Mor­gan’s pride

Tro­phy-hunt­ing Dol­phins show char­ac­ter to fight back from tough po­si­tions

The Witness - - SPORT -

hel­ter-skel­ter do­mes­tic cricket sea­son re­cently came to a close and the Hol­ly­wood bets backed Dol­phins coach Grant Mor­gan re­flected pos­i­tively on the past sea­son while high­light­ing the amount of work his charg­ers still have to do to be­come the best fran­chise in South Africa.

The men from Durban chal­lenged for two ti­tles in the last sea­son, with a shared Mo­men­tum One Day Cup ti­tle to show for their ef­forts. A dis­ap­point­ing show­ing in the RAM SLAM T20 Chal­lenge fi­nal against a stacked Mul­ti­ply Ti­tans team was a blem­ish that Mor­gan’s men will look to put right in 2018/19.

With that said, they were in the hunt for the Sun­foil Series ti­tle too, right up to fi­nal game of that cam­paign.

White ball cricket was where the Dol­phins shone over the past sea­son and amidst sug­ges­tions that the Dol­phins may have got lucky due to the rain — a sen­ti­ment that coach Mor­gan be­lieves is un­fair on his play­ers.

“We felt that it was in­cred­i­bly dif­fi­cult to keep play­ing on and off with all the rain and still win the games that counted,” Mor­gan stressed. “For long pe­ri­ods we were dom­i­nant in the T20 com­pe­ti­tion only to lose to one of the strong­est do­mes­tic teams in the past decade with De Vil­liers and co. in that Ti­tans team.

“Ul­ti­mately, the rea­son, for me, that the T20 fi­nal was so dis­ap­point­ing was that we did be­lieve that we could win.”

De­spite the loss, Mor­gan’s team brushed them­selves off and showed the grit and de­ter­mi­na­tion that has be­come a trait of the side un­der his tute­lage to share the One Day Cup ti­tle with the War­riors af­ter a rained out fi­nal.

“To go into that 50-over cam­paign and show the men­tal for­ti­tude to not crum­ble af­ter the dis­ap­point­ment of the T20 fi­nal was ad­mirable.”

Hav­ing per­formed well in the white ball for­mats, the Dol­phins never quite got their Sun­foil Series cam­paign off the ground. De­spite the fact that all the teams drew a num­ber of the games, the Dol­phins bat­tled to get those cru­cial bonus points when they counted.

The Dol­phins ended the Sun­foil Series in fifth place with a win, a loss and eight draws.

From the first game of the sea­son when the Dol­phins had to bat for 100 overs to save a draw against the Ti­tans, they con­tin­ued in that vein through­out and they fought hard for draws, but strug­gled to get into win­ning po­si­tions.

“We were never able to get on to the front foot in the red ball cam­paign,” Mor­gan said. “The one pos­i­tive though was the char­ac­ter that the play­ers showed to fight back from tough po­si­tions.

“The play­ers did some phe­nom­e­nal things and fought back from some in­cred­i­bly dif­fi­cult po­si­tions to keep teams at bay.

“That was very sat­is­fy­ing but we still have a long way to go none the less.”

Con­test­ing two fi­nals and win­ning a tro­phy is a dra­matic im­prove­ment on Mor­gan’s first sea­son in charge of the Dol­phins.

De­spite him say­ing that the team has a long way to go, it is pos­i­tive to see the strides made by his play­ers and staff.

“If you look at the mea­sur­ables of your suc­cess you will want to see play­ers at the top of the bowl­ing and the bat­ting av­er­ages, but with so many of our games in­ter­rupted or lost to rain we were never go­ing to fea­ture too highly.

“If you look purely on re­sults then I would say we have im­proved from last sea­son and with the squad we have we will push even harder next cam­paign,” Mor­gan said.

“To go into that 50-over cam­paign and show the men­tal for­ti­tude to not crum­ble af­ter the dis­ap­point­ment of the T20 fi­nal was ad­mirable.”

PHOTO: ANESH DEBIKY

The Dol­phins with the Mo­men­tum One Day Cup tro­phy that they shared with the War­riors af­ter a rained out fi­nal at Kingsmead Cricket Sta­dium in Fe­bru­ary.

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