March 1, 2001

Record partnership lifts North West to respectability

Michael Vlismas - MWP

North West were saved by a record unbeaten eighth-wicket partnership that carried them to a respectable total on the first day of their SuperSport Series Super Eight match against Western Province on Thursday.

Morne Strydom and Alfonso Thomas combined superbly to add 195 runs for the eighth wicket, lifting their team to 282 for seven at the close.

After winning the toss and electing to bat first on a lively pitch, North West were undone by some superb bowling from Province's Alan Dawson.

Dawson dismantled the home side's line-up with figures of 4-11 in the first session, and at 87 for seven, North West were living up to their bottom-of-the-table status.

Strydom came to the crease shortly before lunch with the Dragons limping along at 72 for the loss of five wickets.

The former opening batsman for his province hit 15 fours off the 260 balls he faced, and was on 121 not out at stumps. Thomas was well-placed on 58 not out.

The partnership between Thomas and Strydom eclipsed the province's previous record of 101, set by Dirk van Schalkwyk and JP Mulder against Griqualand West in the 1991/92 season.

The departure of Dawson through injury certainly made the home team's job a lot easier. Dawson proved to be the only inspiration in Province's attack, but had to sit out most of the day's play due to a calf injury.

Roger Telemachus bowled a costly 16 overs in which he took one wicket for 85 runs, bowling 18 no balls in the process. The rest of the visitors' attack also lacked penetration.