THE Chevrolet Warriors will wrap up their preparations for the new season with a series of matches against the Knights in Port Elizabeth next week.
The Warriors and Knights are to contest the inaugural Friendship Cup, which will see them locking horns both on and off the cricket field.
The franchises square off in a two-day match on Monday and Tuesday, immediately followed by two one-day matches on Wednesday and Thursday.
All three matches will be played at St George’s Park.
Warriors coach Piet Botha and his counterpart Sarel Cilliers have devised a scoring system which will allow their teams to score points over the three matches.
On the Friday, the challenge moves to Humewood Golf Course for the EP Cricket Golf Day, where the Warriors will play against the Titans in four-balls.
The players will then hit the track to test their driving skills at Aldo Scribante on the Saturday.
The golf and driving obviously add to the hype around the Friendship Cup, but it is the cricket matches which will be foremost in the minds of the players and coaching staff as they approach their first game on October 11, a Momentum One-day Cup fixture against the Titans in Centurion.
Botha has a full squad bar Ashwell Prince to pick from for next week’s fixtures. Prince will only be back from English county cricket and Lancashire next Sunday.
“Wayne Parnell also won’t play next week. He’ll be resting but fortunately we’ve got good news that he will be fine [after an irregular breathing scare],” Botha said.
Captain Davy Jacobs also had a slight ankle injury while playing in the West Indies “but he will play one of the games”. Botha said he would be mixing and matching the squad to give everybody a chance.
New signing Ryan Bailey, an allrounder, will also get a chance to play against his former Knights teammates.
Botha is confident Bailey will have a role to play in the Warriors’ middle order.
Botha also said Border batsman Vuyisa Makhaphela would be one to look out for this season
“We are also hoping for Jon-Jon [Smuts] to have a good season. He struggled a bit last year but he is a good enough player to come back,” Botha said.
Although the squad will be playing internal matches today and tomorrow, there is no substitute for competitive action and the fixtures against the Knights next week will provide solid preparation for the season to come.
Entrance to the cricket matches will be free.
Programme for the week:
Monday-Tuesday: two-day game; Wednesday and Thursday: one-day games; Friday: Golf day; Saturday: Driving Skills Challenge.