AFTER Boland and Free State took bold steps forward at the weekend, South Western Districts will be aware of the need to stay in touch with the leading teams when they play Gauteng in Oudtshoorn, starting tomorrow.
The Cricket SA Three-Day Provincial Challenge continues to be tightly contested, but logleaders Boland and second-placed Free State laid down the gauntlet to the chasing pack with victories over Namibia and Western Province respectively last weekend.
Those results have seen Boland jump to 89.18 points from eight games, while Free State are on 78.46 points, having played one match less.
Eastern Province (73.96 from seven games) and SWD (68.70 from six games) are still in the three-day mix.
This weekend, SWD will host Gauteng. Players who have extensive franchise experience in the visitors' line-up include Jean Symes, Ethan O'Reilly and Shane Burger and SWD will need to produce their best cricket to advance on the log.
Coach Garry Hampson and his team will be well aware that they are entering a critical stage of the season that will determine who lands the coveted three-day trophy. The SWD selectors have been faced with a few challenges and they have promoted the promising SWD under-18 captain Ruan Stander to make his first-class debut. Adrian McLaren has joined his SWD team-mates Gurshwin Rabie and Christiaan Jonker in the Warriors side for their clash against the Dolphins.
Waldo Lategan (winger) and Wessel Hartslief (back) will not be fit for this clash. Their absence has opened the door for the Douglas Baartman and Reece Williams. SWD will also kick off their Twenty20 campaign on Sunday. This match will start at 11am.
The teams are:
SWD: Ross McMillan (capt), Luthando Mnyanda, Kobus Scholtz, Glen Addicot, Pieter Stuurman, Brendon Louw, Ruan Stander, Phaphama Fojela, Marcello Piedt, Douglas Baartman and Reece Williams. Justin Jordaan and Gareth Dukes will be added to the T20 squad
Gauteng: Richard Das Neves (capt), Grant Mokoena, Sizwe Masondo, Jean Symes, Devon Conway, Shane Burger, Shaheen Khan, David Rhoda, Graham Hume, Pumelela Matshikwe, Ethan O'Reilly, Brian Barnard and Shaun Jamison
PACALTSDORP United caused a big upset in the weekend's SWD Premier League fixtures after they defeated George by 43 runs.
Ruall de Reuck (53) made a valuable contribution with the bat as Pacaltsdorp posted 157, to which George replied with 114. Sussex (101), who suffered a big defeat the previous weekend, fought back and were victorious by 63 runs against Harlequins (38), who had a miserable day with the bat.
Union Stars (128/8) had a tough run chase after they dismissed Mossel Bay for a modest 127, but they escaped with a two-wicket victory.
Pirates United (85/4) continued their good form with a six-wicket victory against Ramblers.