Tough job to maintain success

2014-04-06 14:00

The cavernous Wanderers Stadium was the scene of the Cape Cobras’ last four-day disappointment two seasons ago.

Dubious weather and recalcitrant batting by the hosts conspired against the Cobras.

They had to watch the Titans steal their hard-earned title from the 2010/11 season with a massive win against the Dolphins.

As they played a jovial game of football before training, ahead of their last game of the season against the Highveld Lions, coach Paul Adams was able to look back on a highly successful season in which his team participated in two finals, one of which was shared, with pride. They accrued the necessary batting points to clinch the Sunfoil series.

They again shared the Momentum 1 Day Cup with the Titans this year, but lost to the Dolphins in the Ram Slam T20 final, with the consolation of competing in the Champions League T20 later this year.

The Western Province three-day side won the second-tier competition for the first time.

Adams was happy with how his young players, who performed well last year, stepped up a notch this season, even though there has not been an outright trophy to show for their efforts.

“It has been a magnificent season, even though the finals’ results have not been to our liking. Getting into the Champions League is massive for us,” Adams said. “A player like Stiaan van Zyl has kicked on well this year and is the top run scorer again this year, which was the case last year. No one has come close to him this season.”

What has impressed Adams the most is the performance of the three-day side, which has not been able to match the lofty standards of the franchise side.

Franchise partners Boland did not do too well, finishing seventh in the 14-team competition.

With the Cobras being a team that suffers regular national team call-ups, Adams said it is important that their pipeline is able to step up when asked to do so.

“We always try keep an eye on our pipeline because at the end of the day, it is our lifeblood. It has given

us players who have been able to stand up and be counted when they have been asked to take up the franchise reins,” Adams said.

“It also lends valuable experience because you have the youth coming through at that level and we get the blend right with the experienced campaigners.” Captain Justin Ontong is one of the most

experienced franchise captains around and with no prospects of a test recall, local success could be his ceiling. With the youngsters having been at the forefront of the title challenge, Ontong said an eye has been cast on maintaining the standards next season.

“Every season brings new challenges and I can’t foresee what the future holds for us. It will be up to the management and the senior players to ensure that the legacy is kept glowing and the environment is kept healthy and glowing,” Ontong said.

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