29 September 2010
Cracking schools Pro20 challenge launched in South Africa.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) has announced that over 600 schools will participate
in the second edition of the Standard Bank Schools Pro20 Challenge, which starts
on Monday, 4 October.
The Standard Bank Schools Pro20 Challenge is the only nationally coordinated schools
cricket programme in South Africa, and forms a vital part of the CSA cricket development
pipeline, which aims to give a young cricketer the ideal preparation for life as
a future Protea.
The inaugural edition, which attracted 349 schools, was well received by the youth
CSA CEO Gerald Majola is confident this tournament will grow.
"Our initial plan was to pilot this programme last year, and look to increase the
number of schools to 500 within three years, but the feedback from players, coaches,
and parents alike, has been overwhelming, and we easily surpassed that target.
"Loyal partners are vital when attempting to grow a tournament as significant as
this and CSA is grateful to Standard Bank for its ongoing support of our cricket
development initiatives. We have the opportunity to do something today to shape
tomorrow, and we see the Standard Bank Schools Pro20 Challenge as the ideal platform
to positively influence the cricket careers of young players.
"Last year, we had some exciting young talent emerge, and it is important that we
continue to churn out tomorrow's stars, in the hope that they will go on to fulfil
their dreams. This is a format that will inspire the youth to a greater level of
participation in the belief that they too can achieve the highest honours.
"Cricket is no longer exclusive to the orthodox, conservative player, and encourages
a new type of temperament and skill set amongst the youth. So much more cricket
can be played and experienced in a much shorter period of time, exposing far wider
participation and a new vibe and excitement amongst young cricketers and their teen
support base. The Standard Bank Schools Pro20 Challenge is definitely cracking schools
"The Standard Bank Schools Pro20 Challenge is a brilliant display of the youthful
talent in our country. Throughout the tournament young cricketers develop their
skills in a competitive environment, whilst encouraging sportsmanship and the forging
of new friendships. This tournament is a natural breeding ground for the next generation
of domestic and national players," says Jonty Rhodes, Standard Bank Group Sponsorship
Manager. High School Menlopark won the inaugural title, when they beat Maritzburg
College by two runs in the final held at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria.
Their captain, Richardt Frenz, says the competition has brought a new energy into
youth cricket. "The Standard Bank Schools Pro20 Challenge is an amazing platform
for schools cricket. It has brought in an exciting competitive atmosphere for youth
cricketers and the second year will definitely be a great honour for all those involved.
"Participating in the inaugural competition was a fantastic experience, and it was
even more special because we were the first team to lift the trophy. The opportunity
to play in coloured clothes and with the white ball has developed another aspect
of my cricket and hopefully all of the boys taking part will enjoy it and use the
competition to grow their cricket."
The twenty-over competition will see knock out round robin tournaments played in
each region around the country. By 31 January, it will be down to the wire, with
only the top provincial teams vying for a spot in the Franchise Finals on 6 February.
From there, only the six top teams will play in the Standard Bank Schools Pro20
Challenge final on 19 and 20 February 2011 in Stellenbosch.
This format means that skills recognition and cricket achievement is recognized
sooner and development processes start at a much earlier stage of a player's career,
providing for greater depth and experience, as well as exposure to a highly competitive
environment, a must for a professional career in cricket.
CSA Youth Cricket Manager Niels Momberg is excited about getting the tournament
"The first edition of the Standard Bank Schools Pro20 Challenge proved a tremendous
boost to schools cricket in South Africa. The format gives smaller schools the chance
to compete against more established and bigger schools.
"The presence of Noord-Kaap and the eventual winners High School Menlopark at the
national finals proved that anybody can walk away with the spoils. I cannot wait
for the matches to start to see which schools will emerge as frontrunners in this
For more on Standard Bank Group's involvement in cricket, see www.standardbankcricket.com.