THE Namibian club cricket league comes to a conclusion on Saturday when the defending champions Wanderers take on WHS Old Boys in the 50-over final.
The two sides progressed automatically to the final after last weekend’s semifinals were rained out, due to their better log positions than CCD Tigers and Welwitschia, and based on their performances during the season they are both worthy finalists.
There was not much to choose between the two sides during the season as they both won five, drew one and lost two matches to finish on top of the log on 22 points each, while Mr 24/7 Welwitschia and CCD Tigers finished on 16 and 14 points respectively.
Each team also won one and lost one of their two encounters against each other.
Wanderers won their first encounter on 2 November last year, when they chased down Old Boys’ total of 230.
Malan Kruger (74) and Christian Schumacher (78) set Old Boys up for a competitive total, but opener Ewald Steenkamp, and the teenagers Sheron Rossouw (36) and Jan Izak de Villiers (34) reached the target with three wickets and three overs in hand.
Old Boys, however, won the return match by 37 runs on 25 January, when they scored 250 and then dismissed Wanderers for 213.
Gerhard Erasmus played a captain’s innings for Old Boys, scoring 93 off 94 balls, while Zane Green contributed 43 and Craig Williams 38.
In Wanderers’ innings, Bernard Scholtz scored 60, but he received little support as they fell 37 runs short of the target.
With nothing much separating them throughout the season, tomorrow’s final could go either way.
Both teams will be strengthened by the return of their national players, although Wanderers will be missing all-rounders JJ Smit and Jan Frylinck who are both injured.
Their absence will weaken their bowling attack, but according to captain Nicolaas Scholtz their other bowlers will have to grab the opportunity and step up.
“They are both great all-rounders so it leaves quite a void, but the junior players will just have to step up,” he said.
In their absence, Stefan Jordaan is expected to open the bowling with the young Jan Izak de Villiers, while they will be backed up by national all-rounder Karl Birkenstock, the Scholtz brothers Nic and Bernard, and the off spinner Herschelle van Schalkwyk.
They have a strong batting line-up including the likes of Wessel Myburgh, JP Kotze, Ewald Steenkamp, Birkenstock and the Scholtz brothers.
Captain Scholtz said there are no clear favourites for the match.
“We are looking forward to the game and it will be good to get back onto the field after the last two weekends rained out. I expect it to be a very even match and there are no favourites – the team that performs the best on the day will win the title,” he said.
Old Boys captain Gerhard Erasmus, however, feels that Wanderers will be the clear favourites.
“Wanderers are definitely the favourites – they are nearly always in the final and are also the defending champions, but we have a good chance to beat them this year,” he said.
“We are very positive and looking forward to the match. Wanderers will have home ground advantage, but we have played there a lot and know the field.
We will also have our national players back and they will have to take the lead to lift the local players,” he added.
Their batting will be considerably strengthened by the return of national players Erasmus, Zane Green and Craig Williams, while Tangeni Lungameni will lead their bowling attack.
They, however, have several more talented players like batsmen Wimpie van Zyl, Divan La Cock, Malan Kruger and Christiaan Schumacher, as well as seam bowler Melrick Robyn and spinner Vernon Cloete, and a close final can be expected.