The Eastern Cape team was the toast of the annual South African Special Schools (LSEN) National Cricket Week after they were crowned champions of the 2017 edition at Buffalo Park on Thursday evening.
The weather-affected tournament saw a number of games washed out after rain fell on almost every day of play, including Thursday’s final day, where no matches were possible.
However, the Eastern Cape team had done enough by that stage to seal the Platinum (A) division title, just edging out Gauteng on nett run rate, while Western Province finished third.
“Everything was perfect,” said EC coach, Mnonopeli Mfenqe.
“This was the first time that I have been part of this tournament, so it was fantastic that we won it.’’
Eastern Cape were possibly a little lucky in their first game against Western Province, when the match was called off late in the day due to dangerous conditions. With the match in the balance it could have gone either way, with both themselves and WP receiving full points for the game.
They, however, then kicked it up a notch by beating a Border Invitational team on the second morning and the Gauteng EO (second) team that afternoon.
On Wednesday they then played log leaders Gauteng LSEN and a superb performance saw them take full points, drawing the two sides level, with the title decided on nett run rate.
“It was great to go through unbeaten and I just want to thank everyone, especially the players, for the hard work and effort they put in,” said Mfenqe.
Other awards were handed out on the night, including the batsman of the tournament, which went to Andre Isaac of South Western Districts, who scored 107 runs, including a top score of 85, and the bowler of the tournament, which went to Bathabile Masigo from North West, who claimed 10 wickets.
In the Gold (B) division, Easterns were comfortable champions ahead of North West in second and Northerns in third.
“It was an extremely close tournament. We have never had it decided by such a tight margin and it was really exciting,” said SA LSEN chairman, Theo Boshoff.