Sportsball

Seattle's Celebrating a Championship Today—in Cricket

A parade at Marymoor Park caps a storybook year for the Thunderbolts.

By Benjamin Cassidy September 27, 2022

Seattle Thunderbolts hold a banner celebrating Minor League Cricket championship.

Future documentary material? Co-owner Vijay Beniwal thinks so.

Remember the Seattle Thunderbolts?

Last we checked on our local cricketers, they were preparing for another season and laying the groundwork for cricket to take off in the region.

Safe to say that foundation is even more solid than it was just a few months ago. After a slow start to its second campaign, the Thunderbolts recently rolled off eight straight victories to win the Minor League Cricket title. The club's improbable run sent notice to fans across the country that the Puget Sound area, the future site of a Major League Cricket franchise, is one of the sport's "powerhouses," says Thunderbolts co-owner Vijay Beniwal.

Nobody was describing our region's local team that way at the outset of 2022. "I think 100 out of 100 people would say, 'Seattle is not going to win this year,'" Beniwal recalls.

Seattle needed four straight victories to even qualify for the playoffs. Then rainy weather, of all things, threatened to curtail the Thunderbolts' season. The squad's initial postseason opponent, the Dallas Mustangs, would have advanced in the event of a total series washout because of its superior regular season record. But the teams managed to get two matches in, with Seattle winning both. The Thunderbolts later dispatched the league's defending champion, the Silicon Valley Strikers, to advance to the final.

In Morrisville, North Carolina, the Thunderbolts saw firsthand what an international-level cricket pitch in the U.S. can look like after bouncing between Klahanie Park in Sammamish and Tollgate Farm Park in North Bend this season. Under the bright lights of Church Street Park near Raleigh, the Thunderbolts triumphed over the Atlanta Fire in the title match. Bowler Phani Simhadri took three wickets and season MVP honors. Harmeet Singh, the club's star spinner who left India for a second chance at cricket glory, lifted the trophy at the end. "This is such a dream run," Beniwal says.

The championship doesn't just come with good feels, either. The club claimed $150,000 with that trophy.

Today they'll spread some of that wealth with hundreds of free tees and caps available to those who attend a victory parade and team photo at Marymoor Park. The celebration commences at 5pm by the sprawling Eastside park's cricket grounds. King County executive Dow Constantine and other elected officials will attend.

It could be a nice reprieve from a tense few weeks in Seattle sports. The Mariners might finally make the playoffs...if they don't choke during a season-ending homestand. Seahawks fans are still deliberating on Geno (and Russ's legacy). And NBA preseason games at Climate Pledge Arena might mean that the Sonics are really coming back this time—or they could just be a tease.

In the meantime, why not check out the future site of our Major League Cricket team. More event details here.

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