SAA Provincial Challenge, Round Four, 1st day October 27, 2005

Wickets tumble at Benoni

Wickets tumbled on the first day at Benoni - 23 of them to be exact - as Griqualand West had the better of a poor pitch to take a strong position against Easterns. Easterns' decision to field looked a good one they bowled Griqualand West out for 217 inside a session and a half, Sean O'Connor taking 4 for 65. But less than 20 overs later, they had been skittled out for 70, Alan Kruger taking 5 for 20 and J Coetzee 4 for 25. Although it looked to be more of the same when Griqualand West slipped to 8 for 2, Adrian McLaren (51*) and Jason Brooker (63) restored order with a third-wicket stand of 104 in a little over an hour. Griqualand West closed on 162 for 3, a lead of 310.

Zimbabwe Under-23s had a dogged 86 from Tino Mawoyo to thank for keeping them from another dreadful day against Eastern Province at Port Elizabeth. He was the only one of the top eight to reach double figures as Zimbabwe U-23s crawled to 162 for 9 before declaring. In reply, Eastern Province reached 100 for the loss of Darryl Willemse, Chad Baxter leading the way with an unbeaten 54.

North West squandered a good start against Free State at Bloemfontein, slipping to 236 for 9 declared after at one stage being 94 for 1. Driaan Steyn (52) and Mohammad Akoojee (59) gave them a platform, but Dillon du Preez and Quinton Samson shared six wickets to rip through the middle order. Free State closed on 67 for 1.

Martin Williamson is managing editor of Cricinfo