ON behalf of everyone involved with the cricket at Eastern Province, I want to thank the people of Port Elizabeth for the wonderful support of the two matches against New Zealand.
It's not often that we get international matches in Port Elizabeth and we were extremely fortunate that we were allocated two matches.
The T20 match on December 26 was a sellout and, as usual, the atmosphere at the cricket was electrifying.
While the test match crowd numbers were satisfactory but not as good, the vibe at Axxess St George's Park led by our very own and unique band, created an atmosphere that was outstanding and appreciated by everyone, including the players and commentators.
I don't think anyone of us who was at the game, watching on the telly or listening on the radio, will ever forget the stirring rendering of the national anthem by the band with massed spectator support late on the second afternoon! I felt really proud to be associated with Eastern Province cricket and even more to be a born and bred "baainaar".
Graeme Smith and his team certainly appreciated the rendition and the team duly applauded the crowd and the band. During the afternoon session when the band was in full voice, the New Zealanders lost four wickets for 15 runs as the crowd cheered on the Proteas, with the cherry on the cake being the performance of PE-born Robin Petersen, playing in his first "home" test.
In modern times, test series are comprised of three or less matches, compared to five or more as was the norm a few years ago, so the competition to be a host city is extremely fierce. But Port Elizabeth can be very proud of its efforts.
Our ground staff prepared some excellent playing surfaces, which also provided for great cricket and our Proteas side demonstrated again why they are the No1 side in the world, with two emphatic performances.
All the players and commentators I spoke to were very complimentary about our city, our facilities and, of course, our very passionate supporters.
Cricket South Africa have also expressed their appreciation at the manner in which the city hosted and embraced our Proteas team, so we are very confident that Port Elizabeth will not only remain a test venue but also a preferred venue for the players. Well done PE– we should all be proud.
Graeme Sauls, President of Eastern Province Cricket