Wian Ruthven‘s ruthless century and Hernus Marais‘ fantastic five-wicket hall steered Waterkloof to a third consecutive Fain Noordvaal title on Saturday.
Having lost the toss, the Klofies were put in to bat first. Ruthven then took full advantage of what appeared to be batsmen-friendly conditions.
Looking assertive from the first ball, he soon hit his straps. He punished anything loose from the Marais Viljoen bowlers and raced to a memorable century, scoring 117 from only 94 deliveries at a destructive run rate of 124.
His innings included 12 fours and six sixes. Somewhat surprisingly, his opening partner, Divan Behrens, struggled for fluency.
Behrens, though, obstinately looked after his wicket and knocked the ball around to feed the strike to the in-form Ruthven. When he was finally dismissed for 22, the opening pair had already shared a stand of 145 runs.
The Alberton school’s bowlers stuck to their guns and were ultimately rewarded for their patience, with Juan Steyn bagging 3/64 and Tristan van Schalkwyk 2/44.
The consistent Marcus Bakker contributed 37, while a sharp cameo of 36 from 24 balls from the talented Franco Cronje, and a well-played 31 from Alexander Volschenk, towards the end, proved pivotal to Waterkloof tallying a big 301/9 in their 50 overs.
Unfortunately, for Marais Viljoen, their batsmen couldn’t replicate the Klofies’ success at the crease. Thanks to a wonderful display of fast bowling from the promising Hernus Marais, the underdogs were soon in deep trouble on 53/6.
Marais claimed a decisive 5/13 in six overs, which included an outstanding 29 dot balls.
Caiden Ramage fought valiantly for Marais Viljoen, making an impressive 35 from 42 balls, and he found good support from Juan Steyn, who counterattacked with a run-a-ball 28. Nathan Coleske did a solid job, too, making 27.
However, another two wickets from Jaydon Blom put the final nail in the coffin as Marais Viljoen stumbled to a platry 130 all out, leaving Waterkloof the winners by a mammoth margin of 171 runs.
The first-ever Noordvaal women’s final saw Noordheuwel come out on top against Potchefstroom Gimnasium.
Magdaleen Ernst led the way for the Norries, top scoring with a wonderful 68 from 46 balls, which helped her side to an imposing 183/9 from their 20 overs. The talented 15-year-old Deidre van Rensburg was the mainstay with the ball in hand for Gim, bagging three wickets for 33 runs.
She followed that up with a scintillating knock of 105 from 73 deliveries but, apart from Thlotlo Bogatso‘s 20 at the top of the order, none of the other Gimmie-batters had any answers to the high quality of the Noordheuwel bowling, and they came up 22 runs short of their required target.
Waterkloof 301/9 (Wian Ruthven 117, Marcus Bakker 37, Franco Cronje 36, Alexander Volschenk 31, Divan Behrens 22, Beukes van den Berg 22; Juan Steyn 3/64, Tristan van Schalkwyk 2/44); Marais Viljoen 130/10 (Cayden Ramage 35, Juan Steyn 28, Nathan Coleske 27; Hernus Marais 5/13, Jaydon Blom 2/18). Waterkloof won by 171 runs.
Girls’ First XI
Noordheuwel 183/9 (Magdaleen Ernst 68, Kaylan Potgieter 26; Deidre van Rensburg 3/33); Potchefstroom Gimnasium 161/4 (Deidre van Rensburg 105, Thlotlo Bogatso 20; Magdaleen Ernst 2/22). Noordheuwel won by 22 runs.