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October 15, 2007
Despite losing the opening day to rain, the Eagles opened their season with a 43-run against the Dolphins at Durban. Boeta Dippenaar anchored Eagles' first innings in bowler-friendly conditions with 115 after they'd slumped to 89 for 5. Brent Kops, a winter signing from the Warriors, and Dillon du Preez shared eight wickets as the Dolphins folded for 104 in reply. But despite a lead of 169, Morne van Wyk declined the follow-on and the Eagles batted aggressively for 40 overs to set a target of 339. On the final day the Dolphins found some backbone and made the match into a contest. Ahmed Amla hit his sixth first-class century and with support from the middle order kept his side in with a chance as they battled to 255 for 5. But du Preez chipped away and Jacques Rudolph, who worked on his leg spin during the English season with Yorkshire, contributed with key wickets. He ended Amla's defiance although the Eagles couldn't breath easily until he claimed the final wicket.
Lonwabo Tsotsobe, the left-arm fast bowler, laid down a marker for his season with a career-best 7 for 39, but the Warriors had to settle for a draw against the Lions at The Wanderers. The home side had Justin Ontong to thank for keeping them in the match as he produced a fine double of 69 and 108. Tsotsobe's haul restricted the Lions to 183 and the visitors built a lead of 95 with useful displays down the order. But they found wickets harder to come by second time around. Ontong's century came off 155 balls and he allowed Neil McKenzie the luxury of a declaration, setting the Warriors 284. A hostile spell from Garnett Kruger caused some early alarms but bad light - which had plagued the match at regular intervals - closed in during the final session.
A century from Henry Davids guided the Cape Cobras to a draw against the Titans at Benoni after a final-day wobble. With four wickets down they were just 31 ahead, but Davids (123 not out) and Stiaan van Zyl (67) added 160 to calm nerves. Davids hadn't fared so well in the first innings, collecting a third-ball duck, but half-centuries from van Zyl (74) and Gerhard Strydom (82) carried the Cobras to 378 after the opening day was cut to 25 overs. The Titans responded strongly with a century opening stand backed up by Martin van Jaarsveld's 89. But the difference was Pierre Joubert, who hit 12 fours and a six in his 85. When he struck twice in two balls to reduce the Cobras to 49 for 4 the Titans were scenting a win, but Davids had other ideas.
Player of the week - Lonwabo Tsotsobe
The Warriors' 23-year-old fast-medium left-armer Lonwabo Tsotsobe was the pick of the bowlers in the first round of matches, taking a career-best 7 for 39 against the Lions at the Wanderers. He broke through in his sixth over with three wickets in four deliveries - had he not overstepped on his hat-trick ball he might have had an even better day. Aided by low cloud and with the pitch offering bounce, the big and burly Tsotsobe swung the ball both ways, three wickets coming lbw with big inswingers, four to the slips with movement away from the batsmen. As the conditions calmed down, so did Tsotsobe. He took 0 for 102 in the second innings.
SAA Provincial Three-Day Challenge
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