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Sunfoil Series: Warriors show promising signs, despite draw against Lions

By Marc Jacobson - Sep 26, 2017
Sunfoil Series: Warriors show promising signs, despite draw against Lions

The Warriors got their 2017/18 season off to a considerably stern start, as they locked a high-flying draw against the Lions in their first Sunfoil Series clash at the iconic Wanderers Stadium over the weekend.

Although a draw is, in terms of the outcome, a small determinant for how the Eastern Cape side will envelop as the long season between the different cricketing codes becomes more pronounced, the Warriors did show promise where it matters.

Playing against a star-studded Lions outfit, with prominent names such as Kagiso Rabada, Dwaine Pretorius, Stephen Cook and Reeza Hendricks, and also playing in their own backyard; the Warriors were always going to be up against it.

The Eastern Capers persevered well though, and took to the crease first after winning the toss and electing to play in the middle. Openers Edward Moore and David White, immediately set the marker with an opening stand of 209 runs.

Both endured the conditions and sponged up the opening stanzas, each facing a combined 396 balls. Moore scored a styling 115, and White fell just short of the century milestone, making 94.

Gihahn Cloete, batting at number three then scored a decent 41, but a quick succession of two ducks saw Yaseen Vallie and Lesiba Ngoepe depart without any contribution. Stalwart, JJ Smuts then took to the middle, and he further paved the foundation, scoring an outstanding 117, and he was partnered well by Clyde Fortuin (65), as the Warriors began picking off at the home side.

Sisanda Magala scored a swift 43 near to the tail-end, as the Warriors declared on 503/8. For the Lions, South African U20 representative Wiaan Mulder bowled well in their prolonged innings, achieving 4/70 figures.

The home side showed a lot of promise themselves, but it was to no avail, as the Warriors’ mammoth projection proved too much of a task, getting picked off for 348, falling a wholesome 155 runs short to just avoid a follow-on.

Mulder also delivered with the bat and top-scored with 79 runs, followed by Nicky van den Bergh (58) and Hendricks (58). With the ball, Magala bowled resiliently, taking 4/80 bowling figures, backed up well by Andrew Birch (3/96).

In their second stint, the Warriors did well to extend their ascertained lead, and were om top of that, unluckily hindered when White retired hurt, but they nonetheless still made 199/4 before declaring with a 355-run, as the match began racing against time in the four-day game.

Ngoepe scored a considerable 52 not out, and Smuts again batted superbly, making 58. With only just over 60 overs to take the Lions out, both sides knew that time was on the chase, and the clock won the race as the Johannesburg side scored 190/3.

The mountain for the home side was peaked, but fortunately time did save them as they managed to succumb to a draw, but if there was an extra day for instance, the Warriors could have closely reached for gold. Anrich Nortje achieved 3/45 figures in that last bowling spell and for the Lions, Omphile Ramela (67) and Rassie van der Dussen (52 not out) top-scored with the bat.

The visitors can count themselves unlucky to not have returned home with a full bag of points on a run-prone wicket, but the positive signs they did show, can bode well for them as the season further unravels in the longer format of the game.

The Warriors begin their second game against the Cape Cobras at St. Georges Park on Thursday.

Image: Warriors' JJ Smuts in action.