By CHESLEY DANIELS
The Grahamstown Cricket Board (GCB) 2021/2022 season kicked off last weekend in all earnest, with some exciting performances in the opening weekend. Cricket is finally back in our stadiums and grounds after a long layoff due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.
We have already witnessed and seen some incredible and match-winning centuries in the GCB 1st League by batsmen Brandon Handley (Cuylerville), Chris Van der Meulen (Salem) and Kyle Van Niekerk (Southwell).
GCB 1st LEAGUE
Cuylerville vs Willows (Shaw Park)
On a batting-friendly pitch, the home side batted first and posted a mammoth 383/5 in their allotted 50 overs. Cuylerville batsmen came out blazing, batting with extreme aggression and putting the Willows bowlers under severe pressure throughout. The home side’s batters took full advantage of the wayward bowling by the Makhanda side and dispatched them all over the park. Captain Brandon Handley top score for his side with a dazzling 130 while receiving excellent support from Chris Gleaves (85) and Jason Beydeveld 82*. Willows fielding was also not up to standard as they used to be and sums up their day in the field. Captain Tando Ngecte 2/50 (9), Olwa Jantjies 2/90 (9) and veteran Melville Daniels who was very economical, took 1/34 (10).
Willows got off to a reasonably good start but lost wickets at regular intervals as Cuylerville’s slow bowlers bowled with great control. Pieter George (55), Carriston Haarhof, Melville Daniels (48) and Emihle Malusi (41) made valuable contributions for Willows, but it was unfortunately not good enough in the end. Mike Micklejohn 4/57, and Steven Gornall 3/37, was the destroyers-in-chief for the home side. Willows end up with 248 all out and handing Cuylerville a deserving 135-run bonus-point win.
Salem vs Rhodes (Salem)
The students travelled to Salem to take on a formidable Salem side. Rhodes batted first and posted a decent 241/7 (50). Captain Alistair De Blocq led from the front and scored a fine 57, while Bradley Van Heerden (59) and Garwin Dampies (32) chipped in with valuable knocks. The home side’s bowlers contained the pressure in the middle overs, with slow bowler Buster Brotherton ended with economical bowling figures of 2/28 (10). Other wicket takers were Ivan Marias 3/75 (10) and Brad Wilmot 2/18 (2).
Salem’s batsmen were in complete control from the onset, putting the student bowlers under pressure with their aggressive batting. Chris Van der Meulen scored a classy match, winning unbeaten century 102* and also claimed the Man of the Match Award. Nick Wilmot was evenly impressive with the bat, scored a fantastic 67, and was involved in a match-winning partnership with Van der Meulen, ensuring an important victory for Salem. Aiden Du Toit 1/16 (5) and De Blocq 1/20 (4) were the wicket-takers for Rhodes. Salem scored 245/3 in 36.3 overs and also claimed a critical seven-wicket bonus-point win.
Makana Sona vs Southwell (Rhodes Prospect)
Makana Sona hosted Southwell on Saturday in overcast and variable weather conditions. Southwell batted first and was restricted to 225 all out in 49.3 overs due to good bowling performance by the young Makana side. Kyle Van Niekerk came to the rescue and was the star performer with the bat, scoring a magnificent 117 (119 balls, 18×4). Young Divash Govender 43 (79balls, 5×4) and James Cameron 21 (20balls) helped their side to get past the 200 mark. The pick of the bowlers for Makana were: Luvalo Lloyd 3/32 (6), Loyolo Sauli 2/29 (10) and Mtunzi Antoni 2/35 (5.2).
Makana lost their captain Lunga Stamper for a duck but regrouped very well with fellow opener Lukhanyo Sam who batted brilliantly for 53 (9×4, 1×6). Wickets tumbled around him as they lost wickets at regular intervals. Veteran bowler for Southwell Murray Hobson was brought to the attack and claimed five wickets in his impressive spell, while spinner Adrian Reed took 2/12 (5). Lungisa Ngqina (41, 34balls) and Lloyd 25* did well at the back of the innings, trying to save their side, but fell short as Makana were bowled out for 164 (36.3). Southwell won by 61 runs plus a bonus point.
GCB 2nd LEAGUE
Shrews vs Early Birds (Rhodes Great Field)
In a much anticipated and entertaining low scoring game, Shrews edged the visitors and won by five runs and a bonus point.
Shrews 53 (9.3)
– Junior Mabodla 12, Dean Van Heerden 12
• Majalamba 4/25, Makhasi 4/19
Early Birds 48 (17.4)
– Majalamba 21
• Mabodla 4/7 including a hat trick, Jamie Knott 2/16, Dean Van Heerden 2/6
Southwell vs Swallows (Southwell)
– Enrico Hilpert 33, Elgin Kohl 30, Marco Loutz 24
• Richard Daly 4/39
– Z Micklewright 55*, M Poole 26*
• Lee Gary Sias 2 wickets
Southwell won by 8 wickets + a bonus point
Station Hill vs Kenton (Station Hill)
Kenton 98 (9.3)
• Dane Jacobs 3/9, Franklin Jacobs 2/18, Kurt Nelson 3/20
Station Hill 104/8 (17.4)
– Franklin Jacobs 29, Codey Jones 19*
• Viren Cook 6/15
Station Hill won by 2 wickets + a bonus point
Manleys Flats vs Salem (Manleys)
Manleys 330/4 (50)
– Clint Lock 184, Keagan Fisher 72
Salem 158 (40)
• Craig Fourie 4/45 (10), Batsa Khan 2/30 (10), Wayne Wiblin 2/24 (10), Rhys Wiblin 2/27 (7.2)
Manleys won by 174 runs + a bonus point
Port Alfred vs Rainbows (Country Club)
Port Alfred 113
– JC Pittaway 44
• T Shotana 6/17 (10)
– Shotana 15, Fish Mpupa 20
• Andrew Pittaway 4/22 (10), Rudi Botha 5/14 (5.2)
Port Alfred won by 39 runs + a bonus point