October 6, 2000

Van Wyk's hat-trick of hundreds sees Free State beat Boland

BLOEMFONTEIN, Oct 6 - Morne van Wyk scored his third century in as many innings to lead Free State to a six-wicket win over Boland in Bloemforntein on Friday.

Van Wyk has hammered hundreds against North West and Northerns in pre-season friendlies, and his undefeated 101 against Boland was his maiden Stand Bank League century. He faced 86 balls in his chanceless innings and hit five fours and a six.

In the process, Free State replied to Boland's 225 for five with 226 for four in 41.2 overs.

Most of Van Wyk's support came from Wiaan Smit, who scored 47 in a third-wicket stand of 70 which saw Free State safely through the middle overs.

The evergreen Louis Wilkinson and Van Wyk shared 49 for the fourth wicket before Gerry Liebenberg squeezed out an unbeaten 15 in the unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 61.

Free State batted as Boland would have wanted to on a pitch worth at least 260, particuarly against the home side's limited attack. However, on the night it's doubtful whether Boland would have batted positively against any attack. Their inward looking top order became bogged down and while Jonathan Trott scored 65 it took him 90 balls to do so.

That said, Boland badly needed the 57 runs Trott and Louis Koen put on for the second wicket, as well as the 63 added by Trott and Piet Barnard. But it was only once Justin Ontong came to the crease that the innings caught alight. Ontong smashed his 55 not out off 41 balls with four fours and a six.

With Steven Palframan he shared 69 for the fifth wicket, and there can be be no doubt that Boland reached 200 only due to Ontong's efforts.