KwaZulu-Natal’s top young township cricketers are honing their skills ahead of the 2015 Sunfoil Township Tournament which takes place at Hilton College from 30 June to 3 July.
This is the eighth year that the KwaZulu-Natal Cricket Union (KZNCU) has joined forces with Willowton Group, manufacturers of Sunfoil cooking oil and margarine, to stage this fiercely contested event which enables disadvantaged youngsters to compete against other top players under match conditions.
A total of 336 players and coaches will take part in the tournament making up 24 teams – 12 for U15 players and 12 for U19’s. In all, 49 20/20 matches will be played.
In the U19 age group, five of the teams will be from KZN with seven teams from outside the province. Six of the U15 teams are from KZN and the other six will be visiting teams. This year the visiting teams are Gauteng, Free State, Northerns, Griquas, Border and Western Province.
After the closing ceremony on the final day, the best KZN U15 and U19 players will be picked and they will play against the winning visitors of both age groups. The KZN Sunfoil Elite Squad will also be announced at the award ceremony.
“Willowton Group, through its Sunfoil brand, has supported cricket in South Africa at all levels for many years, from grassroots development up to the national test series,” said Shoaib Moosa, Sales and Marketing Director of Willowton Group.
“The township cricket tournaments are a key element in our overall sponsorship strategy because they provide a stepping stone for our most promising township players into the wider world of national cricket.
“It is at these tournaments that they are able showcase their skills against players from other provinces and where the most talented youngsters grasp the opportunity to rise through the ranks.”
Pete de Wet, CEO of the Sunfoil Dolphins expressed his satisfaction with the successful ongoing partnership between the franchise and Willowton Group.
“Development cricket in the province is in a healthy position at present. We are nurturing talent and seeing quality cricketers emerging.”
“Once again, 55 township teams played in the Durban & District Cricket Union league in the 2014/2015 season with many positive results.
“Umlazi won the league in the junior phase U/13 South stream and Ink 2 KwaMashu and KwaDabeka tied for 1st place in the U15 North stream. Six boys were chosen to represent KZN teams in all age groups, from U11 to U19.”
“A highlight was when the U13 elite boys travelled north for the Sunfoil U13 Gauteng Township Night Tournament earlier this year and came home with the championship title,” de Wet said.
Three KZN township boys are now on bursaries from the Sunfoil Education Trust which means that they receive financial assistance to attend respected schools like Glenwood Prep and Northwood Boys.
The KZN township ladies also had a successful season. Five girls made KZN provincial teams, one was called up to play for the SA women’s squad and one was selected for Cricket SA’s national camp in Pretoria. A KZN girls’ tournament is planned for 9 August.
Moosa emphasised the benefits that the township cricket programme brought to disadvantaged communities in KZN. “There are many positive spin-offs from our commitment to developing cricket stars of the future. At the same time, we are encouraging participation in healthy outdoor activity for the players and developing the game in local communities.”
“Then there are the positive values that playing the game of cricket instills, such as teamwork and the ability to succeed under pressure. All of these are confidence-builders and life skills which will stand them in good stead throughout their lives.”
Sunfoil is just one of Willowton Group’s many popular national brands which include Sunshine D, D’lite, WoodenSpoon as well as Allsome Rice to name but a few.