Eagles v Cobras, Bloemfontein September 22, 2009

Season opener ends in tame draw


There were four centuries scored in this game but only 18 wickets taken in a somber encounter in Bloemfontein. The Eagles hosted the Cobras in the first match of the new season and the while the match was a show-piece of young batting talent, it showing no signs of the competitiveness on offer in the tournament and played out to a draw.

The good news is that the four batsmen who reached triple-figures are all fairly young players who may go on to represent the country at higher levels. Andrew Puttick was the first to bring up his 100 and starred in a 149-run opening stand with Alistair Gray. Twenty-one year old Richard Levi was the other centurion with 137, with Gray and Ryan Canning notching up half-centuries. The most positive element of the Cobras batting was the quickfire 60 smashed off 37 balls by Rory Kleinveldt, batting at number nine. The Eagles bowlers toiled hard and with little success, with only Con de Lange managing more than one wicket. (3 for 107).

The Eagles responded with equal flair in the batting, and also had an opening batsman score a century. Dean Elgar made 112 before becoming the first of Justin Ontong's three victims. A second wicket century stand saw the hosts to 219 for two and set the tone for a draw. De Lange scored 54 down the order, as the Eagles were bowled out 527.

The Cobras put on 60 without loss to end the first match of the competition. It was the Eagles who ended up with more points, 6.26, while the Cobras finished with 5.54.

Batsman of the week: Rilee Rossouw. He scored 115 runs and in the process became the 11th-youngest South African batsman to notch up 1000 runs first-class runs. Rossouw is 19 years and 346 days old. The record for the youngest South African to reach the landmark is held by Kepler Wessels, who was 18 years and 282 days at the time. Rossouw also gets our young Player-of-the-Week accolade.

Bowler of the week: Alistair Gray Gray was one of three bowlers to take three wickets. He captured 3 for 98 to create some minor destruction in the Eagles middle order which saw them go from 432 for five to 510 for eight.

Firdose Moonda is a freelance writer based in Johannesburg