Pineapple pride

Cricketers racking up big scores at annual tournament

BACK AT THE HOSPITAL: A Cuylerville seconds batsman plays to leg in their match against Sidbury seconds at the Port Alfred hospital field on the first day of the Pineapple Cricket Tournament. Sidbury won by five wickets. It was the first time since the 2012 floods that the field could be used to play a game of cricket on. Farmers and other volunteers contributed to removing rubble and restoring the field Picture: JON HOUZET

THERE has been much to celebrate at this year’s Kenrich Motors Pineapple Cricket Tournament, with huge scores being racked up and the Port Alfred hospital field back in play after being restored through the donations and work of local farmers.

The Cuylerville seconds vs Sidbury seconds game on Saturday was the first cricket match on the hospital field since the 2012 floods, when a landslide made the pitch unusable for cricket.

Among the feats at the tournament so far, Willie de Clercq of Kenton Cricket Club took a staggering nine wickets for 16 runs in their game against Tiger Titans at the hospital field on Sunday. It was a bad day for the Titans as they managed only 66 runs in total, and Kenton won by 10 wickets.

But the tides of the tournament turn from day to day. The following day, playing at 43 Air School, the Titans beat Port Alfred seconds by six wickets, with a score of 186/4. Titans batsman Sihle Mkhaliphi scored 101 runs.

It was one of four centuries scored that day. The others were by Cliffie Dell of Cuylerville seconds, who got 107 not out in their game against Early Birds on the Hilpert field; and two members of Sidbury – Grant Stone (158) and Archie Chirinda (104) – in their game against Port Alfred.

That game was another herculean face-off, as Sidbury racked up what they thought was an insurmountable 383 playing on the Port Alfred High School B field. Incredibly, Port Alfred chased and beat that score with 387/9, winning by one wicket.

Pineapple Tournament president Walter Biggs joked that Sidbury was “sleeping outside tonight”.

It was also a turnaround for Port Alfred, which lost to Grahamstown Invitational by 62 runs on the first day of the tournament. The final score in that match was Grahamstown 163 to Port Alfred’s 101.

There were some crushing defeats on day one of the tournament. Southwell 1 won by eight wickets against Manley Flats 1 on the PAHS A field, and Manley Flats seconds beat Rhodes Shrews, also by eight wickets, playing on the Hilpert field.

Centuries have also been scored by D Viviers (112) of Sidbury seconds, Andrew Marshall (108) of Manley Flats 1, Chris Roberts (103) of Southwell seconds and Ross Pittaway (115) of Salem seconds.

There has also been top-class bowling, including a nifty 3/3 by M Daniels of Grahamstown, 4/16 by Brandon Handley of Cuylerville and 4/12 by Andrew Gouws of Salem seconds.

At the annual 60s evening during Pineapple Week on Monday, there was a big turnout of rural cricket veterans and their wives who enjoyed guest speaker Jon-Jon Smuts speaking about his cricket journey thus far.

An Old Graemian, Smuts starting playing for EP in 2007, the year after he matriculated, and was selected for the Warriors in 2008.

“He spent many hours in the nets, including these nets, and it’s through sheer hard work he got where he is” Biggs said.

“I played my first game for Cuylerville on this field,” Smuts said. “It’s quite fitting to come back and speak here.”

He said he was blessed to start a professional cricket career virtually out of high school but added that cricket could be fickle.

“This is my 10th year – it’s taken a while to come through. I was privileged to be chosen to play for South Africa [20/20 side] this year. I only played five days, but they are five of the most important days in my career.”

He said he had never played in a Pineapple Tournament but would love to one day.

Biggs mentioned some tournament records this year, including that Andrew Marshall of Manleys has played 27 tournaments without missing a match, and is still playing at 48. Gary Botha was been in the winning side in nine tournaments, and he is hoping for a tenth.

For the quarter finals today, Sidbury plays Salem at PACC, Station Hill plays Cuylerville at PAHS A field, Southwell plays Kenton at PAHS B field and Port Alfred plays Manley Flats at the hospital field.

Playing for the semi-final bowl, PAHS plays Early Birds at Hilpert field and the Tiger Titans play Shrews at the Air School.


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