Growing momentum in schools competition.
2 November 2010

The Standard Bank Schools Pro20 Challenge is beginning to develop significant momentum, with several provinces completing their group stages in the latest round of matches.

The competition, which involves schools from the farthest corners of South Africa, ends with the national finals in Stellenbosch in February next year. Just a few weeks into the competition, some exciting talent has been unearthed, which augers well for the future of South African cricket.

Easterns' Schools Cricket Coordinator Godfrey Mbangweni said the Pro20 Challenge had been a revelation for cricket in the region.

"Schools were upbeat and excited when the competition started in October. This coming week (1st November 2010) will see the last round of games being played in the group stages," he said.

"Last years' winners in our province (Hoërskool Jeugland) remain unbeaten and will contest the semi-final. Other highlights include Etwatwa School's victory over Liverpool Secondary. Duduza Schools have played well and can still reach the semi-final if they win their last game.

"Other schools in contention for the semi-finals are Hoërskool Hansmoore, CBC Boksburg, HTS Die Anker, Springs Boys High and Benoni High.

"The leading wicket taker in the region is Henning du Plooy and the leading run scorer is Anton Muller, both from Hoërskool Jeugland in Kempton Park.

"We are all looking forward to an exciting knockout stage of this competition," said Mbangweni. The Development Manager of the Border Cricket Union, Sipho Nondlwana, said the competition served as a breeding ground for future Border cricketers.

"Although the regions started slowly, the competition has gained momentum, and we have seen the defending champions, Lindani High School, winning the final in the Healdtown region.

"There is great enthusiasm among cricketers and coaches alike," he said.

The Schools Cricket Coordinator in the KwaZulu Natal Cricket Union, Ritesh Ramjee, said the first group stages had been completed and 11 group winners and the best runner-up had been divided into four groups of three teams for the next stage of the competition.

"Illembe seem to be the surprise package this year," said Ramjee. "They have scored more than 150 runs in three of the four matches they have played so far.

"Apart from the first week of inclement weather, the tournament has been a real success in KZN, so much so that schools are already enquiring about next year's tournament."

Ramjee said the coming week's matches offered the mouth-watering prospect of a match between traditional rivals Westville Boys High and Glenwood Boys.

In some of the outstanding performances in the latest round of matches, M Norris smashed 118 for Rondebosch Boys High in their 153 run victory over South Peninsula, Criscendo Maksella took five for 11 to help Langenhoven Gimnasium defeat Sentraal and Dale Moolman took five for 14 for Northwood in their victory over Sunfoil.

With the Standard Bank Schools Pro20 Challenge reaching knockout stages in many of the regions, some exciting cricket can be expected over the next few weeks.

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