Boost for Avendale’s hope of promotion

Michael Swartz scored 52 runs to help Avendale move up to fourth spot on the competitive Western Province Cricket Association First Division 1A club league. Picture: Lonwabo Marele

Consistent wins in the Western Province Cricket Association (WPCA) First Division 1A are boosting Avendale Cricket Club’s chances of gaining promotion to the Premier League next season.

The return of senior players Michael Swartz and Chester Alexander has added a strong sense of leadership to the teams performance.

They are fourth on the log with 62 points, trailing third-placed Northerns Goodwood Cricket Club by three points and second-placed Primrose by five points. Log-leaders, Milnerton Cricket Club are on 76 points.

During this past weekend’s overcast weather, Avendale hosted Strandfontein, in Athlone, on Saturday. Their second fixture of the weekend against UCT was abandoned due to heavy showers on Sunday.

Strandfontein won the toss and elected to bowl first. They managed to dismiss Avendale for 183 runs in 48.1 overs.

During Avendale’s innings, captain Chad Josephs scored 39 runs off 80 balls, Reece Engelbrecht scored 26 runs off 44 and Swartz scored 52 runs off 79.

Swartz, who has been a part of Avendale since junior level, made his return to the team this season after five years of not playing due to family responsibilities.

Chester Alexander and Tashwill Carolus walk off the pitch after Avendale’s innings against Strandfontein. Avendale won by 51 runs in Athlone on Saturday. Picture: Lonwabo Marele

“I came back to contribute to the team being promoted to the Premier League. I think we did really well. It was not easy to bat first but we put up a good total and defended it really well,” he said.

Alexander made a return to the team three games ago. He left last season after Avendale won the league, to focus on spending more time with family.

“The body is sore but we are good. I’ve always been a part of the club for almost 20 years, from school boy cricket to senior club cricket,” he said.

Alexander’s bowling figures are his best for the season. He helped to destroy Strandfontein’s batting innings. He took 6/36 runs in 10 overs. Avendale bowled out Strandfontein for 132 runs in 29 overs, winning by 51 runs.

“I think it is because I understand how they play cricket. We played really well but there is always room for improvement,” said Alexander.

Player-coach, Keanan Mitchell said it’s good to have both Swartz and Alexander back to help the boys’ confidence ahead of Premier League promotion.

“They’ve added a lot of value to the team. We are proud to have them back. The team played well together. I am always happy to beat the Strandfontein side, especially since I stay there,” he said.

Avendale will look to jump up to second place on the log when they come up against an on-form Primrose, in Claremont, this coming Saturday.