There will be a poignant occasion when the Salem Family six-a-side cricket tournament pays tribute to one of country cricket’s legends with the opening of the Kingston Terrace at Salem Cricket Club, near Grahamstown, on Saturday.
The new construction, which will be officially unveiled at 4pm before the final, is an acknowledgement of the immeasurable contribution local farmer Cuan King made during a lifetime of service to the club.
King, a highly respected fast bowler in his heyday and no slouch with the bat, died earlier this year after a lengthy battle with cancer. The new addition to the club, which is named after the farm he owned, will ensure that his memory lives on in the community of Salem and beyond.
On the field, despite the early stage of the upcoming season, the action is sure to produce some typically fierce competition as the cricket-mad players of the region pit themselves against each other.
Started in 1979 and held biennially, the tournament will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year after last year’s edition was washed out without a ball being bowled.
Over the years a host of families have embraced the spirit of the occasion, with clan members travelling from far and wide to be part of the day in a community which has a rich legacy of sport, and in particular, cricket.
The Bradfields, Claytons, Longs, Pringles and Purdons have all been part of the action, but this time the tournament will comprise just eight teams.
An interesting aspect will be to see if the Fords can break their duck at the event after having lost in the last two finals. Fairly recent entries into the event, they have a relatively youthful lineup quite capable of taking the honours.
They will open the proceedings at 8am against seven-time winners the Emslies, to be followed by 2013 champions the Amms against the Wilmots.
The Brothertons face the Kings in the third match of the day, with defending champions the Biggs beginning their title defence against the Hobsons, who have won the title six times.
The success of the day and the eagerness to create a type of family reunion has seen the event being expanded to incorporate a golf day on Friday at the Belmont Golf Club.
Warwick Financial Maturity has stepped in to be title sponsor for both the golf and the cricket, which should make for a memorable occasion.
Members of the public are more than welcome to be part of the fun, with lunch and supper on sale at the Salem club and the bar open all day, with live music in the evening.