It will be a change of scenery for Border this week as they take on Boland at the Alfred Schoeman ground, home of United cricket club in Buffalo Flats, in their Sunfoil 3-Day Cup and CSA Provincial One-Day Challenge matches.
Last season, Border managed to play all their home matches at Buffalo Park, however sudden changes in the fixtures due to the Global T20 being postponed and Cricket SA’s decision to bring the Ram Slam T20 fixtures forward, resulted in the clash of franchise and provincial fixtures with the Warriors set to play the Cobras at Buffalo Park on Sunday.
The Alfred Schoeman field is the next best facility in East London and is used when Buffalo Park is unavailable. Police Park was another option, however their outfield and cloakrooms were not conducive for first-class cricket.
In the past, Border had taken a provincial fixture to Fort Hare in Alice, however the logistics in terms of accommodation and travel costs were not practical.
“I think there will be a lot of support from the area and the team is looking forward to the experience,” Border coach Frank Plaatjes said. “In the past United has been our second home, so it is familiar surroundings for us and I think the team will enjoy it.
“The plan is to do well there, we want to use the ground to our advantage and get a positive result against Boland.”
The Border squad named for the two matches is largely unchanged from the one that played Northern Cape last week.
Only opening batsman Mkhululi Calana is unavailable, while captain Gionne Koopman will still have to pass a late fitness test after injuring his thigh muscle in the past weekend’s one-day game.
Returning to the squad from Warriors duty will be Aya Gqamane, while Fort Hare all-rounder Bongolwethu Makeleni will be in line to make his Border debut in one of the games. “We have not made many changes to the squad, we are trying to keep as much continuity going as we can,” said Plaatjes. “Koopman is a worry, if we lose him it will be a big blow to the team, but it will also provide one of our fringe players with the chance to impress.”
In their last games against Northern Cape, Border lost their first three-day match of the season before rebounding well to win the one-dayer.
They will be hoping to get two positive results against Boland this week to give them a boost in both competitions.
“I am still happy with the form of the guys, I actually said to them that one bad session (against Northern Cape) does not make us a bad team, and I was happy with their response in the one day,” said Plaatjes. “I am quite confident that we will do well against Boland.”
The Sunfoil Cup match will get under way tomorrow at 10am and should conclude by Saturday afternoon, while the one-day game is set to start at 9.30am on Sunday.