SOUTH Western Districts expect a rare landmark for veteran batsman Adrian McLaren will be the catalyst for kick-starting their CSA Provincial three-day cricket campaign when they take on Namibia in Windhoek, in a match starting today.
The middle-order batsman, 33, will tick off his 100th first-class match against Namibia, marking a career that began with Griquas in 1998-1999 when he was 18.
A cousin of Proteas player Ryan McLaren – their fathers, Keith (Adrian) and Paul both played cricket for Griquas – McLaren underlined his ability with the bat when he struck his 21st first-class century two weeks ago, making 150 as his team piled up a SWD record of 601/8 declared against Northerns in Pretoria.
But that match was typical of SWD's batting displays so far this season because they trailed by 301 runs after the first innings before finding the right recipe to save the game.
Their opening match against Gauteng followed a similar pattern and in Windhoek coach Gary Hampson will be urging his batsmen to pay greater attention to their first innings effort, as the side seek that first win.
McLaren has made a big contribution to SWD cricket since moving to Oudtshoorn from Kimberley last year. He has also played several games for the Warriors, and would like nothing better to celebrate this occasion than a match-winning performance.
řIn Kimberley, Eastern Province will also be striving for their first win when they take on Griquas in their fourth match of the season.
It has been a frustrating time for Colin Ackermann's side because they have produced some excellent play, but have had two matches interrupted by rain.
Last weekend, they were calling the shots after bowling Free State out for 137 but the match was abandoned after they had built a first innings lead of 109. Griquas too have not had a good start to the season, losing both their matches, but they will not be easy to beat at home.
The squads are:
SWD: Ross McMillan (capt), Adrian McLaren, Glen Addicot, Brendon Louw, Sammy-Joe Avontuur, Pieter Stuurman, Kobus Scholtz, Gareth Dukes, Marcello Piedt, Lonwabo Rodolo, Gurshwin Rabie, Hanno Kotze, Glenton Stuurman
EP: Colin Ackermann, David White, Warren Bell, Lee-Roy Walters, Lionel Vaaltyn, Sisanda Magala, Akhona Kula, Solo Nqweni, Simthembiso Ndwandwa, Siviwe Gidana, Kelly Smuts, James Price, Anrich Nortje, Eddie Moore