Newly re-signed Sydney Thunder wicketkeeper Tahlia Wilson would love nothing more than to celebrate her birthday with a big win over the Sydney Sixers this weekend.
The Thunder will be playing their crosstown rivals at North Sydney Oval on Sunday, a day after Wilson celebrates her 24th birthday with friends and family.
Interestingly, Wilson made her WBBL debut with the Sixers before switching to the Thunder in 2019 – making this weekend’s opening round match-up that little bit juicier.
“We all look forward to the Sydney Smash,” Wilson told the Weekender on Tuesday.
“We train most of the year together with NSW and then we break off into our lime green and magenta gear.
“There’s a fierce competition between the both of us and we’re definitely looking forward to being out there.”
Wilson, an up-and-coming Australian star, signed a new two-year deal with the Thunder earlier this month.
The wicketkeeper batter has scored 425 runs in her 43 appearances for the club and is one half of the highest partnership ever in lime green when Wilson and Smriti Mandhana put 125* together against the Melbourne Renegades back in WBBL|07.
Wilson said she decided to stick with the Thunder for a variety of reasons.
“Firstly, I think there’s a lot of good opportunities for me here at the Thunder,” she said.
“Obviously Alyssa Healy is wicketkeeping at the Sixers, so for me to get an opportunity behind the stumps, the Thunder have definitely been able to offer me that.
“Secondly, all the girls that are here as well as the coaching staff and support staff behind-the-scenes, are always really good. And thirdly, this year we have a new coach in Lisa Keightley and I’m really excited by that. I’ve heard a lot of good things about her and what she can bring to a group.”
Thunder fans will be hoping Keightley will be the difference this season after the squad failed to make the Finals for the second straight year last season.
Along with a new coach, the Thunder also recently announced a new skipper in England superstar Heather Knight.
Wilson said she’s looking forward to a more prosperous season ahead both on a personal and team level.
“I think for me this year I want to be on the field for all the games, behind the stumps, and contribute with the bat when I can,” she said.
“As a team, last year didn’t quite go like we wanted it to. I think we need to start this season strong, get our first win and from there build some momentum and hopefully be in the Finals by the end of the season.”
Following the Thunder’s first match against the Sixers this Sunday evening, they’ll then take on the Renegades next Thursday afternoon at the SCG.
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for a decade.