XtraSpace Bellville Cricket TeamOn Saturday, 13 April, Xtraspace Bellville CC first team took on Cape Town Cricket Club in the 1A AMA20/20 final at Newlands cricket ground.

 

Xtraspace Bellville CC’s captain, William Hantam, called the right side of the coin and elected to bat first. Hantam was joined at the crease by Bradley Barnes to face up to the Cape Town CC bowlers first. Hantam, the leading run scorer the past season in the 1A competition with a mammoth 1052 runs, looked uncharacteristically out of sync with the slow pace of the pitch. He, eventually fell in the 5th over to left arm spinner Tom Main for 1.

 

Barnes fell shortly thereafter for a well played 39. With the score on 45 for 2 after 9 overs, Handre Theron and Stiaan van Zyl set about trying to capitalise on the platform set by the openers. The two found it hard to keep the scoreboard ticking on a pitch more than just a touch on the slow side. After their partnership crossed the 50 run mark, Van Zyl began to up the tempo with a “missile” launched over the cover boundary.

 

At the end of the 20 overs, Xtraspace Bellville CC had managed to graft to 118 for 5, setting Cape Town CC a target of 119 for the win. Although 118 was probably 15 runs short of a par score, Xtraspace Bellville CC knew that it would not be an easy target to chase on a slowing pitch.

 

With that in mind, the boys took to the field in high spirits, sporting bright orange Xtraspace caps.  An ominous sign for the Xtraspace Bellville CC bowlers was when Telo flicked Feldman for a four off only the second ball he faced. Feldman would have the last laugh though when Telo attempted another audacious flick to the leg side. The ball hurtled up sky high and back down to earth where Stiaan van Zyl had positioned himself in the ball’s landing zone and hung on to the catch. 62 needed of 54 balls, 5 wickets in the bank.

 

The game then took a few twists and turns with Cape Town performing well, but luckily with Hantam’s interventions’, the odds tipped back in favour of the boys from the northern suburbs.

 

newslands scoreboardCape Town needed 5 off the last over to win, with two wickets in the bank. The tension in the stands and on the field was palpable. The tension took its toll the first delivery off the final over. Rolfe charged Du Plessis, who, spotting the approaching batter, dropped it short. The ball hit Rolfe’s thigh pad, squirting out to where a leg slip would’ve been. Rolfe turned to get back in his crease, but was called through for the run by Dodds who by now was half-way down the pitch. Hantam, standing at slip, dashed around to collect the ball and threw it to the non-strikers end, where Du Plessis collected and removed the bails with Rolfe still well short of his ground.

 

5 runs, 5 balls, 1 wicket.

 

Although one shot could win it for Cape Town, one shot could also lose it for them. Needless to say the tension was ratcheted up a notch or two as a result. With Dodds on strike and on 22, the pressure was on Du Plessis. Du Plessis responded by bowling a perfect yorker that was swept out to Hendriks on the square leg boundary for a single.

 

4 runs needed off 4 balls, 1 wicket in the bank.

 

With the number 11 batter (Cullinan) on strike, the field was brought up. Those in the inner ring were under strict instruction to be tight on the one, and those manning the boundary were ready to get their jet shoes on to cut off anything hit out to them. This riveting fixture had reached an epic climax.

 

Du Plessis cunningly bowled a full delivery, wide of off-stump. Cullinan, despite not facing a delivery and having the set Dodds at the other end, couldn’t resist the temptation. He took a big swipe at the delivery, the ball catching the outside half of the bat and flying out to no-man’s land over extra cover. Villet, standing at a close mid-off, set-off after the ball, which appeared suspended in the air. It became a race between Villet and gravity. Running to his back and left, he closed the gap between him and the spot the ball was destined to meet with the green grass of Newlands. With the ball making it’s final approach to it’s landing spot, it appeared inevitable that the trajectory of the ball would take it over the left shoulder of the retreating Villet, and out of reach. Arms outstretched, Villet launched himself at the ball. The ball hit his hands. Fielder landed. Had it stuck? Villet bounced up to his feet, and flung the ball into the railway stand. IT HAD!

 

Cue euphoric scenes. The utter tension of 5 seconds earlier had made way for unbridled joy. Spectators rushed onto the field embracing the team that had returned silverware to the club for the first time in 10 years.

 

Standout performances with the ball were MB Feldman, who finished with figures of 3 for 20 in his 4 overs, Hendriks with 2 for 16 in his four, Daniels with 2 for 26 in 4 and Du Plessis, who, bowling in the business end of the match, returned figures off 1 for 4 in 1.3 overs. With the bat, it was the triumvirate of Barnes, Van Zyl and Theron who did the business for Bellville.

 

Xtraspace is proud to be associated with the Bellville Cricket Club. Their infectious energy and great sportsmanship is an inspiration to all of us. Upwards and onwards now boys!

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