Northwood and Westville play for regional T20 honours

2014-02-28 00:00

KINGSMEAD hosts Westville Boys’ High School and Northwood in the regional final of the schools’ Twenty20 competition today.

Northwood advanced to the final with a five-wicket win against Kuswag in their semi, while Westville produced the goods in their toughest match to date, ousting Glenwood by 26 runs.

“We saved our best for the Glenwood encounter, which was a tough game,” said Westville coach Fabian Lazarus. “It was sweet revenge for us as they had beaten us two weeks before in a 50-over match and as defending champions in the competiton, we wanted to keep the momentum going.”

Westville have won the competition for the past two years and Lazarus believes the side has the blueprint for what is needed in the shortest format of the game, despite losing players every year.

“Last year, we were unbeaten and have lost eight players from that side,” he said. “However, the team are balanced and with players contributing and bringing their skills forward at the right time, we are in the final.”

Key players for Westville are captain Bruce Kerr, opening bowler Jesse Smit and opening batsman Alex Whitelaw.

In all formats this season, Bruce has a century and three fifties to his name. He opens the innings in the 50-over matches and slots into the top four in T20.

Jesse is classified as a bowling all-rounder and made the KZN U17 side last year, while Alex is aggressive at the top of the order, not afraid to wield the willow to great effect from the first ball.

The winners of this match meet Hilton, winners of the Inland final, having beaten rivals Michaelhouse. The overall winners then get to represent the Dolphins franchise at the national T20 tournament in Potchefstroom in March.

Last year, Alex was Westville’s hero as he blasted them to victory over Hilton to seal his school’s ticket to the nationals in Cape Town. Needing 22 runs off the final two overs, he won the match off the final ball.

For Northwood, this is a moment to savour and due to the nature of the game, they could upset the formbook.

“We have been the dark horses of the tournament and have actually enjoyed that tag,” said coach Rob Clift, son of the former Rhodesia, Natal and Leicestershire stalwart Paddy. “Our key players are captain and KZN U17 batsman/bowler Nazzer Jaffer, spinner and batsman Keegan Rawling and our keeper Greg Wright, who is well suited to the game with his unorthodox style of play.”

Clift added his team had some promising youngsters and their strength was remaining a consistent unit throughout the season, knowing each other’s roles.

“We have reached the final and ideally would want to take this one step further and take on Hilton for an opportunity to play in the national competition.”

Today’s match starts at 1 pm and spectators are welcome.

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