November 3, 2000

Easterns in charge before the rain comes down

Rain severely curtailed the first day's play in the Supersport Series match between Easterns and Eastern Province at Willowmoore Park on Friday, but in the 40.2 overs which were possible, Easterns continued this season's impressive form, reducing the visitors to 106 for four.

Torrential rain early on Friday morning left the outfield sodden and play only started at 1.44pm, with EP getting off to a good start through a 55-run opening stand between Mark Benfield and skipper Carl Bradfield, who had won the toss and chosen to bat.

Bradfield was a trifle lucky, being caught in the gully off an Andre Nel no-ball when he had 12, but he rode his luck until, after pulling Albie Morkel to the mid-wicket boundary to move up to 46, he tried to repeat the dose off the next ball, but this time failed to keep it down and was caught by Ernest Mokoenanyane at backward square leg.

The diminutive left-hander was the fourth EP batsman to perish and his demise meant the visitors had lost four wickets for 47 runs after the responsible opening partnership he had fashioned with Benfield.

The latter got out minutes before tea for 26, edging Kenny Benjamin to wicketkeeper Dylan Jennings. After the break James Bryant, who could manage just a single off 21 deliveries as offspinner Derek Crookes bogged him down from the Chalet End before bowling him, and Dave Callaghan, who steered a lifter from Nel to Deon Jordaan at first slip, fell in quick succession.

However, just as Easterns looked as though they might run through the EP line-up, the rain returned with a vengeance and play was suspended until Saturday.