ILEMBE Cricket Union share joint top spot with Simplex RHCSC and Clares at the summit of the KwaZulu-Natal Cricket Union (KZNCU) Challenge League (Stream One) after the first three matches of the 2015/2016 season.
With the rainfall in KwaZulu on Saturday and Sunday, almost all KZNCU matches were washed out with teams settling for a share of the spoils. Newly promoted Ilembe Cricket kicked off their campaign with an impressive 33-runs victory against Umzinto before following it up with a hard earned 22-runs win against Umbilo Harlequins a fortnight ago.
Ilembe made the trip to the South Coast on Sunday (to do battle with Southern Natal) in the hope of notching up a hat-trick of league victories, but had to return home with two points after a water-logged pitch resulted in the game being washed out.
Simplex, Clares and Ilembe have amassed 12 points each (two wins and a washed out-no result game) from three league matches. The acid test looms for Ilembe on Sunday when they lock horns with bitter rivals Simplex at the Siripat Grounds in a top-of-the table clash.
Breathing heavily down the neck of the pace setters is Amanzimtoti Cricket Club with 11 points. Verulam and Railways (7 points) have won one game each three games (one win, one loss and one draw).
Southern Natal, Umzinto, DHS Rhythm and Harlequins find themselves rooted at the foot of the table with just a draw (thanks to the weekend's washed out games) from three league matches.
Meanwhile, local outfit, Dawnheights (7 points) are beautifully perched at the top of the KZNCU Challenge League (Stream Two) with one win and a draw from two league matches. They boast a superior net run rate compared with Hillary Malvern, Umlazi and East Coast who have seven points each.
Newlands, Silver Saints and Phoenix are yet to taste victory in the 2015/2016 season. Dawnheights will be hoping to notch up a bonus-point victory against stragglers Phoenix at the Gledhow Ground on Sunday.
Crusaders stole a march against their rivals in the KZNCU Premier League (with all other games washed out) after beating Pinetown.
Pinetown batted first and were bundled out for a paltry 84 runs. Rueben Hatting, who notched up an unbeaten century against Berea Rovers a fortnight ago was the destroyer-in-chief for Crusaders, claiming 4/23 from 8 overs. He received good support from Jesse Cameron Smit who grabbed 3/12 from 7 overs.
In reply Crusaders were 54/8 before the rain. Boasting a better run rate, Crusaders were adjudged winners. Kyle Buckthorp (4/19 from 10 overs) and Robert Frylinck (3/18 from 9 overs) were the pick of the Pinetown bowlers.
Crusaders have 15 points (three wins a loss from 4 games) with UKZN and Topham with 12 points each, followed closely by the unbeaten Uthungulu outfit who have 10 points from three games (including a 28 runs victory against Crusaders.