Selborne College‘s batsmen made a huge statement on the opening day of the Westvaal North/South Cricket Tournament, chasing down a mammoth 233 to edge out 2019 champions, Centurion, by one wicket.
In a spectacle of power hitting, both of Selborne’s openers notched impressive, quickfire half-centuries.
Jacques van der Merwe led the charge with a blistering 59 from only 25 deliveries, while Ben van der Merwe was every bit as brutally effective, smashing 54 from just 21 balls.
Hayden McKay, in at six, added a hasty 58 from 25, which was just enough to see the team from East London to victory.
For the equally impressive Centurion side, it was Rehan Lues who provided the fireworks. His innings of 71 from just 24 deliveries included three fours and eight sixes at an astonishing strike rate of 296. He was well supported by Divan van Tonder (59, 43b) and Charl Prinsloo (57, 37b), who also put the Selborne bowlers to the sword.
On a difficult day for the bowlers, Wouter Kielblock stood strong for Centurion, bagging a solid return of 2/37 amidst the chaos, while Blade Crane paced the Selborne attack with figures of 2/31.
St Stithians also claimed their first victory of the tournament, topping Rondebosch in a mouth-watering clash of two teams who have strong claims to being number one in the country at present.
The recent SA20 signing from Johannesburg, Lhuan-dre Pretorius showcased his immense talent and power-hitting abilities at the top of the order for Saints. He appeared to be in a class of his own, sprinting to 78 from only 49 balls against a strong bowling attack, while sending the ball to all parts of the ground.
Although his clean ball-striking caught the eye, it was his ability to manoeuvre the ball into space with some deft touches which truly impressed.
Bosch’s Raeeq Daniels kept Saint Stithians in check, delivering a fine spell of 3/13. However, the pick of the bowlers on the day was Anesu Zvinoera from Saints. His 4/30 in four was a crucial factor in the Johannesburg school’s narrow nine-run victory.
Waterkloof sneaked past Grey College after chasing down the Bloemfontein boys’ 145 for 4. That total was more competitive than it appeared as the Pretoria High School Old Boys’ pitch played a little slower than anticipated.
Opener Samu Lephoto was the cornerstone of the Grey batting effort, carrying his bat and accumulating 68 from 59 balls. Towards the end, Ruben Maree added some oomph to the Grey College innings with a valuable 47 from just 32 balls, which included four sixes.
Waterkloof, in reply, were trouble on 96/5, with Darion Rabie causing all sorts of problems for the Pretoria school’s batsmen.
However, a hard-hitting counterpunch of 41 from only 22 balls from Alexander Volschenk turned the tide back in the Klofies’ favour. His knock, together with an important 25 from the young buck, Rico van der Walt, saw Klofies claw their way across the line for a nail-biting two-wicket win.
Centurion 232/5 (Rehan Lues 71, Divan van Tonder 59, Charl Prinsloo 57, Pieter Naude 23; Blade Crane 2/31); Selborne College 233/9 (Jacques van der Merwe 59, Hayden McKay 58, Ben van der Merwe 54; Wouter Kielblock 2/32, Zandre Boezardt 2/40, Rehan Lues 2/39). Selborne College won by one wicket.
St Stithians College 178/5 (Lhuan-dré Pretorius 78, Richard Seletswane 55; Raeeq Daniels 3/13); Rondebosch Boys’ High 169/10 (Josh Neill 36, Jordan Neill 24, Raeeq Daniels 27, Noah Heath 24; Anesu Zvinoera 4/30, Tahsen Orslo 2/19, Kwena Maphaka 2/27, Lhuan-dré Pretorius 2/38). St Stithians College won by nine runs.
Grey College 145/4 (Samu Lephoto 68, Ruben Maree 47; Jacques van Niekerk 2/31); Waterkloof 149/8 (Alexander Volschenk 41, Rico van der Merwe 25, Marcus Bakker 20; Darion Rabie 3/28, Sicelo Matayi 2/36). Waterkloof won by two wickets.