EP gear up for Northerns clash

Neale Emslie

EASTERN Province are handily placed at the top of the log, but coach Christo Esau wants them to stay grounded when they take on Northerns in their CSA Provincial three-day cricket encounter at Grey High, starting today (10am).

After three draws, successive wins – both achieved in two days – have shot Colin Ackermann’s side to the top, but they know there is still a long way to go.

“Yes, we have spoken about being at the top of the log, but I reminded the guys this week that we have not achieved anything yet, and we know we must not get ahead of ourselves,” Esau said. “We need to stay in the moment.”

One of EP’s strengths is that they have maintained consistency in selection this season and although there are minor changes this weekend, the inclusion of Jon-Jon Smuts and Attie Dyili has hardly weakened the team.

Smuts has played extensively for the Warriors franchise and although his form dipped somewhat in the Momentum One Day Cup, Esau is happy to have him in the team, in place of David White, who has been promoted to the Warriors.

“Jon-Jon is a quality player and offers us the option of spin, so we are able to play an extra batsman,” Esau said.

“He and Attie have strengthened our team and I know Jon- Jon will be keen to get some runs. He has a good approach and a positive attitude.”

Meanwhile, South Western Districts, fresh from a morale- boosting win over Namibia, will be looking to pick up the momentum when they play Free State in Bloemfontein.

The Free Staters have not had a good start to the season, with two losses and three draws, and Ross McMillan’s SWD team will be looking to exert pressure from the outset.

The Southern Cape side have played only three matches this season and have not been in action since the beginning of the month, so they will need to quickly find their rhythm.

The squads are:

EP: Colin Ackermann (captain), Jon-Jon Smuts, Warren Bell, Lee-Roy Walters, Lionel Vaaltyn, Sisanda Magala, Attie Dyili, Solo Nqweni, Siviwe Gidana, Kelly Smuts, James Price, Anrich Nortje, Eddie Moore.

SWD: Ross McMillan (capt), Luthando Mnyanda, Adrian McLaren, Waldo Lategan, Glen Addicot, Brendon Louw, Sammy-Joe Avontuur, Gareth Dukes, Marcello Piedt, Lonwabo Rodolo, Gurshwin Rabie. Pieter Stuurman, Kobus Scholtz and Glenton Stuurman will be added to the one-day squad.

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