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ANELE MANANA AND HUVASAN REDDY
4 February marked the end of North West University’s (Pukke) two-year Varsity Cricket trophy drought, as they defeated back-to-back defending champions UP-Tuks in the final on their home soil. UP won the toss and elected to bat first. It didn’t take long for Pukke to get an early advantage when captain Wilhan Lubbe made an astounding catch to dismiss Donavon Ferreira for five in the third over, leaving Tuks on 11/1 after just 2.1 overs.
Pukke kept UP under pressure for the first six overs and UP only managed to secure a score of 38/1. The Pukke bowlers seemed to be in their best form as Janneman Malan dismissed Tony De-Zorzi after he only managed to score a single run. UP was left 43/3 soon after as Ruan Haasbroek caught and bowled Jiveshan Pillay for 24. UP’s first 10 overs only saw them set 59/3. Player of the match, Lubbe, made things worse for UP when he got the big wicket of Thomas Kaber (12) which left them at 68/5 after 12.1 overs. Lubbe also managed to get Blake Schraader out for a LBW duck. Lubbe was then handed his third wicket of the match thanks to the safe hands of Malan.
Pukke stepped into chase 117 for the victory, knowing they needed one extra run to surpass Tuks’ 116/8 score. Tuks claimed a crucial early wicket of Malan (4) to give them a sense of hope to lift that trophy. Wilhan Lubbe (19) was then bowled out, leaving the field with a disappointing 35/2 after 5.6 overs for his side. Shane Dasdwell (8) and Marques Ackerman (29) were bowled out soon after, adding pressure to the Pukke side as they needed 34 from 40 balls to win. It seemed Pukke was overcome by the pressure when Ruan Haasbroek (10) and Lesego Senokwane (0) were also bowled out.
However, the defending champions’ reign came to an end when Edrich Lubbe and Jovaun van Wyngaardt claimed victory for Pukke by four wickets. It was a disappointing blow for UP seeing as they had a brilliant run leading up to the final. UP won their first group stage match against Nelson Mandela Metropolitian University (Madibaz) with a score of 151/8 eventually proceeding to the semi-finals with a 44 run victory. Craig Kirsten and Thomas Kaber both won the FNB bowler of the match as well as the UP defeated by old rivals NWU-Pukke in Varsity Cricket Cup Steers Best Batsman and Samsung Man of the Match respectively.
UP went on to defeat the University of Stellenbosch (Maties) in the semi-final by 41 runs. Kaber was crowned Steers Best Batsman and Samsung Man of the Match, while Kirsten was named FNB Best Bowler of the Match. In the final, Pukke’s Marques Ackerman was crowned Steers Best Batsman, with Pukke’s Wilhan Lubbe being named FNB Best Bowler of the match and Samsung Player of the match. Pukke is the first team since the inception of the Varsity Cricket Cup to defeat Tuks in a final, and lift the Varsity Cricket Trophy. As the Varsity Cricket champions, Pukke will represent the country at the Red Bull Campus Cricket World Championships in Sri Lanka later this year.
Photo: Colette Combrink/Wapad