A powerful bowling performance by Hilton proved the difference in a tightly contested match against Michaelhouse to decide the 2014 Sunfoil Schools Night League at The Oval in Pietermaritzburg on Friday, February 14, 2014.
One of the highlights on the city’s calendar, the event is a showpiece of the KwaZulu-Natal Inland Cricket Union and its endeavours to promote the sport in the interior of the province.
The prestigious event also serves as a platform for future stars and is hotly contested by schools in the city and surrounds.
The Sunfoil Schools Night League final also served as the Coca-Cola T20 regional final that will see XXXXX fly the Inland flag against the KZN Coastal representiative to determine the Dolphin franchise winner.
KZNICU CEO Tracy Elliott said the prestigious Sunfoil Schools Night league final served as the perfect platform for the CSA Coca Cola T20 final as Hilton and Michaelhouse won through to both competitions.
“We’re facing weather and time constraints and believe the double billing does justice to school cricket and to Sunfoil’s stature in the city and cricket commun ity at large,” she said.
Winning the toss, Hilton elected to bowl under ideal conditions and pinned down the talented Michaelhouse top order to a run flow of 5.5 runs to the over. Notwithstanding the contributions by skipper Jason Marshal (46) and George Glassock (34 not out), Michealhouse managed a relatively low total of 119/4 with Stephen Reeves, Ethan Bosch and Matthew Lovatt in fine form with the ball.
Hilton took to the field in a determined mood to chase down the 120 target. Two early wickets set them back, but captain Jarryd Edy kept them in the hunt with his knock of 47. Hilton gradually took control of the ssee-saw match to end on 122/6 to claim a well-deserved victory over Michaelhouse.
The primary school final and curtain-raiser to the top tier showdown produced some cricket with Merchiston beating Cordwalles by 35 runs. Batting first, Merchiston posted a total of 112/7 that proved too much for Cordwalles that scored 77/5 in their allotted 20 overs.
The second tier secondary schools final, played on Thursday afternoon, Treverton avenged last year’s defeat agianst Howick with a commanding win and claim the 2014 spoils. Batting first, Treveron scored 121/8 with Craig Warren (42) top scoring and May Mazibuko claiming four wickest for 21.
Howick batted valiantly, but found the going increasingly tough once stalwart Lishen Reddy (30) was dimissed. Ending on 96/9, Howick conceded a 25-run loss to Treverton.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Willowton Group Sales and Marketing Director, Shoaib Moosa, said the success of the league demonstrated that the company was not only batting for cricket as a sport but also for the young people of KwaZulu-Natal who needed opportunities to both realize and reach their full potential.
“The Willowton Group’s philosophy is to encourage our youth to become involved in a sport that focuses on teamwork and develops strong values which is why we chose to sponsor cricket. Sport definitely has a way of bringing people together and helping them achieve their dreams,” he said.
The Night League is a good example of the 360 degree approach that Sunfoil has taken when it comes to the development of cricket from grass roots through to national level,” Moosa added.
He said that while Sunfoil was extremely proud of the achievements of both the national and provincial teams that it supported, it found the achievements of the many children who would not ordinarily have had a chance to develop their talent one of the most rewarding aspects of its involvement in cricket.
“We are truly proud to be associated with the sponsorship of the Sunfoil Night School League for the fifth year. Under Sunfoil’s sponsorship, the tournament has gone from strength to strength each year. Now, we are beginning to realize our vision of increasing the number of quality cricketers produced by the inland region, especially in the interim or middle area between grass roots development and excellence,” Moosa said.
He explained that the aim of the Sunfoil Schools Night League was to market cricket talent in the Pietermaritzburg region. “We do this via the top Pietermaritzburg schools purely to improve the standard of cricket; it is also a means to look at talent for a provincial team.”
KZNICU president Yunus Bhamjee paid tribute to Sunfoil’s support, saying the quality of cricket on show was testimony to the group’s commitment.
“We saw some talented youngsters at the crease this tournament and believe their participation is key to developing the all-important talent pipeline,” he said.
Bhamjee said the crowning of Inland as the 2013/14 limited over champions is attributable to the union’s focus on developing young players.
“The Inland squad is a blend of experience and youth and, clearly, our development efforts are starting the pay off,” he said.
Moosa said that Sunfoil had now taken its support for cricket in KwaZulu-Natal to a new level. “The tournament has now also been aligned with the Sunfoil Education Trust, allowing youngsters who show promise to participate in the programme and apply for bursaries from the start of the next season. This will enable them to unlock their true all round potential. They can now show all players in the programme that cricket has the ability to change lives and, through hard work and determination, prove that almost anything is possible.”
Moosa challenged other businesses to follow in Sunfoil’s footsteps. “What the Willowton Group and the Sunfoil brand have achieved at local, provincial and national level has set a good example for local business to get involved in cricket sponsorship. This way we can contribute to grooming future leaders both within sport and the wider community.”
Michaelhouse vs Hilton (final)
Michaelhouse 119/4: Jason Marshall 47, Nick Glassock 34 n/o, Chris Trenchard 3/14, Stephen Reeves 1/11.
Hilton College 120/6: Jarryd Edy 48, Angus Curtis 23, Dale Beckley 3/11, George Rowles 1/16.
Hilton won by 4 wickets