Western Province Cricket Association(WPCA) second division newcomers Pollsmoor Cricket Club’s first team have set the 2016/2017 campaign alight, catching experienced teams off-guard in the process.
The side, fairly inexperienced in this division, have punched above their weight, playing their way to fourth position on the log, after winning four and losing three of their seven league matches this season.
Their third loss came against second-placed Hanover Park, who beat them by 96 runs, away at the weekend. Pollsmoor won the toss and, not sure how the wicket would turn out, sent their opponents to bat first.
The Hanover Park batsmen made good use of their home advantage, recording a total of 250/8 in 45 overs. Walcardo van Staden was the pick of Pollsmoor bowlers, taking three wickets in nine overs while Ashley Luyt top-scored for Hanover Park with 54 runs.
The visitors then took to the crease in an attempt to chase the 251 runs required to win the match.
A win for Pollsmoor would have seen them jumping into second position, ahead of Hanover Park.
However, it was, as it turned out, not going to be their day as they were bowled out for 154 runs.
Hanover Park won by 96 runs to consolidate their second position in the log.
Josh Thomas top-scored for Pollsmoor with 47 runs while Hanover Park’s Riyaad Gamieldien took three wickets for six runs in his three overs.
Williams said, as a new team in the block, they expected the competition to be tougher but, to their surprise, found some teams to be easily beatable.
He was, however, quick to note that the fact that they were a closed book could have worked in their favour.
“We also know nothing about them which makes it more exciting because we go to each game with an open mind not knowing what to expect. That has, in some games, worked while in others it didn’t,” he said.
Williams also noted that they have learnt valuable lessons from the Hanover Park loss.
“We didn’t rock up on the day and our opponents took full advantage of that. The loss proved to be the wake up call we needed as it taught us not to take any match lightly,” he said.
Having been established in 1991 by wardens at Pollsmoor prison, Williams said theirs was an ambitious side.
That ambition was clear in the goals they have set themselves for the season. Despite being the proverbial new kids on the block, Williams said their aim was to finish second come end of the season.
“We are on the right track, especially considering the way we started the season. We have learnt our lesson (in the game against Hanover Park) and the need now is to refocus and get back to winning ways,” he said.
Pollsmoor’s next match is at home against Raithby on Saturday and Williams feels that pitch and weather conditions will determine whether the side winning the toss would bowl or bat first.
“We expect an interesting game as Raithby, like all our opponents, is unknown to us. That means we have to execute our game plan properly,” he said.
Pollsmoor, who previously played as part of Peninsula Cricket Club in the third division, was accepted to play – as a separate entity from Peninsula – in the second division (their first team) and third division (their second team), respectively.