De Bruyn shines for Easterns
A sublime 83 from 23-year-old Pierre de Bruyn guided Easterns to a first innings total of 222 for eight when bad light ended play on the first day of their Supersport Series match against the KwaZulu-Natal Dolphins at Willowmoore Park in Benoni on Friday.
De Bruyn was promoted up the batting order in the absence of Mike Rindel, who was ruled out of this match by a finger injury, and relished the opportunity to prove his worth.
Under overcast skies, the talented youngster peppered the boundary rope with his 15 fours and one six.
De Bruyn was also involved in two significant partnerships.
"Pierre would've batted further down the order, probably at six, seven or eight. But we decided to move him up the order and he took the chance well, especially on a pitch as unpredictable as this," said Easterns skipper Deon Jordaan.
Dolphins captain Dale Benkenstein won the toss and sent Easterns in to bat, with the hosts limping along at 21 for two after 13 overs.
That brought in De Bruyn, who together with Brad White stabilised the innings with a 72-run stand for the third wicket.
White departed on 33 when caught behind by Errol Stewart off the bowling of Benkenstein.
Derek Crookes then entered the fray against his old team-mates in his first Supersport Series outing for Easterns.
With De Bruyn leading the way, the duo combined for a fourth-wicket partnership of 61 runs as Easterns showed signs of early domination.
De Bruyn was certainly the dominant force after lunch.
But the very shot that had earned him so many runs was to be his downfall.
The partnership ended when De Bruyn was caught brilliantly by Eldine Baptiste at deep third man after trying to execute his square cut off a ball from John Kent.
That took Easterns into the tea break at 163 for four.
Crookes was the first to go shortly after tea, scoring a mere 24 runs that stood out amidst a shaky Easterns middle-order.
The collapse was rapid after that, with the Easterns tail flicking ever so briefly as the innings went through its final death throes, sparked by Kent's figures of 4-66.
A solid 30-run partnership between Albie Morkel (14 not out) and Kenny Benjamin (11 not out) took the Easterns total to double Nelson when the batsmen took the option of bad light 20 overs before the scheduled close.