Coach Peterson pleased, but work still lies ahead for Warriors

IN TOP FORM: Warriors spinner Jade de Klerk has made a good impression this season. He took seven wickets in the match against the Dolphins
IN TOP FORM: Warriors spinner Jade de Klerk has made a good impression this season. He took seven wickets in the match against the Dolphins

The Warriors reached the halfway stage of the 2019/2020 CSA 4-Day Franchise Series competition with a thumping innings victory over the Dolphins in Durban, moving up to second on the log standings in the process.

It has been a solid effort from the Port Elizabeth-based side so far, winning two games, drawing two and losing just one of their opening five fixtures.

It has left them well placed, just 10 points behind the table-topping Lions and six points ahead of the third-placed Knights.

This was only interim head coach Robbie Peterson’s second match in charge of the side, after he took over in late October following the departure of form coach Rivash Gobind, and the Port Elizabeth-born mentor is happy with what he has seen so far.

“I am happy when the team implements what we have been working on in training and when the players take your ideas on board, so that has been pleasing to see,”  Peterson said.

“It was a good team effort, it was a hard win, I know it looks like we won easily but it was a really hard win, the pitch slowed down, it wasn’t easy, it lacked pace and the guys had to get a bit creative to win it.

“So I am encouraged by what I have seen so far but there is still a long way to go in terms of the way we want to play our cricket.”

In the match, opening batsman Eddie Moore starred with a superb double century, scoring 228, while on the bowling front captain Jon-Jon Smuts claimed 10/167 and Jade de Klerk picked up 7/135, as they tore through the Dolphins batting lineup in both innings.

“Jade de Klerk and Jon-Jon Smuts got through a lot of overs, Eddie Moore batted for four sessions, we had two big partnerships, so the performance was very close to where we want to be and that is encouraging,” Peterson admitted.

Despite their good position on the log, Peterson is not getting ahead of himself and wants the team to just focus on doing the simple things right.

“Where we are on the log doesn’t really matter for us at the moment, I told the guys not to focus on that, we just need to focus on taking it game by game, session by session, because to win the four-day competition you cannot get too far ahead of yourself.

“So we just have to stick to the processes of what we are trying to achieve here.

“We will only start entertaining the possibility of winning the competition during the last game of the season if we are in the running then.”

The Warriors next three games of the competition take place in January, with two of the matches at home, which they will be eager to take advantage of.

“It is great to be playing at home in familiar conditions for two of those games but in four-day cricket you still have to earn those results, so we take nothing for granted and will need to be at our best in those games,” Peterson said.

The Warriors will also be happy with the depth of their squad, after five front-line players were unavailable for selection for the last game.

Fast bowlers Anrich Nortje, Lutho Sipamla and Glenton Stuurman, along with wicketkeeper batsman Rudi Second were involved with the Proteas and SA A teams, while fast bowler Andrew Birch was carrying an injury.

“It is really exciting when you have a couple of new faces come in and put their hands up, but we have always prided ourselves on having a really strong squad,” captain Smuts said.

“So it is great to see that we can miss a few of our real big four-day players and the other guys can step in, put up their hands and give a really good performance, which was outstanding.”

The Warriors next three 4-Day competition clashes are:

  • Titans at SuperSport Park in Centurion – January 6-9
  • Knights at Buffalo Park in East London – January 13-16
  • Cape Cobras at Buffalo Park in East London – January 20-23. — Daily Dispatch