The Northern Cape Heat are ready and raring to take a go at the opposition in the CSA T20 Provincial Knock-out competition to be hosted by Northern Cape Cricket after an almost 20-year interval.
THE NORTHERN Cape Heat cricket team are ready and raring to take a go at the opposition in the first ever Cricket South Africa (CSA) sanctioned T20 Provincial Knock-out competition to be hosted by NCC (Northern Cape Cricket) after an almost 20-year interval.
To signal their intentions with this tournament, coach Mark Charlton announced long-time NCC servant Aubrey Swanepoel as the Heat’s captain ahead of the tournament. This is familiar terrain for the all-rounder who led the provincial team during the CSA Provincial T20 Cup last season.
The Heat took the nets on Tuesday morning for their second session at the Diamond Oval under the biosecure bubble conditions imposed on all teams that will take part in the competition which kicks off on Friday morning in Kimberley.
This week’s training session was the second under the watchful eye of newly-appointed provincial coach Mark Charlton and his assistants.
Diamond Oval Stadium manager Sherwin Jacobs confirmed that all the pool A teams had been under strict quarantine since Sunday morning. He said the four squads who will square off against each other had been safely housed at the Protea Hotel at the Big Hole.
Jacobs confirmed that the T20 games will be broadcast for the duration of the tournament, but no spectators will be allowed to the venue. This rigorous method of keeping the teams safe will be followed throughout the tournament.
Charlton said his squad has put in the hard work in preparation of this competition. “We’ve been working for the last three months towards this competition. Obviously to have this opportunity to play in a professional structure as South African cricketers is amazing for us. All the players are very keen to get onto the park,” he said.
“We’ve been in the bubble in Kimberley since Sunday night and we’ve been doing preparations and training ahead of our game against South Western Districts on Friday. We’re also taking on Six Gun Grill Western Province and the Imperial Lions throughout this competition,” Charlton added.
The coach refrained from forecasting, prefering to promise a hard fight. “We are hoping obviously that we can make a big impact and hopefully progress up to the next round. I think that our preparations have been good and feel that we’re ready for this. We just want to get onto the field and put our skills out there and hopefully come out tops.”
NCC CEO Eugene Jacobs expressed his excitement at hosting the Pool A teams in Kimberley. “It is a huge honour for NCC to host this T20 KO Challenge on behalf of CSA right here in Kimberley in the Northern Cape. We are ready to host a world class event. The staff have worked extremely hard in preparing for this event,” the CEO said.
“It is also an honour for us that our own NC Heat team will participate for the first time in 20 years in a professional setup. I am very grateful to the staff who have committed to making sure that we present a world class event,” he added.
Jacobs added that the exposure will be of incalculable value for the Province. “This event will be televised on SuperSport. That means the Northern Cape will be showcased widely for the duration of the tournament. We are privileged that we will host two of the pool stages in Kimberley and that we’ll host the finals weekend sometime in October,” he said.
In conclusion Jacobs said that everything was up, in place and ready to go. “All our preparations are on their way. The field looks magnificent and we really hope that we can see exciting and thrilling cricket.
“From our perspective we hope that the Northern Cape Heat qualifies for the finals weekend. That will be the cherry on the cake and a real honour for us as a province to be able to establish ourselves to get into the first division in two years’ time.”
Friday, September 24
(10am): Western Province vs Lions
(2.30pm): NC Heat vs SWD
Saturday, September 25
(10am): SWD vs Western Province
(2.30pm): NC Heat vs Lions
Sunday, September 26
(10am): SWD vs Lions
(2.30pm): NC Heat vs Western Province