March 18, 2001

Easterns complete academic win


Easterns finally mopped-up a match they had controlled virtually from the outset, beating Boland by 139 runs in a meaningless exercise in first-class cricket in Paarl on Sunday.

Resuming on their overnight 71-3, chasing an entirely notional 450 to win, Boland were dismissed for 310. Kudos for Easterns, but the silverware will be going elsewhere this season.

Easterns were made to work hard, if not quite run up a serious sweat on the final day as they searched for the seven wickets they needed complete a routine victory. Resistor-in-chief was Louis Koen, the Boland captain reigning in his more innate attacking instincts in the cause of his side as he scored 66 in a little under four hours, an innings which included only five boundaries from a bat which is more used to causing mayhem than playing 'though shall not pass'.

There was also an entertaining ninth-wicket stand of 91 off just 110 balls between Bradley Player and Willem du Toit, but it was no more than a blip on the steady Easterns' progress to victory. Man of the match Anthony Botha added three more wickets on the final day to give him figures of 6-106 in the Boland second innings. It was Botha's unbeaten 49 on the second morning which helped Easterns past 300 and into a position of strength from which they never faltered.

Botha put the ball in the right place and exacted just enough turn to keep wicket-keeper Dylan Jennings and Derek Crookes at first slip interested. Crookes picked up two catches of his bowling, while Jennings snapped up an edge from Justin Ontong to send the young all-rounder back to the pavilion for just 13.

Ontong will now turn his attention from the South African domestic scene to his up-coming trip to the West Indies to hook up with the South African one-day squad. After scoring his maiden first-class century earlier in March, he is bursting with confidence and eager to make the next step. Watch this space.