KZN Cricket Club finally find winning formula
THE University of KwaZulu-Natal Cricket Club Pietermaritzburg have been through their own trials and tribulations in recent years, but winning the Inland Premier League this past season has restored them to the top of the pile, thanks to doing the basics and getting the right people in the right places.
A club that have seen the likes of Jonty Rhodes and current Inland cricketers Tshepang Dithole and Ruhan Pretorius in the ranks, the past seasons have been ones of transition as the dynamics of the campus and sport kept changing. This affected the fortunes of the club and from being a dominant force, they had to sit and plan the right and constructive way forward.
Faizel Simon was tasked with taking the club forward and he showed his and the club’s intentions with the appointment of Dolphins Cubs head coach Lucky Dladla as the new coach and former Transvaal player Bruce Roberts as development officer.
As a mighty trio, they began resurrecting Varsity’s cricket fortunes, starting with development sessions and clinics, getting players into the game from grassroots level through to senior club level and beyond. With these initiatives in place and growing, the fortunes of the club started changing for the better, with big name players once more looking at the club as a possible choice to play their club cricket. One such player was Dolphins fast bowler Craig Alexander.
Yashveer Singh took up the manager’s mantle and with the final cog in the engine ready to roll, the club were in order and ready to make an impact. The 2014/15 season saw the club finish second in the Premier and 1st Divisions, with the 1st Division players winning their T20 league and the Premier lads finishing runners up to Standard.
Having finished second over numerous seasons, the club wanted to go one better and be the top dog, their vision and strategies paying dividends as they took the spoils this past season. Approaching every match with a winning mindset, the Premier and 1st Division sides produced the goods early on and as the season progressed, it came down to the rivalry between Varsity and Standard.
At the Christmas break, Standard had just beaten Varsity at Peter Booysens and they repeated the dose once the festive season had passed. Varsity had to hope Standard slipped up and that amounted to Standard having to lose two matches — something the strong outfit had not succumbed to in many a season.
But, fortunes change and history is created as Standard found to their detriment. Standard suddenly lost those two games and Varsity were back in the chase for overall honours. Tough matches against Zingari and Maritzburg Cricket Club remained for Varsity and once the dust had settled, they had won the Premier Division by a single point.
The club were second in the 1st Division and both teams — Premier and 1sts — made the semi-finals of the T20 competition.
“We are back where we should be and putting club cricket on the map in Pietermaritzburg again,” said Singh.