Fiery Warriors right in the groove

STRETCHING OUT: Lions' Rassie van der Dussen feeling a little cramped for space in the crease against the Warriors at Buffalo Park on Saturday Picture: MARK ANDREWS
STRETCHING OUT: Lions' Rassie van der Dussen feeling a little cramped for space in the crease against the Warriors at Buffalo Park on Saturday Picture: MARK ANDREWS
After a weekend that went almost perfectly for them the Warriors are now breathing heavily down the necks of the table-topping Titans as they hunt another piece of silverware in what is turning out to be a superb season for the Eastern Cape franchise.

They have moved up a place to second on the log on 86.70 points and now trail the Titans by just 5.60 points, after being just under 15 points behind before the latest round of matches.

The Warriors claimed a whirlwind 29-run victory over the Lions, while the Titans drew with the Cobras and the Knights drew with the Dolphins, which allowed the Warriors to switch places on the log with the Knights.

“I am ecstatic, I think we got over 20 points in this game which we are really excited about it as it puts us right up there,” said Warriors captain Jon Jon Smuts after the game.

“We are really well placed and it makes for a very exciting final few games of the season.”

It has been an amazing season so far with 18 matches played, with 16 of them draws and just two wins, the Titans and Warriors both beating the Lions.

This makes it a very congested table as the top four are only separated by under 14 points, while the bottom of the table Lions have now slipped 30 points off the pace.

The Warriors next three games are all at home against the Dolphins, Titans and Knights, before they round off their season away against the Dolphins again and they will be hoping to utilise the homeground advantage.

“We still have two more games here in East London and one more at St George’s, so it is something we are really looking forward to going into the back end of the season and hopefully we can give ourselves a good chance,” said Smuts.

“The next game at St George’s is going to be four days of really hard graft, hopefully we can play good cricket and come out on top against the Dolphins.”

In the past weekend’s win over the Lions the Warriors saw the emergence of a possible future star in Tladi Bokako.

The 24-year-old Bokako, playing in just his sixth franchise match, produced a match-winning spell in the morning session on the final day of the game, claiming three wickets for no runs in two overs as he blew through the Lions top order.

He finished with innings figures of 4/15, a franchise best, and 5/44 in the match to signal his intent of becoming a major threat for opposition sides in the coming matches.

“We are really happy with this first win of the second round and hopefully we can get another in the next match against the Dolphins,” said Bokako. “It was very crucial to get those early wickets, I trust myself and backed my skills and it came off in the end. I am very happy with my effort, hopefully I can pick up some more wickets in the coming games.”

The Warriors take on the Dolphins at St George’s Park from Thursday morning, before returning to Buffalo Park against Titans and Knights in March.

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