There was nothing to separate Fichardtpark and Goudveld at the conclusion of a roller-coaster 50-overs-a-side match in Welkom on Saturday.
The visitors, from Bloemfontein, won the toss and elected to field first, allowing Goudveld to set the target.
Despite early success for Michael Cruywagen, who took two wickets in the second over, opener Keagan Frankenfeld laid a solid platform for Goudveld with an innings of 44.
His 60-run partnership with Ruben Crous proved crucial as runs were hard to come by. Eldonn Bodenstein‘s contribution was also hugely important. He played the longest innings of any of the Gouties’ batsmen, sticking around for 58 deliveries and scoring 33 runs.
Towards the end, Cruywagen added a third wicket to his tally to finish with the fine figures of 3/28, which helped Fichies dismiss the home side for 160 in 33.3 overs.
The Gouties’ bowlers had to find their rhythm quickly to protect their low total when Fichardtpark took their turn at bat, and Goudveld got exactly what they needed when Hendro Boardman struck with the first delivery he bowled. He would go on to match Michael Cruywagen’s return of 3/28.
Ulrich Campher and his captain, Eben Botha, batting at three and four, then shared a steady partnership of 45 to give the squad from Bloemfontein a base from which to work. Campher’s 38 was also his side’s highest total on the day.
Bongi Kumalo, though, proved to be a thorn in Fichardtpark’s side, capturing three wickets, including that of the Fichies’ captain, to stunt any momentum that the visitors were building.
At the beginning of the 35th over, though, the visitors needed only three runs to win, but they had only one wicket in hand, on 158/9.
A single and a wide from the first two balls by Boardman drew Fichardtpark level, and it looked like they were going to steal an epic victory.
Boardman tightened his attack, though, and delivered two dot balls. The Fichardtpark tailenders, feeling the pressure, lost patience and tried to scamper for the winning run, only for MJ Hattingh to be run out at the bowler’s end, thus resulting in spectacular tie.
Though Fichardtpark will feel like the victory slipped through their fingers, it was a thrilling match to welcome in the 23/24 season for both teams.
Goudveld 160 (Keagan Frankenfeld 41, Eldonn Bodenstein 33, Extras 32, Ruben Crous 25; Michael Cruywagen 3/28, Davyd Oosthuysen 2/24, Stian Kruger 2/32); Fichardtpark 160 (Ulrich Campher 38, Extras 38, Michael Cruywagen 24, Eben Botha 21; Hendro Boardman 3/28, Bongi Kumalo 3/33). Match tied.