March 15, 2001

Province grab batting points to confirm home final

Grant Shimmin - MWP

By the end of the first day of their last Super Eight match, Western Province had confirmed their home final next week by grabbing four batting points, having gone into the encounter 18 clear of second-placed Border.

They totalled 316 for nine at Supersport Park, with the Northerns reply, scheduled for five overs, lasting just ten runless balls before the umpires decided the light was too bad to continue.

It hadn't looked like being so comfortable for Province early in the day, after the visitors had decided to take first strike, with the first three wickets falling for just 19. Left-armer Greg Smith grabbed his 200th first class wicket in his last match before heading off for Clive Rice's Nottinghamshire, when he had namesake Graeme caught behind by wicket-keeper Kruger van Wyk, the first of five catches for the highly-rated gloveman. Rudi Bryson got Andrew Puttick and HD Ackerman via the same route.

Then Lloyd Ferreira (62) and Ashwell Prince (79) combined to take Province well into the afternoon session for no further loss in a stand of 136 for the fourth wicket.

The pendulum had swung back to Province, but the dismissal of Ferreira, bowled by David Townsend, sent it swinging back towards the home side. For the addition of just one more run, Prince and Renier Munnik (0) were sent back and suddenly Province were 156 for six.

That was the cue for Neil Johnson and Thami Tsolekile to get together, however, and the former Zimbabwean Test star and a man expected to play for South Africa before his career runs its course added 117, before Tsolekile went for an adventurous 49.

Johnson saw Province past 300 before Bryson bowled him for 84, off just 130 balls, with Roger Telemachus (4) the last man to fall before Ackerman's declaration.