The Eastern Province (EP) Rural cricket side got off to a winning note in the Cricket South Africa (CSA) Rural Competition on Saturday 13 October in King Williams Town. EP narrowly defeated Border by one wicket in a closely contested affair.
The CSA South Section consist of the EP Rural, EP Midlands, Kei, Border Country, Border Aloes, Border Villages and Boland cricket teams.
Despite losing a lot of key players that withdrew at the eleventh hour, EP still managed to field a decent side. The home side batted first and were bowled out for 155 runs in 42.2 overs. EP’s bowlers bowled with great control and discipline, and took their chances in the field. Border lost wickets at regular intervals due to a number of bad shot selections.
It was only Siya Mlonyeni (41) who stood firm to add a decent score for his side. Debutant Alvin Marney, who previously played in the second league for Station Hill, was the stand out bowler for EP. He took 5/16 (4.2) with his away swing and couldn’t have asked for a better debut. He was well supported by Grant Stone 1/29 (9), Cole Wessels 1/31 (7), Thando Ngcete 1/37 (9) and Taylor Ntukela 1/39 (6).
After they were put in to bat, EP lost wickets at regular intervals as their batting line up collapsed. It was left to the experience of Carl Van Niekerk (61*) who came to the rescue with his patient approach at the crease. He and number eleven batsman, Cole Wessels (21*), stood firm and shared a last wicket stand of 74 runs. Athi Kotta 3/34 (9) and Aya Snoka 3/40 (9), were the best bowlers for Border.
“It was a very closely contested affair but I’m happy to take the win at any given day. It was a very stressful week with a lot of players pulling out of the team and we have to adjust the side as management. But I’m just glad we could field a decent side at the end of the day that brought us a win today.” said Melville Daniels, EP Manager.
From here, the EP Rural side will face Border Country on 3 November, while Kei take on Boland, and the EP Midlands clash with Border Villages on the same day.