Home Sport That’s three on the trot for the Heat

That’s three on the trot for the Heat

305

The Northern Cape Heat cricket team secured their place in history with a stunning victory over the Itec Knights in the CSA Division 2 Four-Day Series.

the Northern Cape Heat cricket team secured their place in history with a stunning victory over the Itec Knights in the CSA Division 2 Four-Day Series. Picture: Danie van der Lith

FOLLOWING a thrilling showdown at the Kimberley Diamond Oval this past week, the Northern Cape Heat cricket team secured their place in history with a stunning victory over the Itec Knights in the CSA Division 2 Four-Day Series.

This triumph marks an unprecedented achievement, as the Heat have now claimed the Four-Day trophy for an incredible third consecutive year.

The victory underscores the power of teamwork and collective determination in the pursuit of a common goal. It must be said that the Heat’s unwavering dedication and cohesive efforts propelled them to this momentous success.

Not only does the win earn them the prestigious trophy, but it also translates into a significant financial reward, with a prize purse of R450,000 secured.

How the game unfolded

The match unfolded over four intense days, each marked by remarkable performances and nail-biting twists.

On the opening day, the Itec Knights were sent in to bat after the hosts won the toss. They took immediate advantage of the conditions and displayed their prowess, closing the day with 327/8 on the board.

Basheer Walters and Grant Thompson led the Heat’s bowling attack, with Walters claiming 3/18 on the day, eventually ending with innings figures of 4/20 and Thompson taking 2/10 in the Knights’ innings. Isaac Dikgale stood tall for the visitors with his 122 off 245 balls.

Northern Cape Heat players, Hanu Viljoen and Johan van Dyk are seen after winning the CSA Four Day Series at the Kimberley Diamond Oval. Picture: Danie van der Lith

Day two saw the Knights all out for 330 runs, setting the stage for a fierce contest. Meanwhile, the Northern Cape Heat took on the challenge and concluded the second day at 309/8.

With standout batting performances from Jonathan Vandier (92 off 149), Jason Oakes (82 off 149), and Grant Thomson (56 off 70), the Heat ended their first innings with a healthy 427 in the bag, a lead of 97. But as the match progressed to the third day, the Knights regained their lead, albeit a slight advantage, ending the day with 193/8 and holding a 96-run advantage over the NC Heat.

It was on the decisive Day 4 that the Northern Cape Heat staged a remarkable comeback. The Knights were eventually dismissed for 222, leaving the hosts a tricky target of 126 for victory on a pitch that had already seen three days of action.

Fueled by sheer grit and determination and in a thrilling finale, the Heat fought their way to 126/6 and clinched victory over the Knights by four wickets, sending waves of jubilation through the stadium. Skipper Ernest Kemm’s 44 served as the backbone of the march to victory.

The atmosphere at the Kimberley Diamond Oval had been electric throughout, with spectators on the edge of their seats all through the match. As the final run was scored, cheers erupted, and the Heat players embraced in celebration, some overcome with tears of joy.

The best in SA in the four-day game

The significance of this achievement by the Northern Cape heat may not be fully grasped by these young cricketers that battled for the win. Winning the CSA Four-Day Series three times in a row is no easy feat and the win solidifies and confirms their position as the best in the country in the four-day game.

Yet, beyond the trophy, their victory has brought the spotlight back to Northern Cape Cricket. These young cricketers have become role models for aspiring players, inspiring them to emulate their success and dream of playing at the Diamond Oval.

The impact of their achievement extends beyond the field. It serves as a beacon of hope for the community, particularly for young boys who now see a path to realising their cricketing dreams. Their dedication and perseverance will have the knock-on effect of rekindling the passion for cricket in the region, revitalising interest in the sport.

The architect of success

Behind the scenes, the driving force behind their success is the NC Heat coach, Mark Chalton. Regarded by many as the best coach in the country, Chalton has been the architect of their achievements. He is more than just a coach to these players; he is a mentor, a father figure, and a source of unwavering inspiration and support.

Charlton’s record speaks volumes, with three consecutive CSA Four-Day wins under his belt. His leadership and guidance have been instrumental in shaping the team’s success, earning him the admiration and respect of players and fans alike.

Nc Heat head coach, Mark Charlton is seen holding the trophy with NC Heat captain, Ernest Kemm. Picture: Danie van der Lith

Reflecting on their historic win, Chalton hailed the team’s resilience and unity. He praised individual standout players for exceptional contributions but emphasised that victory was a collective effort.

“I think out of the three (titles), it was definitely the most challenging competition that we have played and obviously won. I think after our start early in the season, which was not great, to come back and to show so much guts and determination on this team was amazing.

“The guys showed what they were about as people, not just as cricketers. They showed a lot of skill as well.

