Fresh from a win on Monday, 6 December, against Wits, the Assupol Tuks team was up at the crack of dawn, greeted yet again with another fresh south-easterly wind.
Today the Tuks boys had to make the arduous journey from beautiful Stellenbosch straight into traffic and into the heart of the Mother City, Cape Town, where they met the Pukke boys from Potch. Two Highveld teams up against one another, in alien conditions (wind) was always going to be an interesting clash.
It started with the toss. Upon arrival, albeit an early one, the coaching staff were in no doubt about what to do first...and that would be to bowl. The wicket was quit moist and had a soft feel to it, plus with the forecast being a balmy 30 degrees and the much spoken about wind, the pitch was sure to dry up and flatten out in the afternoon. Pukke on the other hand, had other ideas. When they won the toss, they immediately chose to have a bat, which in turn put the Tuks boys at ease as that is what they were planning to do from the get go.
Pukke had sent in a pinch hitter upfront to do some early damage, but the Tuks boys were one step ahead. Due to the wind factor, it was decided that Dwaine Pretorius be relieved as the new ball bowler who job was to charge straight into the beast. Instead, responsibilities were given to good old Mr. Reliable Tumi Masekela. Tumi made light work of the pinch hitter as he removed him caught behind in just the 4th over of the game. Rikus Weideman got the second scalp in the first over of his spell, and thus caused the men from Potch to be on the back foot from the outset. A special mention has to be made for Leon Nel, when he returned figures of 0 wickets for 9 runs in 6 overs. In what was arguably the best fielding performance of the week for Tuks (so far), coupled with some serious spin bowling, Tuks bowled out Pukke for 169 in the penultimate over. As per tradition, the Tuks bowlers have a little internal competition amongst themselves - The quickies up against the spinners. For as long as cricket has been around, and I’m sure for plenty more years to come, the arguments about who is better between the two disciplines, always brings with it many humorous and memorable discussions. Today it was the day of the spinners. Collectively they returned figures of 4 wickets for 42 runs in 15 overs, compared to the quickies of 5 for 124 in 30. Not only did the spinners take wickets but they managed to strangle the opposition of vital runs that was needed on a relatively small field. A run out accounted for the 10th wicket.
Once the stomachs were full after the lunch break, it seemed that the opening pair of Francois le Clus and Ernest Kemm did not have enough to eat, as their hunger for runs was a sight to behold as they guided Assupol Tuks to 116 in just the 22nd over for the opening partnership. Kemm was the first to go for 36 runs to what seemed a rather peculiar LBW decision as he doubled stepped down the wicket in the search for more runs. Captain le Clus was in bludgeoning form as he reached his half century off just 55 balls which included 7 boundaries and one HUGE six which rolled all the way down to Main road in Cape Town. After a lengthy retrieval operation, play could eventually be continued.
For Tuks to attain the bonus point victory, the runs would have to be scored in the 36th over, and with the score on 135 for 1 after the 30th over, the chase was on. Le Clus eventually fell for a well played 89 off 104 deliveries. Next in was the in form Shaun Liebisch, who got stuck into the bowlers with two boundaries in one over. The score was then 164 for 2 after 34 overs, still a bit tense and tight to say the least. In the 36th over Assupol Tuks needed just 5 runs for victory, and eventually got the runs with a boundary thanks to the bat of Liebisch. A real clinical performance from the Tuks boys today at UCT, on a day that started for us at 6am. Up next, will be arch USSA rivals UWC to be played at the Easterns Cricket Club ground in Kraaifontein. The winner of that match will determine who finishes top in the table.
Pukke – 169 all out in 45 overs
Kemm 3 for 21 in 8 overs
Pretorius 3 for 33 in 8 overs
Vermeulen 1 for 21 in 7 overs
Masekela 1 for 25 in 6 overs
Nel 0 for 9 in 6 overs
Assupol Tuks – 171 for 2 after 35.3 overs
Le Clus 89 (104)
Kemm 36 (55)
Nel 22* (44)
Liebisch 16* (11)
Assupol Tuks wins by 8 wickets and a bonus point