Praying for sunshine

2012-11-03 00:00

IT’S been a difficult cricket season for the groundstaff at Pietermaritzburg Oval, but it looks as though fortunes may change for tomorrow’s Momentum Cup one-day clash between the Dolphins and Cobras.

Groundsman Jannie Vermaak is hoping it’s a case of third time lucky, after the two scheduled Sunfoil four-day matches resulted in less than 100 overs played.

Heavy, incessant rain has been the problem, and all the good work done in preparation was dashed by high winds, violent storms and a saturated outfield.

Vermaak said: “It’s been a difficult time, as the weather has hardly allowed us time to prepare. When the rain stops, we will have to work hammer and tongs to ensure we have a decent wicket prepared for tomorrow’s game. I can confidently say we are ready but, mother nature has one more surprise in store — more rain, and possibly storms, forecast for tonight. That’s the last thing we need before a game and this was the cause of our problems during the four-day matches. Every time we just got on top of things and were hopeful of getting underway, the heavens opened and we were back to square one.”

With the covers on the pitch previously blown off in high winds, resulting in water on the strip and no play possible, Vermaak has ensured that, this time around, the strip should remain dry. He is proud of the wicket that has been prepared and is confident it will produce a high quality, exciting limited overs encounter.

“The pitch is in great condition — similar to what was offered for the four-day matches. It’s hard and has been baking in what sun we have had, and should offer pace, bounce and carry,” he said.

Of concern, though, is the outfield, where certain patches tend to hold water, resulting in wet, muddy spots. While the pitch may be ready, these outfield patches need to be dry to allow the umpires to call play.

All is not doom and gloom though. While rain and showers are forecast for tonight, tomorrow’s outlook is somewhat brighter. While clouds are expected early on, these should disappear toward the afternoon, with the mercury rising to 29 Celsius. No rain is expected.

Gates open at 9 am and the match starts at 10 am. Tickets, available at the gate, cost R30 for adults and R15 for children.

DOLPHINS TEAM

Daryn Smit (captain), Kyle Abbott, Craig Alexander, Cody Chetty, Cameron Delport, Robbie Frylinck, Imraan Khan, David Miller, Mthokozisi Shezi, Prenelan Subrayen, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Jonathan Vandiar and Vaughn van Jaarsveld.

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