League was a special win for Standard’s ‘close-knit family’, says coach

2014-03-13 00:00

STANDARD Cricket Club were confirmed as the winners of the KZNICU Premier League last weekend despite not a single ball being bowled.

Winning the league was a special achievement for what coach Robbie Coutts described as a “close-knit family”.

“When Kyle Nipper and Sarel Erwee get selected for the Dolphins, everyone’s proud of them and they all follow their progress very closely,” Coutts told The Witness yesterday.

Club cricket in Pietermaritzburg was not without its challenges and Coutts said they tried their best to ensure that the players remained motivated to keep playing the game.

“We can’t get a situation where we have 10 guys at practice, but we’re still confident that we’re going to win games. Competitive cricket is all that the guys want. We don’t want guys to give up at age 24, so we try to make it as enjoyable as possible,” he said.

Three members of the club — Nipper, Erwee and Brad Moses — played for the improving KwaZulu-Natal Inland cricket team that will be officially crowned as CSA One-Day Competition champions by Cricket South Africa today.

“Brent Kay is the club captain, and whenever the first class cricketers have come back, they have respected him as captain,” said the coach who sometimes turns out for the club’s seconds.

“It helps when you have the first class guys who want to play club cricket,” he said.

Another player who has turned out for Standard this season was 14-year-old Scott Steenkamp from Maritzburg College who took three wickets in his first game.

Steenkamp plays for College’s U15A side, and has also played for Standard’s second team. Coutts said it was nice seeing the younger players. “They’re good, honest club cricketers,” he said.

Their toughest games during the season, he said, were against the KZNICU Combined Schools team and Masibemunye. He was also hopeful about the future of the game in Pietermaritzburg due to Varsity improving their facilities.

“That can only be good for club cricket in the city,” he added.

The final two games of the Premier League will be played this coming weekend when Zingari take on Northern Combined and Lancashire play Young Natalians.

The league will resume again in October.

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