By MATTHEW PETERSEN
Last Sunday afternoon, the dramatic clash of blue and white in the springtime sky provided the backdrop for a Grahamstown Cricket Board (GCB) league match between the Rhodes first team and Willows Cricket Club.
Having played on Saturday afternoon against Makana Sona, Rhodes searched for a win with spots available in the squad for the University of Sports South Africa (USSA).
Willows batted first and started comfortably. An injury to Lelethu Cekiso hampered the Rhodes team. He bowled well at the start of the innings but was forced to miss the remainder of the game. Willows scored reasonably throughout the innings, with opener Edrich George doing most of the damage. Willows posted a brilliant score of 281/9 in 50 overs. George top-scored with a magnificent 115 runs. He had good support from Marquin Loutz and Duane Brown, who scored 44 and 28, respectively. Bradley Van Heerden was the pick of the Rhodes bowlers with 4/26 in ten overs, well supported by fast bowler Sphamandla Mungeka, who returned figures of 3/25 in six overs.
Chasing 282 for victory, Rhodes started poorly and found themselves 34/3 after only nine overs. A composed knock from captain Allister De Blocq and top-order batsman David Blenkinsop saw Rhodes steady the ship. Blenkinsop top-scored with a brilliant 81 and was supported well by De Blocq’s 39. Unfortunately, wickets tumbled amidst the struggle to keep the runs ticking. Rhodes scored 206/9 in 44 overs (Cekiso was unable to bat due to his injury). The pick of the Willows bowlers was Marquin Loutz, who took 3/18 in ten overs. Rhodes lost by 75 runs, and Willows picked up a bonus point.
Rhodes applied themselves well and maintained concentration despite chasing a daunting total. The team will now turn their attention to the USSA event from 8-12 December 2021. The Rhodes Team is as follows:
Garwin Dampies; Denham Shepstone; Allister De Blocq; Adrian Wright; David Blenkinsop; Brian Ngugi; Bradley Van Heerden; Viwe Makeleni; Nicholas Dettmer; Sphamandla Mungeka; Sanele Ngezena; Siyo Qupe; Robert Klopstra; Junior Mobodla
We wish the team well ahead of the tournament and trust they will proudly represent the Purple and White.