The second half of the Grahamstown Cricket Board (GCB) will resume this weekend in all earnest, with exciting and competitive cricket again expected. The players took a break for the festive season and are raring to go as the league gets more interesting.
Cuylerville are currently the front runner in the GCB first league and are entering 2020 as favourites. They are in first position with 38 points after nine games. Defending champs Sidbury are hot on their heels in second place with 37 (9), followed by Southwell 31 (9), Rhodes 27 (8) and Manleys 24 (9). The race is open and anyone in the top five stands a chance of winning the league. It promises to be a very interesting race to see who is crowned as first league winners.
In the second league, Manley Flats retained their lead on the log with 29 points from six games, followed by Station Hill 25 (5), Kenton 24 (5), Cuylerville 16 (5) and Salem 16 (5). Kenton won the GCB Central Albany Second League last year.
Cuylerville vs Sidbury
This all important top of the log clash will be interesting. Defending champs Sidbury will be eager to replace Cuylerville at the top. It will be easy, however, as Cuylerville have a good record at home. Charlie Muir and captain Brandon Handley are Cuylerville’s in-form batsmen who will again have to play a big role for their side. The two all-rounders Carl Van Niekerk and Greg Evans are currently doing well for Sidbury. They’re highly ranked in the bowling and batting stats of the GCB and will again be a big threat to Cuylerville.
Willows vs Port Alfred
The talented but struggling Willows side will be looking to kick off the year with a win. They will face bottom of the log Port Alfred who have lost all nine games so far, and will be looking to accumulate maximum points. Willows captain Seviano Jasson believes his team can fight back from a dismal and very disappointing 2019 first half of the season.
“I believe in the boys and we are still positive and our goal is to finish the season strong and it requires everyone to contribute.”
The likes of Marquin Loutz, veteran Melville Daniels, Abner Accom, Tando Ngcete and Ruwyane Brooks have to step up to the plate and deliver for their side. All rounder Warren Bowdler is the danger man for Port Alfred.
Manleys Flats vs Salem
Manleys will have the home ground advantage when they take on Salem in their Derby encounter. They captured a few good wins last year. Salem who are currently in 6th position on the log, have the ability to upset the home side. The likes of Kevin Bennett, Nicholas Zimmerman, James Mullins and Leard King, can cause damage. Bonga Draai, veteran Andrew Marshall, Bryn Wakeford and Daine Wiblin are in good form and will be key players for Manleys in ensuring a win for their side.
Station Hill vs Kenton
This will probably be the most important fixture in the second league for the weekend. Station Hill are currently in second position and Kenton in third. Whoever wins will end the week on top of the log, surpassing Manleys. It promises to be a cracker of a clash, as both teams possess quality all rounders. Franklin Jacobs and Alvin Marney are key players for Station Hill while Viren Cook and Tony Pedro are the in-form players to watch for Kenton. This all-important Ndlambe derby will be full of entertainment.
Manleys vs Salem (1st)
Willows vs Port Alfred (1)
Cuylerville vs Sidbury (1)
Sidbury vs Port Alfred (2nd)
Salem vs Rainbows (2)
Station Hill vs Kenton (2)
Southwell vs Cuylerville (2)