March 11, 2001

Border get one foot into the final

Grant Shimmin

Border got one foot into the final of the Supersport Series later this month when they wrapped up a comfortable 164-run victory over Boland at Buffalo Park on Sunday to take 15 points, the same margin by which they are now clear of nearest rivals Easterns.

It would take a virtual wash-out of the Bears final match against North West and a comprehensive away victory for Easterns over Boland to prevent Border reaching their third straight final and giving them the chance to make it third time lucky, after losing to Western Province - who would seem to be their opponents again - and Gauteng in the last two.

With Boland resuming on 159 for five in pursuit of a testing 394 for victory, Border were expected to canter home and eventually did, although opener James Henderson, on 76 overnight, and Henry Davids, who joined him at the start of Sunday's play, added a frustrating 48 for the sixth wicket.

Henderson was eventually trapped in front by Piet Botha, however, falling two short of a ton, and his dismissal preceded a whirlwind collapse. Just 22 runs later, Boland were back in the hut for 229 and effectively out of the race for the final, having come into the match just 10 points behind Border.

Botha, who proved deadly against the visiting tailenders in this match, picked up three scalps on Sunday and Vasbert Drakes two as the openers finished with four apiece, although Steven Pope was deservedly named man of the match for his second innings 125, which helped set Boland their ultimately unreachable target.