The rain on the fifth and final day of the CSA Momentum U17 Cricket Week may have brought an abrupt end to proceedings, but that was not enough to dampen the spirits of Border Amateur Cricket manager Deon Muller.
Although Muller did bemoan the rain on the last day, he was quick to focus on the positives. “The tournament was very successful and we were very chuffed to have four wonderful days of cricket, except for the last day,” he said.
“But then again when one compares it to other tournaments, it was a blessing for us and the fact that we were able to play the first four days, whereas in other tournaments there is rain on the first day which hampers the players from producing quality cricket.”
Nonetheless there was lots of quality cricket across the different venues, which Muller was very impressed by.
“ I was very much happy with the schools and the clubs who supported us by hosting the games, with such good facilities,” he said.
In the lead up to the tournament he lamented the important role that the Kat Leisure group would play in accommodating all the teams. He reserved special words of gratitude to them for fulfilling their end of the deal. “Also a very important thank you to the Kat Leisure group, through Russell Osner and his team, they were fantastic and absolutely great hosts,” he said.
Muller went on to praise their excellent service and how it positively impacted on Border Cricket’s image. “They made Border Cricket very proud by the way they hosted the teams, their breakfast and suppers were excellent and everyone last night was echoing how wonderful it was to be in East London.”
The tournaments closing dinner took place on Sunday, at Hudson Park High’s state-of-the-art indoor centre. Although there would be no national U17 team to be selected this year, Muller confirms that there were a few accolades that were given out. “The top batsman Ruan Terreblanche, he scored like three hundreds. The top all-rounder took like 12 wickets and scored a couple of hundred runs as well, so there was quality cricket played and we as Border cricket were very proud to host this tournament.”
Unfortunately none of the Border players were handed awards on the evening, which according to Muller’s unbiased assessment, proves to be a justified decision as the team did not form part of the standout sides.
“For me it (Border’s performance) was 50/50. For instance in the time cricket games, they lost one on first innings and won the other on first innings and in the T20 they won one and lost the other, with the 50 overs game obviously being rained out.”
One of the more impressive players who formed part of the Border side, Nonelela Yikha, who took six wickets against Western Province, and also top-scored with 31 runs in that game, gives the Dispatch a personal insight on that particular game.
“I found it overwhelming, it was a great feeling to carry your team on your shoulders and I would like to thank the coaches for helping me through a difficult time during that match.” he said.
Captain Akhanya Rebe had the difficult task of leading the side through all the pressures that came with being the home team.
“The boys looked up to me for everything, the decisions that I make have an impact on how the game goes as well, I was like the coach in the game, while the coaches were outside, so even with all the pressure, it was a very huge step for me captaining Border U17.”
Looking at the logistics of organising a national tournament, Muller spoke of ways that could improve the flow of future tournaments hosted by Border Cricket. “Certain things like the catering were a challenge. The transporting of food from Buffalo Park to the schools and clubs. In future we will look to the schools and clubs providing the catering, where players could have a sit down meal during lunch, but overall all the teams were happy with the food Border Cricket provided.”
Muller concluded by adding that the Tournament Director was very chuffed and proud about the way they had done business, which is a statement that he hopes will go a long way in helping entice the Coca-Cola Khaya Majola U19 Cricket Week – the premier schoolboy cricket week back to EL for the first time in 12 years.