Now is the time for KZN Inland to climb in Provincial Challenge

2010-01-21 00:00

COACH Doug Watson and the KZN Inland cricket team, under the captaincy of Tim Drummond, stand a good chance of advancing a rung or two up the Provincial Challenge three-day ladder, when they meet basement side Free State in Bloemfontein from today.

Second-last Inland have Namibia and Border just a few points ahead on the log table. Inland also know an extremely strong KZN Coastal squad clash with Namibia at Kingsmead this weekend should easily see the beating of the Windhoek side.

However, a warning bell must be the fact that the Diamond Eagles franchise don’t have a match this weekend and some of their under-performing players may well be released to Free State, their younger sibling, which will make matters that much more difficult for Inland, who, as yet, don’t have the option of calling on Dolphins players not registered with local clubs.

Sunday’s 40-over clash will see Inland determined to pick up from where they left off, after their excellent win against Easterns at the PMB Oval a fortnight before. Free State are a bit higher up the table, but an Inland win will see Watson smile as his side leapfrog a few others on the ladder.

Coastals are joint top of the 40-over log with the Eagles’ other sibling, Griquas, and they will more than fancy their chan­ces against the Namibians in this format of the game.

Inland have lost Kyle Nipper to the Dolphins this weekend, but Morne van Vuuren’s availability for the three-day match — he managed to get time off work — does compensate somewhat.

Watson, the most capped Dolphins cricketer, said from a chilly Bloemfontein yesterday evening that Nipper’s elevation just proves that PMB players don’t have to go to Durban anymore in order to be noticed by the Dolphins selectors.

“It’s brilliant for Nips as well as Inland, as it shows promising young cricketers in the KZN capital that they don’t have to play in Durban to be recognised,” Watson said. “If you have the right approach and take your chances with consistently good performances for Inland, you will get a Dolphins call-up.”

Watson said Durban club cricketer Brady Barnes has made the trip up the N3 in a bid for provincial recognition and is the new face in the Inland squad. Brady, not to be confused with the Dolphins-contracted Bradley Barnes, has signed with Inland Premier League club Lancashire.

A preview of the Inland/Coastal KZN women’s derby, that takes place at the PMB Oval on Saturday, will be included in tomorrow’s KZN amateur cricket wrap.

KZN TEAMS

Inland: Tim Drummond (captain), Mario Olivier, Oliver Humphries, Bradley Moses, Glen Addicott, Chad Barron, Morne van Vuuren, Mbasa Gqadushe, Kimeshan Chetty, Narvaar Harridave, Richard Hlela, Dipak Anand, Brady Barnes. Coach: Doug Watson.

Coastal: Bradley Barnes, Myron Pillay, Khaya Zondo, Cameron Delport, Jon Kent, Greg Fotheringham, Keagan Eccles, Vyash Gobind, Keshav Maharaj, Saidi Mlongo, Quinton Friend, Kyle Buckthorpe, Michael Alexander, Fabian Crowie. Coach: Sakele Simon.

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