17 cricket teams register
SEVENTEEN teams have been registered for the Bulawayo Metropolitan Cricket Association’s (BMCA) three leagues that started last week and end in April 2017.
Four clubs, Emakhandeni, Queens Sports Club, Bulawayo Athletic Club (BAC) and Roosters are competing in the First League, whose top two teams will represent the province at next year’s National League.
The second provincial tier league has seven clubs, Queens 2, BAC 2, ZRP Bulawayo, Lupane State University (LSU), Nust, Tigers and Nketa Cricket Club, while six teams Emakhandeni 2, Gampu Lions, Cheetahs, Champions, Glenkara and Bulawayo Polytechnic Lions will battle it out in the Third League.
BMCA fixtures secretary Victor Mhlanga said they expect stiff competition from all teams following the board’s resolution to have automatic relegation and promotion of teams at the end of the season.
“In the past we used to have play-offs whereby the bottom team in the First League took on the top team from the Second League, with the winner set to play in the top tier. However, this time around the bottom team in the First League will be automatically relegated to make way for the Second League winners.
We will also have a team relegated in the Second League and one promoted from the Third League,” said Mhlanga.
Defending First League champions Emakhandeni had a fine start to their 2016/17 campaign, beating Roosters by 170 runs. Emakhandeni batted first, with Mbekezeli Mabuza top scoring with 111 runs to inspire the champions to a total of 296 for nine.
Roosters were bowled out for 126, with national team spin bowler and Emakhandeni captain John Nyumbu taking seven wickets.
In the other First League game, Christopher Mpofu led Queens to a 34-run win over BAC in a match that was reduced from 50 overs to 37 overs due to rain. BAC has among its first class cricketers Tafara Mupariwa and Charlton Tshuma.
Queens and Emakhandeni lock horns on October 15 at BAC, while Roosters and BAC square off a day later at the same venue. — @ZililoR