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Mixed fortunes for the NCU Northern Knights Youth sides - Day 8 report from the NCU Development tour to South Africa

Ian Johnston

Mixed fortunes for the NCU Northern Knights Youth sides as they relocated to Stellenbosch in the beautiful winelands region of South Africa.

(© Ian Johnston)In the Senior match the start time was put back by half an hour and the game reduced to 45 overs per side to allow the overnight dew to evaporate. It was again Paddy Beverland who like yesterday ignored the pain of a finger injury to post a half century which formed the backbone of the Knights innings.

Seemingly well placed after 20 overs at 110-2 the innings never achieved any momentum and by the 40th only another 75 runs had been added with the loss of 5 more wickets. The final 3 wickets fell in less than 2 overs leaving the Knights 204 all out with over 3 overs unused.

Photo right shows The Groot Drackenstein Games Club, venue for the U18s match today (© Ian Johnston).

On a fast running ground and on a pitch with pace and bounce it was a below par score especially given the platform that had been built by Beverland and Gordon. The Groot Drackenstein innings almost mirrored that of the Knights with one sizeable contribution from Julies who scored what turned out to be a match winning 69. GD looked comfortable with only 3 wickets down as they closed in on the Knights total and there seemed an acceptance of the inevitability of the victory both off and on the field.

But as often happens matches can turn on the slightest thing and with a Jack Burton wicket and the return of Robin Sinton, who bowled with real pace and aggression the GD lower order were suddenly exposed. Having used the short ball to unsettle the batsmen Sinton produced two yorkers to throw the game wide open.

Burton with 3-26 and Sinton 2-36 had almost pulled it out of the fire but if it had happened a few overs and a few runs earlier it might have been enough - as it was, it was a relieved Groot Drackenstein that managed to find the gaps in the now tight, single saving field and claim the victory.

At Groot Drackenstein Cricket Club
NCU Northern Knights U18 - 204 (41.4 overs) P Beverland 51, S Gordon 32, A Julies 3-37
Groot Drackenstein CC - 206-7 (38.3 overs)
Groot Drackenstein CC  beat NCU Northern Knights U18 by 3 wickets.

NCU Under 15s batted first against the Coronation CC U15 XI in a 40 over match. Ben Rose top scored with 57 in a total of 200 for 9 wickets, but it was late in the innings, indeed for the final wicket that an unbroken partnership of 42 between Browne and Hunter carried the total to something defendable.

Rather like the Senior match the position at 20 overs when the score was 108 for the loss of only 3 wickets wasn't capitalised upon and when Browne and Hunter came together at 158 the final total of 200 looked a long way off. There were two significant contributions in the Coronation innings from Dormian who scored 47 and Cornett with 44.

James Hunter was the leading wicket taker for the Knights with 3-14 but it was a spell from Charlie Shannon who bowled with accuracy and took the pace off the ball that slowed the scoring rate and caused the opposition batsmen to play a series of risky shots that eventually caused their downfall.

Tour Manager Alan Waite said he was particularly pleased at the way the U15 rallied together and fought again today. He noted that the U15 had now won two matches that they could easily have lost if it hadn't been for their obvious team spirit.

At Coronation Cricket Club
NCU Northern Knights U15 - 200-9 (40 overs) B Rose 57, J Browne 32*, R September 3-17
Coronation CC - 169-10 (37.4 0vers) Dormian 47, Cornett 44, J Hunter 3-14, C Shannon 2-18
NCU Northern Knights U15s beat Coronation CC by 31 runs