THE cricketing community in the Grahamstown region is gearing up for one of Eastern Province's oldest tournaments when the famous Pineapple tournament gets under way in Port Alfred and surrounding areas tomorrow.
The week-long event, which ends with the finals on March 16, gives a chance for the largely farming community to down tools as they join in the camaraderie of the week, while the competition for the title will, as always, be no less fierce.
There was a time when the tournament seemed in danger of dying out, but cricketers in the region got together to revitalise the proceedings and now, under the chairmanship of Justin Stirk, it appears to be flourishing once more.
The usual contenders will all be there, with clubs like Cuylerville, Southwell, Sidbury, Manley Flats and Salem all sure to be in at the final reckoning for the honours.
The tournament is not only about cricket on the field, though. The rich history of the tournament has seen some wonderful stories emerge over the years.
One of the highlights of the week should be the over-60s evening on Monday when a panel of old-timers relate stories of cricket down the years, led by Alan Weyer, one half of the comedy act Boet and Swaer. Recalling many memorable moments will be Rudi Marx, Colin Purdon, Bill Fowlds and Bruce Yendall, who have many years of tournament play under their belts.
The weekend's fixtures are:
Tomorrow, Section A: Manley Flats v Cuylerville, Port Alfred v Rhodents, Sidbury v Grahamstown Invitational
Section B: Cuylerville v Port Alfred High, Salem v Early Birds, Manley Flats v Port Alfred
Sunday, Section A: Southwell v Salem, Manley Flats v Rhodents, Cuylerville v Port Alfred
Section B: Station Hill v Port Alfred, Kenton v Southwell, Shrews v Port Alfred High