Pick of KZN cricketers to measure skills

2016-06-29 06:00
PHOTO: supplied Cricketers in action at the 2015 Sunfoil Township Tournament.

PHOTO: supplied Cricketers in action at the 2015 Sunfoil Township Tournament.

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FOR the ninth time in a decade the pick of KwaZulu-Natal’s township cricketers will measure their skills against one another at the 2016 Sunfoil Township Tournament to be held at Hilton College from 28 June to 2 July 2016

This annual tournament is organised by the KwaZulu-Natal Cricket Union (KZNCU) Township and Rural Development Programme in partnership with Willowton Group, manufacturers of Sunfoil cooking oil and the Department of Sports and Recreation in the province.

Its purpose is to give disadvantaged young cricketers the opportunity to compete against other leading players under match conditions in an event which has become an eagerly anticipated beacon on the sporting calendar.

This year, 336 players and coaches will be participating from areas like KwaMashu, Umlazi, Mpumalanga, KwaDabeka, Pongola and Mbali. A total of 24 teams will take part - 12 made up of U15 players and 12 for the U19s. They will play 49 T20 matches in total.

In both the U19 and U15 age groups, eight of the teams will be from KZN, with four teams coming from other provinces. The visiting teams represent Gauteng, Northern Cape, Border and Western Province.

The KZN Sunfoil Elite Squad is announced at the award ceremony on the final day. After the closing ceremony, a team of the best KZN players in each age group take on the top visiting teams in two hotly contested matches.

Shoaib Moosa, Chief Commercial Officer of Willowton Group said that witnessing the journey of these young township players into fine cricketers was an inspiration and one of the many benefits that came from Willowton Group’s sponsorship of the tournament.

“Our sponsorship of cricket in South Africa, through our Sunfoil brand, has taken many forms at all levels over a long period, from the development programmes to the pinnacle of Proteas Test Series cricket. Whilst, all aspects of our support have provided exceptional moments and long-term benefits, our involvement with development cricket at grassroots level is arguably the most rewarding because, for many underprivileged youngsters, it provides life-changing opportunities.”

Sanelisiwe Kuzwayo, the manager of KZNCU’s Township and Rural Development Programme, said the boys were eagerly anticipating the tournament.

“Within township cricket in the province, this is the biggest event that happens. It transforms lives and the boys know this.”

“This is where we identify boys for whom we can apply for bursaries and scholarships at top cricketing schools. This is also where we select the cricketers who will be sent for KZN trials, as well as those who will be part of the high performance programme within the development setup.”

She encouraged members of the public to come and support the boys at the tournament, pointing out that it was not possible for their parents to do so.

Pete de Wet, CEO of the Sunfoil Dolphins, said that KZNCU’s longstanding partnership with Willowton Group in staging the township tournaments had produced outstanding results.

“Our aim is to continually take development cricket in the province to even higher levels and there is no doubt that this is happening. Exceptional young talent is being identified, fostered and cultivated into quality young cricketers who have a real chance of making their mark in the sport.”

“The results speak for themselves. We had 55 township teams playing in the Durban & District Cricket Union league in the 2015/2016 season and they acquitted themselves admirably.”

Three KZN township boys on bursaries from the Sunfoil Education Trust receive financial assistance to attend highly regarded schools such as Northwood Boys and Glenwood.

It was also a fruitful season for the KZN township ladies with seven girls being selected for KZN provincial teams. - Supplied.

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