PRETORIA school Menlo Park High sealed their second Coca-Cola Schools T20 Challenge cricket title after beating Hilton College by just two runs in the tournament final in Stellenbosch at the weekend, adding to the title they won in 2010.
The match went down to the final ball, where the Pretoria side held their nerve to restrict the finals weekend first-timers to 122/5, falling just three runs short of the title.
Menlo Park won the toss and elected to bat first, posting 124/4 in their allotted overs.
Thinus Viljoen and Dean Foxcroft were the stars of the innings, hitting 62 off 64 balls and 40 off 47 balls respectively to get their side to the competitive total after losing openers Dalen Mmako and Bernard Snyman without scoring. Rourke Lauryssen was the chief destroyer, claiming 3/31 in his four-over spell.
Hilton’s response was a little steadier to start with, but they also lost two batsmen in quick succession upfront.
Jonathan Jewels and Daniel Hirschowitz were dismissed for five and three respectively, but opener Angus Curtis (52) scored the half century that took his side out of trouble and on course to chase the total.
Menlo Park’s bowlers showed a lot more discipline in the end, although Julian Yeats hit 34 runs off 38 balls to finish with Hilton’s second highest score. The final over saw the KZN side require 13 runs to win, but Foxcroft’s tight bowling denied them victory in the end.
The winning team take home a R110 000 cheque, while Foxcroft took home R8 000 in prize-money for being named the man of the match (R3 000) and man of the series (R5 000). He also took home the hero of the match trophy for his combined batting, bowling and fielding efforts.
Representing the Warriors, Grahamstown school St Andrew’s produced some good performances, defeating Potchefstroom Volkskool by nine wickets and Paarl Boys’ High by four runs. Their bowlers led from the front and were backed up with great determination in the field.
Along with impressive captaincy from Anthony Dakin, this resulted in three man of the match awards, the leading wicket-taker and the most economical bowler in the tournament.
The batsmen will have learnt a great deal from playing on turning pitches, which will hold them in good stead for the future.
The man of the match awards went to: Tom Lane 3/11 and 33 off 42 balls against Potchefstroom Volkskool; Frank Norval 2/26 (defending seven runs in the last over) against Paarl Boys; Simon Taylor 3/16 against Hilton.
The highest wicket-taker was Frank Norval (11 wickets, with a best of 4/15) and the best economy rates of the tournament went to James Quarmby (16 overs at 3.9 runs an over) and Simon Taylor (20 overs at 4.2).