Saturday will see a repeat of the 2019 Fain Noorvaal final, with Waterkloof taking on a strong Marais Viljoen side. Four years ago, it was very tight, with Klofies scraping a narrow two-wicket victory.
Waterkloof will be the favourites to defend their title, with the Alberton boys seeking to play spoiler on St Alban’s TC Mitchell Oval.
The Klofies have been the most successful team in the competition over the last ten years. Two of those years were lost to Covid-19, but Waterkloof made the final in seven of the eight remaining years, losing only to Garsfontein in the 2018 final.
It has been a special year for the Klofies, who made history by becoming the first team to go back-to-back as champions of the prestigious Westvaal North-South T20 tournament. In another first, they followed that up with a third Titans A-League title in succession.
Much of their success has been based off of a formidable top of the batting order, led by Wian Ruthven, Marcus Bakker, Divan Behrens and captain, Beukes van den Berg. Ruthven and Bakker have been especially destructive and very effective in getting the Pretoria side off to dominating starts.
The Waterkloof bowling attack, spearhead by Jacques van Niekerk, who has taken six wickets in the Noorvaal playoffs, has delivered, too, with Franco Cronje proving especially effective during the middle overs.
Marais Viljoen’s captain and SA u19 representative, Dewan Marais, leads from the front with both bat and ball. He heads into the final fresh off of a match-winning 47 against Potchefstroom Gimnasium in last week’s semi-final.
Their opening batting pair of Sheldon van Wyk and Tristan van Schalkwyk has also been in fine form, and they will look to take the attack to the Klofies’ bowlers.
Marais Viljoen might also be the only team in the competition with the bowling depth to be able to put Waterkloof under consistent pressure. Their new ball pairing of Juan Steyn and Tiaan Kuhn has been instrumental in the side’s success. If they can strike early, they’ll open up the way for Declan Botes to put pressure on Waterkloof’s less experienced middle order.
Saturday is an opportunity for Marais Viljoen to rewrite the history books, while for Waterkloof it’s a further chance to enhance their overwhelming domination of the Noordvaal competition.
The under-15 final will be decided between Garsfontein’s young Ysbere and Hoërskool Rustenburg, with their title-decider also taking place at St Alban’s College.
First XI teams
Waterkloof vs Marais Viljoen at 09:30 at TC Mitchell Oval, St Alban’s:
Waterkloof 1st XI: Beukes van den Berg (Captain), Wian Ruthven, Marcus Bakker, Divan Behrens, Jayden Blom, Alexander Volschenk, Franco Cronje, Jacques van Niekerk, Riley Miller, Ruan van der Vyver, Hernus Marais.
Marais Viljoen 1st XI: Dewan Marais (Captain), Sheldon van Wyk, Tristan van Schalkwyk, Aldre Huyzers, Tian du Toit, Jaden Govender, Caiden Ramage, Declan Botes, Nathan Coleske, Conner Meistre, Juan Steyn, Tiaan Kuhn, Tristan van Schalwyk.