Three young Dolphins in South Africa U19, Makhanya named captain

2015-01-13 00:00

THE U19 Dolphins capped off a successful week where they finished third at the CSA Cubs tournament as three players were rewarded with SA U19 call-ups.

Speaking to The Witness yesterday, former Dolphins seamer and U19 coach Lucky Dladla was happy with the overall result, which was his side’s best ever placing at the Cubs Week. However, he felt his charges could have gone the whole way.

“I thought we were in with a chance to win the tournament. We won four out of five games, just like the Lions, who won it. Unfortunately, we lost against them on day four,” Dladla said.

Their only loss to the tournament winners was unfortunate, considering the way the Dolphins performed during the week.

“Our bowling was better than our batting throughout the week and that’s what cost us against the Lions. We batted first against them and they kept us to a low total [125 all out]. We just couldn’t defend it,” he said.

The Lions went on to beat the Titans in the final last Friday for their third consecutive Cubs Week title. Despite the Dolphins coming on in leaps and bounds, Dladla believes the Lions are blessed with a broader, stronger player base.

“Jo’burg has a very good base of schools and the Lions U19 side always seems to have one or two guys that carry them. That being said, I really believe that this year was our best chance to get one over them, considering the players we had,” the coach said.

Although his side were unable to win the tournament, Dladla praised the way his players stepped up. He expects his skipper Sibonelo Makhanya to continue to feature in the Dolphins senior setup and hopes that fast-bowler Lwandiswa Zuma will also get some game time with the senior side.

Another gem discovered at the Cubs Week was Hilton College’s Gavin Morris. The 16-year-old wicketkeeper showed experience beyond his years, saving the Dolphins from defeat on day three against the Warriors with an unbeaten 76 runs.

“Morris really impressed me with his batting. He is still a youngster and is only going into Grade 11 this year, so we will have him for another two years,” Dladla said.

To cap off a solid performance during the week, three Dolphins players were named in the South African U19 squad that will tour Bangladesh in April.

Makhanya was named captain of the side for the second year in a row. He was joined in the squad by Zuma (Maritzburg College) and Okuhle Cele (Glenwood).

Dladla will now keep a close eye on some of the players who will be eligible again for the U19 Dolphins side at the end of the year. “I’ll be following them until the Khaya Majola Cricket Week gets under way at the end of the year.”

Dladla has been at the coaching coal-face for five years since his playing days. He currently coaches at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, while working with players at Kingsmead. He has previously coached the KZN U17 and U13 sides.

Looking to the future, Dladla hopes to take a step up to the Dolphins first team.

“I’d love to be involved with the senior outfit, but I am just taking it as it comes.”

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