Both the KZN Castle Premier Leagues in the Coastal region and the Inland region are moving into the final few weeks as a three-way fight for Coastal honours resumes, while Standard Cricket Club are calling the shots in the Inland League.
On the coast, the league has boiled down to a race between Crusaders, Clares and Berea Rovers, with Clares just one point adrift of Crusaders and Rovers at the summit. Crusaders have dominated the club cricket scene in Durban over recent years, but it is exciting to see that the season might go down to the final day on 24 March.
‘We are going for a 10th title this year. We want to get the maximum 20 points out of our final four games, and from there whatever happens, happens,’ said Crusaders coach James Pentz.
‘It has been quite a strange season in that the results have been more up and down, with our two fixtures against Clares being completely different. We beat them comfortably in the first fixture, and they did the same to us in the second game.
‘We were rained out against Rovers in a really good position which was disappointing, but nothing you can control. It has been a very competitive season so far and we will fight to the end again.’
Crusaders will finish their league with a clash against African Warriors, while Rovers have a meeting with King Cetshwayo on 24 March. Clares will have a meeting with relegation-threatened Pinetown Cricket Club on the final Sunday of the competition.
Among the top performers with the bat in the Coastal league is the ever-present Michael Alexander. This talented batsman from Clares has scored 435 runs this season, which have included a top score of 129 at an average of 43.
Tyler Trenoweth is second-highest run-scorer with 388 runs, while Jason Krafft is third with 353 runs.
From a bowling perspective, leading the pack after 14 games is Abdul Hack Razak. The Clares bowler has taken 36 wickets at an average of 7,4 and is seven wickets clear of Neill Jordan with 29 scalps in second, while Adam Mather is in third with 25 wickets.
On the Inland front, Standard Cricket Club look like they are on course for another league title. They currently sit 12 points clear at the top with no losses from their 14 games so far this season. The closest side to them is Varsity, who have one loss, but five no results, which has hampered the team throughout the season.
There is still a clash between the two top teams on the cards with just four rounds left in the league. From a performance perspective, Zingari’s Kevin Strydom is currently the leading run-scorer in the competition with 352 runs that include a top score of 125.
Chasing Strydom are Gareth Rall from Standard in second place with 336 runs, and Sohel Gori from Newcastle Cricket Club is third with 298 runs.
From a bowling perspective, it is Pienaar Buys from Standard Cricket Club that leads the way. In the 11 games that he has played, he has taken 23 wickets with best figures of five for 25.
In the second spot on 17 scalps are Pumelela Payi (Lancashire Cricket Club) and Sewcharran (Cosmos Cricket Club).
The ultimate Dolphins franchise winners will be determined on 31 March, with a play-off between the champions of the KZN Coastal league and the KZN Inland league. The champions will represent KZN at the national club championships.
KZN Coastal Castle Premier League
KZN Inland Premier League Top Half
|Standard Cricket Club 1st||14||11||0||3||60|
|Varsity CC 1st||14||8||1||5||48|
|Lancashire CC 1st||14||6||5||3||36|
|Zingari CC 1st||13||5||6||2||28|
|Newcastle Cricket Club 1st||14||4||6||4||27|
KZN Inland Premier League Bottom Half
|MCC Cricket Club 1st||13||5||5||3||31|
|Cosmos Cricket Club 1st||14||4||7||3||24|
|Young Natalians 1st||14||3||7||4||22|
|Masibemunye Cricket Club 1st||14||2||6||6||20|
|Greytown CC 1st||14||2||7||5||19|
Photo: KZN Cricket Union