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Three-way battle for Pineapple trophy

Posted : 21 March 2013


JUST PASSING THROUGH: A Rhodents batsman averts a close encounter with the ball in their game against Port Alfred Cricket Club at the PAHS fields on Saturday. Port Alfred won by nine wickets Picture: JON HOUZET

CUYLERVILLE, Sidbury and last year’s winners Manley Flats were the strongest contenders for the first league winner’s cup by the halfway mark of the 109th Pineapple Cricket Tournament on Tuesday.

The second league was still a free-for-all, with at least five teams looking strong.

This year’s tournament has seen some of the highest scoring games in the tournament’s history, and in the words of tournament president Justin Stirk, the 43 Air School field especially "is proving to be a run feast”.

On Monday Cuylerville 2 scored a mammoth 419/3 at the air school, crushing Early Birds by 286 runs.

The previous day, in another second league game, Kenton and Southwell both racked up impressive scores on the same field.

At first it looked like Kenton was going to give Southwell a huge hiding, but the game ended up being closer than anyone could have expected. After eight of Southwell’s wickets had fallen, Tyrone Bruce and Leon Bradfield pulled off a 164-run partnership that saw them fighting back from 176/6 to 355, just 41 runs short of Kenton’s whopping 396.

Bruce and Bradfield received a special prize for their Herculean effort at Sunday’s prizegiving.

Two Cuylerville seconds players, Gary Botha and Greg Pike, scored centuries on Monday, but neither reached the heights of Brandon Handley of Cuylerville’s first team, who came close to a double century at 191 before he was caught out by opposing team Port Alfred on Sunday.

Handley had such a good innings and strong early partnerships that the rest of his team were caught napping when they had to send in middle order batsmen with only a few balls left.

The game was played at Port Alfred High School. Cuylerville’s final score was 326/7, winning by 114 runs.

On the first day of the tournament last Saturday, Port Alfred’s fortunes were reversed when they decimated Rhodes’ Rhodents by nine wickets, limiting the team which was first to bat to 45 runs. Port Alfred’s Hannes Louwrens took six wickets for 24 runs.

On Tuesday Port Alfred fared poorly again, losing by eight wickets to Manley Flats. The final score was Port Alfred 75 to Manleys’ 76/2.

A strong Manleys also beat Rhodents on Sunday, with the final score Rhodents 132 to Manleys 138/1.

In another bruising defeat, Salem 2 lost by 142 runs to Rhodes Shrews on Monday. The final score was Shrews 197 to Salem 55.

There was some drama off the field on Sunday when the tournament vice-president, James Fox, fell down stairs at the country club and broke his ankle. He was taken to hospital and required surgery to both legs.

"All of our thoughts are with Foxy over the next week,” said Stirk.

The tournament is sponsored by Market Square Volkswagen in Grahamstown.

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