Johan van Dyk is seen overcome with joy while hugging his coach, Mark Charlton. Picture: Danie van der Lith

“I have to say, well done to the Knights. I think they pushed us so hard, and that was such a tough game of cricket,” said Charlton.

“Really, really good, hard-fought game of cricket, and we’re just so happy to have come out on the right side of it. We obviously have the T20s coming up next. That’s going to be a massive challenge for us, and we’re hoping we can go out and put a little bit more pressure on the Knights when it comes to promotion and relegation.”

The team has grown

Charlton’s insightful remarks shed light on the team’s journey and the challenges they faced en route to victory. He highlighted the resilience and determination displayed by his players, emphasising their growth not only as cricketers but as individuals.

“I have to just note two guys who’ve been absolutely magnificent in the last couple of weeks, and those two are Johan van Dyk and Basheer Walters. I’m so proud of what they’ve done. They’ve run in with energy and pace and hit the deck so hard consistently.

Champagne corks popped as celebrations filled the Kimberley Diamond Oval. Picture: Danie van der Lith

“You know, I’ve been watching them, and I just don’t know how they did it, and to keep that up and going for so long was incredible.

“They picked up a lot of wickets as well. So I’m very proud of those two guys. And a lot of credit can go to them. But, at the end, it is a team effort, and I am proud of each player and management team member involved. It takes a team to achieve something like this, and what a team it is.”

From the captain’s side …

The captain of the NC Heat, Ernest Kemm, also shared his perspective on the challenges of the Four Day Series and the team’s journey to victory with the DFA.

“Spending four days in the Northern Cape sun is not easy, and travelling out of town is always a difficult thing. We had a very slow start. We had a draw against the Eastern Storm, and then we lost badly against the Itec Knights (at the start of this season’s competition).

After that slow start, we had deep talks with each other, and we were hard on each other because we knew that we could do better and what we were capable of.

“We then started playing really good cricket after that chat. We beat Mpumalanga and SWD playing away, and that gave us good momentum. It gave back the belief that we were capable of winning the series. We then ended up with a very strong Limpopo team, and that was an amazing match from both teams.

Cricket South Africa President, Rihan Richards (left) is seen with NC Heat captain, Ernest Kemm. Picture: Danie van der Lith

“We made the right calls at the right time, and by doing so, we won the match and secured a home final,” Kemm said as he painted the path to the final.

As for the final, Kemm acknowledged the challenge. “The very strong Knights team held us on our toes. They pushed us hard and really gave us a challenge,” he said. “But we are really happy that we can lift that trophy at the end of the day. I am sure the boys are feeling the pain in their bodies, but the pain was worth it at the end of the day.

“I am super proud of the boys; every one of them came to the party to achieve this win.

“We are now looking ahead to the T20, which is fun and challenging at the same time,” added the skipper. “We are looking forward to being tested and challenged, and we will see who will be putting up their hands in the T20 to win this tournament for us as well,” concluded Kemm.

The captain’s reflections offer insight into the team’s resilience and determination, highlighting their journey from adversity to triumph. His words resonate with the spirit of perseverance and camaraderie that define the Northern Cape Heat.

Dwindling crowds a challenge

Yet, despite the quality of the team that calls the Kimberley Oval home, in recent years, cricket spectator numbers have dwindled, casting a shadow over the sport and its impact on the community.

There is hope though that the NC Heat’s consistent success offers a glimmer of optimism, signalling a potential resurgence in interest and support for cricket in the region.

The Kimberley Diamond Oval, once a hub of excitement and camaraderie, has seen its stands grow quieter with each passing season. But now, with the Heat’s victory, there is an opportunity to breathe new life into this historic venue.

Northern Cape Cricket President, Gibson Molale, was photographed proudly clutching the SCA Division 2 Four Day Series trophy, affirming its rightful place atop the shelf in the presidential suite. Picture: Danie van der Lith

To truly rebuild cricket in the Northern Cape province, it requires more than just the efforts of the players on the field. It calls for the support and engagement of the community.

By attending events at the Diamond Oval, cheering for the players, and bringing along friends and family, residents can play a vital role in reigniting the passion for cricket in their backyard.

All over the country there are sports stadiums that are considered fortresses for the home teams, and this is solely due to the passionate and overwhelming support of the local supporters in those cities and towns. The Oval in Kimberley could potentially be an extremely intimidating fortress, if local supporters came to the party.

When the stands echo with the cheers of fans once again, the Kimberley Diamond Oval will reclaim its status as a cornerstone of cricket in the region. And with each match, each cheer, and each moment of celebration, the Heat, with coach Chalton at the helm, and their supporters will continue to rebuild the proud legacy of cricket in the Northern Cape.

Previous articleR3 million budget for Sopa
Next articleSol ‘working feverishly’ to fix city’s roads – mayor