Border’s star all-rounder Jason Niemand picked up the coveted Coca-Cola Hero of he Day award on day two of the Coca-Cola Khaya Majola week on Monday after a brilliant performance against Western Province.
The Hudson Park High School matriculant smashed 131 off 111 balls, before claiming 2/38 with the ball as Border almost picked up an innings win in their time cricket match, with WP just holding on at the end to clinch a draw.
However it was a completely changed performance from day one when Border lost to Northerns by an innings and 24-runs with Niemand contributing just 19 and a duck in two innings, although he did claim 2/12 with the ball.
“Yesterday (Sunday) was very disappointing, we had been preparing for this week quite a lot, we were a bit late to the field and half of the squad are new to the Khaya Majola Coke week, so there were a lot of nerves around and even us the senior players who had been at a Coke week before, we found it tough so I think it was just a bad first day,” admitted Niemand.
“Today the first good thing we did was win the toss (against WP) and we did not run away from it after being skittled out yesterday, so it was good for the team to show that kind of character and win the toss and bat first.
“It means a lot to me that I played well and I think to the side as well and I think with the team really starting to gel it is helping the youngsters settle in and we are getting better every day.”
Niemand’s effort with the bat was aided by his fellow school mate and Border U19 captain Sine Qeshile, who struck 60 in a fantastic 184-run partnership that helped the side post 275/6 declared, after they had joined at the crease with the score on 75/3.
“We didn’t say much, we bat together all the time at school and we do this often, so we just got ourselves in and went through the motions,” explained Niemand.
“We bat really well together, we don’t talk too much, only if a bowler is maybe on top of each other then we will give a bit of advice, but we have a really good relationship between us and playing together for a few years at school really helps.”
WP then reached 143/8 when play was called for the day, seeing them just survive after their lower order defended stoically during the final 10 overs of the match.
Border will hope to take that momentum picked up into the final three days of the Coke week, with them in T20 action against North West and Namibia today, before playing 50-over cricket in their final two matches tomorrow and Thursday, with their opponents still to be decided.