Sydney (Press Release from Sydney thunder, 9 Sep 2015): Nabin Gurung will be hoping it is second time lucky after being invited to attend the Sydney Thunder Community Rookie Trials for a second consecutive year. Nabin, along with 8 other Nepalese cricketers have been invited to trial for a position on the Sydney Thunder playing roster after their talent was identified at the Nepalese edition of the MoneyGram Thunder Nation Cup. For the second consecutive year, Big Bash side Sydney Thunder is offering one local cricketer the chance to move from their local cricket park to Spotless Stadium to become teammates with the likes of Jacques Kallis, Shane Watson, Mike Hussey and Usman Khawaja.

The opportunity comes as part of the MoneyGram Thunder Nation Cup, a community cricket tournament aimed at bringing different cultures together under the common love of cricket. Representatives from Sydney Thunder will invite the standout players from each MoneyGram Thunder Nation Cup Community Round to attend a day of intense trials where one individual will be rewarded with a playing contract as the Sydney Thunder Community Rookie.

Over 100 members of the Nepalese community came out in force yesterday to Binalong Park, Toongabbie. After each team was given their Sydney Thunder cap and identification number, it was time for the tournament to begin!

The first round of matches saw some thrilling contests, especially the opening match between defending MoneyGram Thunder Nation Cup champions Laligurans and their challengers, West United. West United batted first and scored an impressive 96 runs off their 7 overs. Any score over 80 is hard to chase down in this format, but Laligurans proved why they won the MoneyGram Thunder Nation Cup last year by chasing down the target with only a few balls remaining. This match would prove to be the wake up call the defending champions needed as they dominated their second round match by posting the highest total of the day, 129, against new side Kankai Smashers.

After the completion of the round-robin stage, only four teams remained; Warriors Cricket Club, Chitwan Rhinos, Laligurans and Hamro Youth.  The semi-finals were a tale of two opposites. Laligurans proved far too strong for Chitwan Rhinos and chased down the total set with relative ease. The second semi-final saw Hamro Youth post a strong total of 94 which Warriors Cricket Cub fell just short of.

The stage was set for the Nepal MoneyGram Thunder Nation Cup Final between Laligurans and Hamro Youth. Hamro Youth batted first and after their 7 overs left Laligurans with a target of 65 to win the match and retain their Nepal MoneyGram Thunder Nation Cup title. In the end, Laligurans were comfortable winners and will once again represent Nepal at the MoneyGram Thunder Nation Cup Semi-Finals to be held at Auburn Park on November 15th.

The talent on display throughout the day was evident, with 9 Nepalese men invited to trial for a position on the Sydney Thunder playing roster. These players are: Nabin Gurung, Deependra Thapa, Prayas Manadhar, Sijan Shrestha, Taquar Khan, Suraj Bariyait, Deepak Shrestna, Hemant Achanya and Ganesh DC.

Michael Minassian, MoneyGram’s Senior Regional Director expressed their excitement about once again partnering with Sydney Thunder for the tournament, “MoneyGram is thrilled to be able to support the tournament for a second year. The engagement that the tournament provides to the multicultural community of Sydney is something that MoneyGram is very proud to be supporting”.

‘We are playing Thunder Nation Cup from last 2 years and we feel very privileged to be part of Sydney Thunder family’ said Ajay Kshatry, President of the Nepalese Cricket Association.

Next weekend will see members of the Sri Lankan Community square off against one another for a spot in the Semi-Finals as well as the much sought after invitations to the Community Rookie trials on November 27th.

For further information on the MoneyGram Thunder Nation Cup, visit http://www.sydneythunder.com.au/community/thunder-nation-cup.