Glenwood High School claimed a place at their maiden National Coca-Cola Schools T20 Challenge as the KwaZulu-Natal winners, after a narrow eight run victory over St Charles in the provincial final at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead on Friday afternoon.
Having won the toss in the pressurized final, St Charles managed to restrict the Green Machine to 117/9 in their 20 overs, a score that might have seemed below par, however with the semi-final being a low-scoring affair the game was in the balance at halfway.
Semi-final hero Thamsanqa Khumalo continued his good limited overs form top scoring for the Durban side with a patient 47 from 48 balls.
Riley Coutts was the stand-out performer for the Pietermaritzburg side as he attempted to get his team as close as possible to the magic 118 for victory. Coutts fell for a well-played 52 from 48 deliveries, which was just not enough to get his side into a first national final.
Despite Coutts’ best efforts one of the highlights of the game was Jaden Hendrikse’s three-wicket haul that helped restrict St Charles in their run chase and left them eight runs short on 109/7 from their 20 overs.
Jay Naidoo, the Amateur Cricket Manager at the KwaZulu-Natal Cricket Union congratulated Glenwood as it will be their first time representing the province along with the union in the national competition.
“They have done really well, but the one thing that they should invest in and really train themselves into mastering, is hitting boundaries, especially for tournament such as the T20, because those are the most crucial,” he said.
Daelen Fynn, the team’s captain at Glenwood expressed his enormous joy following the victory.
“We have come a long way and the guys have improved with each game that we have played and we’ve been serious since the beginning of the year.
“Each week they kept telling me that they want to go to Stellenbosch that they want to play in the tournament and I could see it in their eyes, in every game, that they were fighting.
“Obviously, it means a lot to us and it is the first time Glenwood has won the tournament, so it is a huge thing for us this year and all we can do for now is keep fighting and never stop believing,” he commented.
The tournament was going to be won by small margins on the field and St Charles coach Murray Cole-Edwards understood the difficulties that his team was going to face against a strong Glenwood outfit.
“We knew it was going to get harder and harder, but that is how it is supposed to be, so congratulations to Glenwood, they showed a good fighting spirit and good luck to them as they proceed with the journey,” Cole-Edwards said.
The eighth edition of the Coca Cola Schools T20 Challenge will take place on the 26th – 28th March 2017 in Stellenbosch, although fixtures have not yet been finalised.
SUMMARY OF RESULT:
Glenwood 1st XI – 117/9 (T.Khumalo 47)
St Charles 1st XI – 109/7 (R.Coutts 52)
Glenwood won by 8 runs