By MARK CARRELS
PINEAPPLE cricket delivered a first league nail-biter fit for a semi-final when Southwell’s Dylan Kruger (94 not out) led his side to a two-run victory over defending champs, Salem, at the PAHS fields on Friday 10 March.
Chasing 259 for victory, Southwell still needed 37 off the last four overs. Though the target was a stiff one at that stage, Kruger who took advantage of two dropped catches, flayed the Salem bowlers to all parts of the ground to seal the game. He was particularly severe on fast bowler Salem’s Brynn Wakeford in the closing overs, launching him for a few sixes. In fact, Kruger cleared the PAHS boundary five times in his innings after a cautious start.
That they won the match with four balls to spare, is evidence of how close it was. The Southwell supporters, who kept spurring their team on, roared with delight when the second ball of the last over was played down to third man, earning Southwell the right to play the final against Cuylerville at Country Club on Saturday. Kruger’s clubmate, Adrian Reed, did well to play a supportive role in the closing overs.
Chris Friderichs’ 46 gave the innings the momentum it needed further up the order.
Earlier Salem compiled 258 all out with Nic Wilmot (97) and Nic Zimmerman (83) scoring the bulk of the runs. Jesse van Rensburg (4/39) and Adrian Reed 3/55 were the pick of the bowlers for Southwell.
In the other semifinal on PAHS B field, Cuylerville thanks to a captain’s knock by Brandon Handley (99) and F Klopper’s 101 not out saw them reach 295 all out.
Grahamstown Invitational could only manage 209 all out in their chase with the ever-dependable allrounder Tom Loutz’s 65 the only runs of note in their innings. Frank Norval’s 3/20 stood out among the bowlers. That GT Invitational are a talented side with plenty of fight is not disputed. “We just need to learn to be patient,” said a frustrated Loutz after the match.
Grahamstown Cricket Board League leaders Southwell and Cuylervilkle once again go head to head in today’s finakl.
Fixtures Saturday 11/03/2023
1st league (main final)
Southwell v Cuylerville – PA Country Club
1st league Plate Final
Sidbury v Rhodes -PAHS A
2nd league final
Port Alfred v Cuylerville – PAHS B
Stormberg v Gypsies – Hospital fields