Strandfontein in the driving seat

Strandfontein middle order batsman Shaun Jacobs contributed a solid 22 runs off 52 balls as his side went on beat Green Point by five wickets, at home at the weekend.

Strandfontein Cricket Club’s run-scoring machines, Sulaiman Jaffar and Shaun Jacobs have been instrumental in the club’s successful performances in the Western Province Cricket Association (WPCA) First Division A one-day and AMA 20 matches this season.

Strandfontein are third on the one-day log after winning four of their five games, and only being defeated by three runs by United Cricket Club a fortnight ago. They are also in the AMA 20 finals against Avendale, which will be held at Newlands in April next year.

Jaffar made 362 runs in eight one-days and AMA 20 matches. He scored 195 runs in two one-day matches, and 167 runs in six AMA 20 matches.

On Saturday, Jaffar scored 18 boundaries, including 16 fours and 2 sixes, cruising to an undefeated 123 runs of 125 balls.

Jacobs, on the other hand, has 184 runs in 11 matches, including 125 runs in the AMA 20 with his highest score being 72 not out against Avendale last month.

Strandfontein player and coach Keanan Mitchell said the team was a mixture of experience and young hungry talent from around the area.

“They are seasoned campaigners. I can’t really coach them much, I’m just there to guide them. Sulaiman’s 123 against Green Point was one of the best we have ever seen and it was against one of the toughest teams,” he said.

Mitchell said Jacobs, who is known to his teammates as Ike, manages to assess the playing conditions very well.

“Ike brings the experience around us. With the young team that we have, you can see when he enters to bat in the middle order, there is always that sense of calmness,” he said.

Mitchell said opening bowlers, Saliegh Jaffar and Rostill Wessels “have been leading the attack for years”.
“The team should keep going and not stop doing what we are doing. We are a bunch of boys from Strandfontein who’ve become friends over the years through cricket,” he said.

Jacobs said there has been ups and downs, with players unable to join the team because of work commitments. He was, however, quick to note that the start to the season has been good, despite that.

“It is a little bit of experience mixed with a collective performance with the youngsters. The guys are really applying themselves, it is a team performance,” he said.

Jacobs said Saliegh Jaffar and Wessels are at the pick of their bowling this season.

“They bowl a lot of maidens and give us a good start, which the batsmen capitalise on,” he said.

He also noted that the club has taught him a lot, in terms of the basics.

“I wasn’t really a great batsman, but they taught me how to assess conditions, it is all in the mind and I try to help the youngsters in the team to understand that too,” he said.

Jacobs said they like to bowl first at home because the pitch is flat and it will break in the afternoon.

“We look at the pitch and try to assess how the match will go. We look at our game and our approach to the game. We try not to take out foot off the pedal and play for the badge,” he said.

Strandfontein captain, Chad Josephs said all 17 squad players are always willing to put in the extra effort. “All the players come from the junior ranks – and it is always great for the gents to go out there and not worry about admin on match day because we are backed by a good management committee,” he said.

Joseph said the Jaffar brothers are an example of players that are mentally strong, in particular Sulaiman when it comes to batting and fielding.

“The opening partnership between Sulaiman and Brent Josephs against Green Point got us off to a good start and when Shaun came in the middle order he set the tone. All I can say is to encourage the guys to keep on doing what they are doing,” he said.

Joseph said they are excited to be in next year’s AMA 20 finals against Avendale Cricket Club.

“It has been something we are looking forward to, we have been in the semi finals for a number of years before so being in the final now is a new highlight,” he said.

Strandfontein will face a struggling Gugulethu, who won their first game against St Augustine at the weekend, at the NY 49 stadium in Gugulethu on Saturday.