Grabbing wickets and smashing balls

Heroes emerge in batting and bowling at the Pineapple Cricket Tournament

AT the halfway mark of the Kenrich Motors Pineapple Cricket Tournament on Tuesday night, it looked like a three-way battle between Southwell, Cuylerville and Salem to be tournament champions in the first league.

Southwell and Cuylerville were shoo-ins, having played all their games in the round robin section, and Salem was leading its section, but had one game to play.

Port Alfred firsts were the biggest losers in their section, losing all their games – against Rhodes, Southwell and Cuylerville.

In the second league, Port Alfred 2 made up for the losses of their first team colleagues, having won all their matches. Cuylerville 2 also looked strong in their section, with one game still to be play.

The C section of the tournament is decided purely on points, and features Tiger Titans, Rainbows, Port Alfred High School, Early Birds and Rhodes Shrews. Tiger Titans were leading by the halfway mark, but still had two games to play.

Based on outcomes in this section, two teams will move up in the rankings next year and play in the tournament second league, replacing two teams who have fared poorly. Rainbows were already favoured, but it was anyone’s game who the second team rising in the ranks would be.

As for those dropping in rank, Manley Flats 2 looked to be a certainty after losing all their games in the round robin stage.

Warwick Tarr took five wickets for five runs, and what made this feat even more incredible was that he took four wicket in four balls

One of the most dramatic clashes on the first day of the tournament last Saturday was between Cuylerville and Southwell at the Port Alfred Country Club. With low scores all round from playing on fields still wet from Friday night’s mini-deluge, Cuylerville just had to chase 84 runs. But a determined effort by Southwell’s bowlers and fielders held them at bay, and Southwell ended up winning by one run, taking Cuylerville’s last wicket in a brilliant run-out. The jubilance on one side and bitter disappointment on the other was evident around the field.

Even though they lost this game, Cuylerville had their own hero in the form of Warwick Tarr, who took five wickets for five runs, and what made this feat even more incredible was that he took four wicket in four balls.

“It might be the first time ever this has been done at the tournament,” said tournament chairman Walter Biggs.

On Sunday, the hero of the day was Brandon Handley scoring 117 not out for Cuylerville 1 in their game against Port Alfred 1 at the Port Alfred High School fields. It was a massive victory for Cuylerville, who scored 239/6, winning by 112 runs.

On Sunday, the hero of the day was Brandon Handley scoring 117 not out for Cuylerville 1

Other significant scores that day were Tiger Titans beating Rainbows by nine wickets, and Rhodes Shrews beating Early Birds by 113 runs. Zakes Simanga of the Titans scored 77 not out.

The Shrews had a reversal of fortune on Monday, when they were walloped by Port Alfred High School by a staggering 177 runs. PAHS’s star was Jayden Roesstorff who scored 73 runs.

Huge victories for some teams continued on Tuesday, with Southwell 1 trouncing Port Alfred 1 by nine wickets, Station Hill beating Southwell 2 by eight wickets and Port Alfred 2 beating Manley Flats 2 by seven wickets. These matches were all shortened to 20 overs because of the rain.

On Monday night former Proteas assistant coach Adrian Birrell was the guest speaker for the 60s Club, a gathering of veterans of tournaments past. New members were inducted and there was a moment of silence for those who passed on in the past year.

It’s fantastic to see cricket alive and well in the country

Birrell spoke about the highs and lows of his international coaching career, including 10 years coaching in Ireland before he was asked by Russell Domingo to be his assistant coach – a role he served in for four years.

Birrell has a local connection in that he owns a farm in the area, and in his youth he played for Sidbury.

“It’s fantastic to see cricket alive and well in the country,” Birrell said. “There’s a whole back end that has to play for the top end to continue. It takes quite a lot to get 27 teams to play in a tournament.”

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