clubs, as well as several of the UAE’s ILT franchises and teams in South Africa’s T20 competition.

It will mark an emotional return to Sydney’s west for Billings who fell in love with the region’s people and culture more than a decade ago when he played a season of Premier Cricket for Penrith.

The wicketkeeper / batter, who has represented England in all three international formats, later returned to spend two seasons with Thunder in BBL|10 and BBL|11, helping guide the team to the finals in back-to-back seasons before spending the last two summers at the Brisbane Heat.

“I must thank the Brisbane Heat for two great years up in Queensland,” Billings, a new father of a baby girl, said.

“I loved my time up there at a wonderful club. Met some brilliant people and managed to contribute to winning a BBL.

“Hopefully I can do the same and help build a winning culture at Sydney Thunder moving forward. Really excited for the project moving forward.”

“I love Sydney and in particular Western Sydney and the chance to come back to a family club that is so connected to their members and fans and the people from the area was too good an opportunity to ignore.

“On the field we are pulling together a really good squad and the chance to work with such an accomplished coach as Trevor Bayliss again was very appealing.

“The BBL is in such a great place these days, it’s well run, well supported and definitely the best tournament in the world staged at that time of the year. That’s why I have committed long term and to be here right until the end of the tournament each year.

“At this stage of my career and life, where I play, the people I play with and the community I am part of is really important to my family and I and I know Sydney Thunder provides me with the best opportunity to enjoy my time and play some really good cricket.”

Copeland, the former Test seamer and Thunder player, said Billings embodied what Sydney Thunder’s new era looked like.

“Sam’s made no secret of the fact he loves Thunder and our community in Western Sydney and in all our discussions with him he made that very clear,” Copeland said.

“The beauty of bringing a player the calibre of Sam Billings to the club is not just the elite skillset he brings to every facet of the game but also his leadership on and off the field.

“Sam genuinely wants to make a difference and connect with the community and for him to leave the Heat, who won the BBL last season, and want to come back ‘home’ to Western Sydney is massive for us.

“Our memberships went on sale today and we expect the news of Sam’s long term commitment to the club and the squad we are building to be something those members and fans can really get on board with.”

Billings’ signing comes off the back of the announcement yesterday that the club had secured the services of teenage prodigy Sam Konstas for two years and last month’s confirmation that Thunder will play more matches in Western Sydney this summer, with four fixtures set for ENGIE Stadium in Sydney Olympic Park.

Memberships for Sydney Thunder are now on sale. To purchase from our range of membership packages, click HERE.

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