March 19, 2001

Titans collapse a morale boost for WP

Grant Shimmin

Whether or not they had caught the bug from watching the close of South Africa's first innings in the second Test in the West Indies on Saturday night, Northerns provided one of the most spectacular collapses ever seen at Supersport Park on Sunday to hand Western Province a morale-boosting 298-run victory ahead of this week's Supersport Series final.

Almost unbelievably, after only 21 wickets had fallen on the first three days of the match, the home side nosedived for 65 in 21.3 overs on Sunday morning. Incredibly, the innings contained a 52-run partnership between Finley Brooker (28) and Dirkie de Vos (17) for the fourth wicket, before the trapdoor opened and the last seven wickets fell for five runs.

Province captain HD Ackerman had sensibly foregone the chance of chasing a 25-year-old partnership record on the last day when he declared on the overnight 314 for three, a healthy advantage of 363. He would have reasoned that his side, on a winning roll, needed every over they could get to win the match. Little did he know.

The record that was within the grasp of Ackerman and Ashwell Prince, on 109 and 120 respectively overnight, was the fourth-wicket mark for Province, held, ironically, by Ackerman's father Hylton and Andre Bruyns. Having added 227 by Saturday evening, they were just 21 short of surpassing it.

In the end, though, the match ended happily for the entire Ackerman clan - Dad was commentating on television and saw his son make a ton but his record survive - with Province going into Wednesday's final in prime form and HD surely having added to the reasons many are advancing for him to captain the South Africa A side to India this year.