The Varsity Cricket 2019 tournament, in its new Spring-week calendar slot, was one of low scores with terrific bowling and fielding ruling the day.
Only five batsmen managed to score over 200 runs in the tournament, with spinners having a field day on the early-season September pitches at Senwes Park, Ibbies Oval and the NWU Oval in Potchefstroom.
Contrasting with usual T20 fare, batsmen had to work hard for runs, and those who played with a balanced mix of caution and aggression got due reward.
Unsurprisingly, considering they won their fourth title in five editions, Tuks got the balance just right. Their opening batsmen, captain Neil Brand and Jiveshen Pillay scored the majority of the runs, before their supremely talented and disciplined bowling attack kept the opponents at bay.
NWU assistant coach Niel Bredenkamp, who’s charges faltered in the semi-finals, had a quick chat to varsitysportssa.com and gave his thoughts on the best players of the tournament. Bredenkamp agreed that these players deserved their place in the team and even though he did not always keep a keen eye on every team, he signalled out a couple of players who played to their potential.
Title-winning Tuks coach, Kruger van Wyk, also gave his input and stated that his team showcased the desire, will and maturity to once again take the title of Varsity Cricket’s best.
Varsity Cricket 2019’s (unofficial) Team of the Tournament
1. Neil Brand (Tuks)
Neil Brand was the pillar of the Tuks team leading from the front with both bat and ball. The 23-year-old Tourism Post Grad student took 11 wickets at an impressive average of 13.8 and also smashed two 50s and 269 runs in total.
Brand duly walked away with the FNB Player of the Tournament award for the second straight year which will back up the Titans decision to award him with a full-time professional contract.
2. Lourén Steenkamp (NWU)
Brand’s opening partner in a composite team will be Lourén Steenkamp, who hit the only century of the tournament against Madibaz to secure an impressive victory for NWU.
The 22-year-old also hit a fine 94 against UWC and racked up the most runs, 272, during the tournament.
3. Jiveshen Pillay (Tuks)
One of the keys to Tuks’ success was the strength and experience of the squad and Jiveshen Pillay was one of those players who shone with the bat.
According to Pillay’s coach, Kruger van Wyk, the 20-year-old B.Com General student deserves to be on the team based on a great and consistent performance. A tally of 189 runs at an average of 31.5 and strike rate of 118 with a best score of 65 not out is a testament to this.
4. Joshua Richards (UJ)
Though a talented opener from UJ, Joshua Richards will have to move down a few places in the composite team to continue the big hitting he is renowned for.
Richards, a 20-year-old Business Management student, hit two fantastic 50s (both against the NWU in winning efforts) which helped UJ reach the Varsity Cricket final for the first time.
5. Tristan Stubbs (Madibaz)
Tristan Stubbs was one of the shining lights for Madibaz. The 19-year-old wicketkeeper batted in the middle order and hit 258 runs at an average of 51.6 and strike rate of 121 – picking up three awards for his batting in the first two days.
Stubbs, who’s a first year B.Com Marketing and Business Management student, hit a top score of 80.
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6. Delano Potgieter (UJ)
The star UJ all-rounder, Delano Potgieter, played a crucial role with bat and ball in his side’s progression to the final.
Potgieter, who is now a fully-fledged member of the Highveld Lions’ franchise squad, was one of the calming influences for the Orange Army and his 262 run at an average of 43.7 and strike rate of 157 proves this.
The 23-year-old Business Management student also took five wickets and bowled economically in the middle overs.
7. Henro Janse van Rensburg (NWU)
Janse van Rensburg was one of the finds of the tournament with his spin bowling and lower-order hitting helping his side to the semi-finals.
Janse van Rensburg took 11 wickets at an average of 14.4 and an economy rate of 5.89.
Unfortunately, his 73 in the semi-final was not enough for the hosts, but showed his power with the willow.
8. Sean Gilson (Tuks)
The 20-year-old spinner was named the MTN Pulse Bowler of the Tournament for his 16 wickets an an average of 9.1 and strike rate of 10.3. Gilson was also economical only going a 5.3 runs to the over.
A true find for Tuks who used him well in the middle overs to strangle the opposition.
9. Chad Classen (UJ)
UJ’s premier strike bowler was on top form during the tournament and the sight of the 22-year-old’s long run up and passionate celebrations were one of the highlights for UJ fans.
The second year Municipal Governance student picked up 4/9 against previously-unbeaten Maties in one of the spells of the tournament.
10. Emmanuel Sebareme (UWC)
Emmanuel Sebareme once again swopped his football boots for cricket spikes and the UWC off-spinner was impressive in taking 15 wickets, including 4/12 against UJ.
Sebareme, a third year B.Com Information Systems student, was also one of the tidiest bowlers giving away nothing as he ended the tournament with an economy rate of 4.82. An average of 9.0 is also something to be extremely proud of.
11. Ruben Trumpelmann (Tuks)
Ruben Trumpelmann, Tuks’ blonde assassin, was one of the quickest bowlers at the tournament and the left-armer made life difficult for all the batsmen.
The 21-year-old’s 13 wickets and man of the match performance in the final cements his place in the side.
Trumpelmann, who’s a third-year B.Com Entrepeneurship student, would’ve had more wickets had he not been rested for two matches.
12. Danfred Sefoor (NWU)
Danfred Sefoor was NWU’s best and most consistent spinner, with the Human Movement Sciences student making numerous inroads with his left-arm spin.
Sefoor (20) picked up 12 wickets at a strike rate of 15 and an average of 14.3.
13. Joshua van Heerden (Madibaz)
Madibaz captain Joshua van Heerden was one of the best batsmen for his side and the 21-year-old B.Com General student hit 199 runs at an average of 33.2 which included two 50s.
14. Kundai Matigimu (Tuks)
Zimbabwe-born Matigimu was one of Tuks’ surprise packages with his variation and skilful death bowling.
The 21-year-old B. Ed student took 10 wickets and was one of the stars in the semi- (when he picked up his second MTN Pulse Best Bowler award) and final as he left batsmen clueless with his variations. Matigimu’s strike rate of 9.3 was impressive, but he just misses out on the starting line-up.
By Wouter Pienaar