Three-way battle for Pineapple trophy

JON HOUZET

JUST
PASSING THROUGH: A Rhodents batsman averts a close encounter with the ball in
their game against Port Alfred Cricket Club at the PAHS fields on Saturday.
Port Alfred won by nine wickets Picture: JON HOUZET

CUYLERVILLE, Sidbury and last year’s
winners Manley Flats were the strongest contenders for the first league winner’s
cup by the halfway mark of the 109th Pineapple Cricket Tournament on
Tuesday.

The second league was still a free-for-all,
with at least five teams looking strong.

This year’s tournament has seen some of the
highest scoring games in the tournament’s history, and in the words of
tournament president Justin Stirk, the 43 Air School
field especially “is proving to be a run feast”.

On Monday Cuylerville 2 scored a mammoth
419/3 at the air school, crushing Early Birds by 286 runs.

The previous day, in another second league
game, Kenton and Southwell both racked up impressive scores on the same field.

At first it looked like Kenton was going to
give Southwell a huge hiding, but the game ended up being closer than anyone
could have expected. After eight of Southwell’s wickets had fallen, Tyrone
Bruce and Leon Bradfield pulled off a 164-run partnership that saw them
fighting back from 176/6 to 355, just 41 runs short of Kenton’s whopping 396.

Bruce and Bradfield received a special
prize for their Herculean effort at Sunday’s prizegiving.

Two Cuylerville seconds players, Gary Botha
and Greg Pike, scored centuries on Monday, but neither reached the heights of
Brandon Handley of Cuylerville’s first team, who came close to a double century
at 191 before he was caught out by opposing team Port Alfred on Sunday.

Handley had such a good innings and strong
early partnerships that the rest of his team were caught napping when they had
to send in middle order batsmen with only a few balls left.

The game was played at Port Alfred
High School.
Cuylerville’s final score was 326/7, winning by 114 runs.

On the first day of the tournament last
Saturday, Port Alfred’s fortunes were reversed when they decimated Rhodes’ Rhodents by nine wickets, limiting the team which
was first to bat to 45 runs. Port Alfred’s Hannes Louwrens took six wickets for
24 runs.

On Tuesday Port
Alfred fared poorly again, losing by eight wickets to Manley Flats. The final
score was Port Alfred 75 to Manleys’ 76/2.

A strong Manleys also beat Rhodents on
Sunday, with the final score Rhodents 132 to Manleys 138/1.

In another bruising defeat, Salem 2 lost by 142 runs
to Rhodes Shrews on Monday. The final score was Shrews 197 to Salem 55.

There was some drama off the field on
Sunday when the tournament vice-president, James Fox, fell down stairs at the
country club and broke his ankle. He was taken to hospital and required surgery
to both legs.

“All of our thoughts are with Foxy over the
next week,” said Stirk.

The tournament is sponsored by Market Square
Volkswagen in Grahamstown.

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