By Tracy Chemaly
This year’s cricket season ended with Rhodes’ first team coming fourth in the Border Premier League. Not bad for a team that has been having constant battles with its main field, the Prospect field, all year.
Due to the unsuitability of the pitch, the annual inter-residence competition, which would have served as a warm up before this new season, could not take place. Also, the Great field was being used too late into the season for the rugby league.
According to Ian Coulsen, chairperson of the cricket club and member of the first team, his squad of 14 managed to do some pre-season net training at St Andrews High School before the start of their new season four weeks ago.
Kerr Rogers, head of cricket administration, says the Prospect field is now up and running. The Rhodents and Rats (Rhodes’ second teams) and the Shrews (third team) will be playing games on the refurbished field. As part of the first league in the Grahamstown Cricket Board, only the Rhodents have had a game on the Prospect field so far this season. All other games have been cancelled due to rain.
The first team has already played four games, having won two and lost two. Referring to the remainder of the games to be played this term (both of them away games), Coulsen says: “We’ve played all our hard games, so we should win the rest.”
The first team has a lot going for them. Matthew Richardson has been selected for the Border amateur side and was also named Border player of the year for his impressive eight 50s and three 100s last season.
The team will be participating in the South African Universities competition to be held in Pretoria from December 4-8. Coulsen is proud of his side. “Considering the [small] size of our university and its cricket club and the fact that we have no professionals, we do well against teams like Tuks, the University of Johannesburg and NMMU who have centres of excellence and cricket academies.”
The team will be looking to replace their opening batsman at the end of the year, as he completes his studies. Coulsen admits that due to the lack of sport bursaries, it is a challenge to recruit cricketers to come study at Rhodes.
The cricket season will continue into March next year and looks to be in decent condition going into the new season. With a newly elected committee and a fair amount of cricket on the way, the hope now will be that weather can hold out and more importantly that the team can play to their full potential.