By Chesley Daniels
Willows Cricket Club opened their Grahamstown Cricket Board (GCB) 2023/2024 1st League season with an impressive and comprehensive 7-wicket bonus point win over Rhodes at the Great Field on 30 September 2023.
Willows won the toss and sent the home side into bat on a rather unprepared and uneven wicket. Tando Ngcete took two early wickets for Willows as Rhodes found themselves on 31/2. Willows’ bowler piled on the pressure with the new ball and took wickets at regular intervals. Adrian Wright got a lifeline when he was dropped on zero and went on to score a hardworking 25, whilst also putting up an invaluable 46-run 4th wicket partnership with Captain Dave Blenskinsop. Peter Claasen also earlier contributed a fine 28.
Young spinner of Willows, Alanzo Gysman, was off to a shaky start with the ball, but finished off with his best bowling performance for Willows with excellent figures of 4/22 (5) including a hat trick. He was brilliantly supported by fellow spinner Sonwabile Mazele who bowled magnificently against the wind and picked up 3/13 (5), while veteran swing bowler Melville Daniels claimed 1/23 (6).
Willows lost an early wicket in the form of opener Ruwayne Brooks with the score on 16 but batted aggressively after that in their run-chase approach to avoid the rain playing a role in the outcome of the match. Opener Jongile Kilani was the more aggressive partner and wasted no time to score a hurricane 35 (3×4) before he was unlucky run out. He and Seth Faltein (21) put up a quick-fire 2nd wicket partnership of 51 runs. In came Cariston Haarhof and Sonwabile Mazele who had an unbeaten 51-runs in just 5 overs to finish matters off in fine style. Haarhof (26*, 3×4, 1×6) and Mazele (20*, 2×4) played superbly towards the end and finished unbeaten while securing a 7-wicket bonus point win for their side. Spinner Bradley Van Heerden took 1/59 (9) for Rhodes as Willows reached 122/3 in 18.3 overs.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Young spinner of Willows, Alanzo Gysman, was awarded the Grocott’s Mail and Daniels MEDIA Man of the Match Award for his excellent bowling figures of 4/22 (5). After a shaky, slow, and nervous start, the short lad came back strongly and regained his confidence. He produced his best bowling performance for Willows whilst also taking his first hat trick in his cricket career
RHODES VS MAKANA SONA – GREAT FIELD, 1 OCTOBER 2023
Rhodes was host again to visitors Makana Sona on 1 October. Rhodes was hoping to get a win to regain their confidence after a heavy defeat the previous day against Willows.
Rhodes batted first and posted a mammoth 282/6 in their allotted 50 overs. Rhodes’ batters came out guns blazing and batted beautifully and with sheer confidence throughout their innings. Adrian Wright was in good touch with the bat and went on as top scorer with a fantastic 73. Captain David Blenkinsop was in the act of things again with the bat and contributed a stylish 59 runs, while Bradley Van Heerden made an unbeaten hurricane 43* and Peter Claasen 32. Fast Bowler Lakhanya Sam was the standout bowler for Makana Sona and took three wickets for his side.
The visitors had a slow start to their mammoth run chase, to bat down the target as wickets tumbled at regular intervals. Rhodes bowlers bowled good lines and lengths and put the Makana batters under constant pressure. It was again the evergreen left-arm spinner, Bradley Van Heerden, who came to the party for his side with the ball and took 4/26 (9.4) in the process. He was well supported by Lelethu Cekiso 2/22 (5), Thomas Knight 2/22 (6), David Blenkinsop 1/17 (5) and Sphamandla Mungeka 1/5 (4). Former Rhodes player, Viwe Makaleni, was the top scorer for Makana Sona with 21 while Lakhanya Sam contributed 18. Makana Sona was rolled out for 127 runs and handed Rhodes a comprehensive 155-run bonus point win.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Rhodes All-Rounder, Bradley Van Heerden, produced an all-round performance to earn him the Grocott’s Mail and Daniels MEDIA Man of the Match Award. The EP Rural player contributed with both bat and bowl for his side and was again on top form. He scored an unbeaten 43* and also took 4 wickets to help his side in a crushing win over Makana.
GCB 1ST LEAGUE LOG – 01 OCTOBER 2023
- WILLOWS – 6 (1)
- RHODES – 6 (2)
- CUYLERVILLE – 0 (0)
- SALEM – 0 (0)
- SIDBURY – 0 (0)
- SOUTHWELL – 0 (0)
- MAKANA SONA – 0 (1)