MANY years of commitment to the development of cricket in their region paid off for South Western Districts when they became the 12th full affiliate member of Cricket SA at the weekend.
This backing given to the SWD Cricket Board was ratified by the entire members' forum, which supported a recommendation by CSA management, confirming SWD's long-term commitment to cricket in terms of structures, facilities, cricketprogrammes and governance.
Last year, SWD were awarded conditional affiliate member status, with aproviso that a follow-up visit by CSA management during the 2012-13 financial year confirm SWD's commitment to sustain cricket in the region. Warriors chief executive Dave Emslie, under whom SWD fall, said yesterday their promotion to full member was fully deserved.
"Since they have been with the Warriors franchise, they have shown incredible growth and commitment to cricket, and have been free of controversy.
"They have been an integral part of the whole system and you must pay tribute to their president Rudy Claassen and CEO Albertus Kennedy who have worked so well together."
The new status will allow SWD to receive greater funding to develop the game in the region and they will have a full vote on the members' council.
Claassen said full affiliate status was a reward for the hard work and dedication from his predecessors and their executive committee, as well as the office staff under the leadership of Albertus Kennedy and the current executive committee.
He added that the elevation of SWD's status would ensure SWD would be able to maintain and expand existing structures and to explore new avenues in promoting cricket in the Southern Cape.
The honorary life president of SWD cricket, Simon Swigelaar, described the achievement as one of the highlights of his career.
Besides supplying players to the Warriors franchise team, SWD have emerged as a competitive unit on the field in their own right.
They were in contention for much of the season for the CSA Provincial Three-Day title last summer, and this season, they are lying second on the log.