By CHESLEY DANIELS
This past weekend, we witnessed some explosive and highly entertaining cricket in the Grahamstown Cricket Board (GCB) T20 Competition.
Fixtures took place at various venues for both the 1st and 2nd league teams.
GCB 1ST – SHAW PARK
Host Cuylerville, Southwell and Willows Cricket Clubs competed against each other in a round-robin format, where the two top teams advanced to the semi-finals. Willows were the standout team on the day and beat both teams comprehensively. Cuylerville beat Southwell in a had-to-win game to book a place with Willows in the semis. Southwell lost both their games and was knocked out of the competition.
Willows vs Cuylerville
Willows went in to bat first on a tricky wicket early in the morning, which provided a lot of assistance for the bowlers. Willows batsmen struggled to get in terms with the conditions and lost two early wickets due to disciplined bowling by the hosts. They pulled through without losing many wickets and ended with a moderate 107/4 in their allotted 20 overs. The inform number three batsman Cariston Haarhof batted superbly and with composure, top-scoring with a hard-fought 38 and put up a decent partnership with Abner Accom, who contributed 24. He and the hard-hitting Marquin Loutz came in and blasted a quick-fire unbeaten cameo of 24*
Jamie Renton 2/28 (4), Francois Klopper 1/13 (4), and Ryan Beydeveldt 1/31 (4) were the wicket-takers for Cuylerville.
Willows came out firing in pursuit to defend their target. Their bowlers kept the pressure on throughout the intense encounter and kept the opposition batsmen at bay. Chris Gleaves (39) and captain Brandon Handley (28) fought extremely hard, but their efforts were not enough in the end. Cuylerville came close, but Willows bowlers kept their composure as they ended with 102/6 (20), five runs short from victory. Willows won by five runs.
Cuylerville vs Southwell
The must-win encounter between these two arch-rivals was very competitive and intense, but the hosts put up a great fight that saw them knocking out Southwell in convincing fashion.
GCB 1ST – SALEM
Host Salem, Sidbury and Makana Sona competed against each other on the lovely small ground. Salem dominated affairs by winning both its matches, while Makana beat Sidbury, who lost both their games and were automatically knocked out of the competition. Salem and Makana, therefore, advanced to the semis.
Salem vs Sidbury
Sidbury batted first and put up a decent total 165/8 in their allotted 20 overs, enabling Salem to chase down over 8-runs an over. The Nel brothers Francois and Juandre, were in top form with the bat, contributing 45 and 39* runs, respectively. Justin Dollery 3/18 (3), Leard King 1/14 (3), Sikholele Tom 1/27 (3) and Ivan Marais 1/44 (4) were the wicket-takers for Salem.
Captain Buster Brotherton (27) and James Mullins (61) gave their side a flying start as openers and put pressure on Sidbury’s bowlers from the onset. They laid a solid foundation for Chris Van der Meulen (44) and Simon Amm (39*), who finish matters off in style towards the end.
Brian Upman 2/9 (3) and Callum 3/9 (3) did well for Sidbury. Salem scored 167/3 (12.5), winning by seven wickets.
SALEM VS MAKANA SONA
Salem batted first and posted a mammoth 196/7 (20). Once again, the in-form and star batter James Mullins came to the party with an entertaining and flamboyant 83. He was again well supported by captain Buster Brotherton with 25, Chris Van der Meulen 25 and Leard King 17*.
In reply, Makana were bowled out for 132 runs, handing Salem a 64-run win. Tom 4/24 (3), Dollery 2/30 (3), and Marais 1/26 (3) took wickets for the winning side.
Sidbury vs Makana Sona
In a must-win encounter to qualify for the semis with Salem, the two sides battled it out in the final match. Makana saved their best performance for last to beat Sidbury. Sidbury made 107 and Makana 108. Upman scored 40 and took 1/46 (4), while Juandre Nel took 2/26 (4) for Sidbury.
Manleys 2nds and Port Alfred produced consistent performances at their respective venues and came out on top in their knock out competition.
T20 1st Semi-Finals: (Saturday, 22 January 2022)
1. Willows vs Makana Sona
2. Salem vs Cuylerville
T20 2nd Final: (Saturday, 22 January 2022)
1. Manley Flats vs Port Alfred