November 5, 2000

Callaghan sparks EP collapse

Grant Shimmin - MWP

Easterns threw away the initiative on the second day of their Supersport Series match against Eastern Province at Willowmoore Park on Saturday, having had the visitors reeling at 140 for eight in the morning session. By stumps they found themselves 84 behind after capitulating meekly for 172 in their first innings.

Having resumed on a fairly shaky 106 for four after the shortened first day, EP were plunged into further trouble, losing another four wickets for the addition of just 34 runs, with Kenny Benjamin striking twice.

But then the visitors' young left-arm spinner, Robin Peterson, got stuck into the home attack in a devastating knock of 96 off just 77 balls, including 13 fours and three sixes. He shared partnerships of 61 with debutant Dewald Senekal for the ninth wicket and 55 off a mere 45 balls for the last wicket with Mfuneko Ngam to take EP to a relatively healthy 256.

If Easterns had already conceded some of the initiative, they then contrived to put the ball right back in the visitors' court with a woeful batting display that saw them knocked over in just 73.1 overs, giving EP their healthy first innings advantage.

The Easterns reply started well enough, with Brad White and Ernest Mokoenanyane, two of seven left-handers in their batting line-up, putting together a patient 49 for the first wicket, before the latter sparred at a wide delivery from veteran Dave Callaghan and was pouched by wicketkeeper Wayne Murray.

White, who was painfully slow in his innings of 31, and captain Deon Jordaan added 44 for the second wicket, with Jordaan eventually going on to top-score with 47, but after White was caught behind by Murray, giving Senekal his maiden first class wicket, things fell apart, with the collapse coming to a head with the loss of three wickets for just one run to leave Easterns on 132 for seven.

A few more boundaries flowed from the bats of quickies Benjamin, Albie Morkel and Andre Nel before Callaghan completed the superb analysis of five for 24 off 18.1 overs, including 11 maidens, by bowling Benjamin.

At least Easterns got past 150, to ensure themselves one batting bonus point to add to their four bowling points, but the points situation at the end of the day, which came when Callaghan castled Benjamin, was seven to EP and five to the home side, a fair reflection of the state of the game.