Cricket Namibia’s three junior teams’ participation at the EJCCA Carnival City Cricket Festival in Benoni, South Africa a fortnight ago was a huge success.
The country’s U/13’s, U/15’s and U/17’s faced teams from Easterns, Zimbabwe and Easterns Development, achieving some exceptional results.
The best results came from the U15’s, who under their skipper Shaun Fouche convincingly beat the Easterns U/15’s and U14’s by 8 and 7 wickets respectively in their opening day of T20 matches.
The organizers then felt that the team was too strong for the age group and had them play a 45-over match the following day against Easterns U/16. The Namibian boys put up a brave fight against Easterns right until the end.
Keeping in mind that seven of the players in the Namibian squad are still U/14, they managed to give the Easterns squad a big scare but ended up losing in the dying overs by 4 wickets.
The following day they were put up against Zimbabwe’s U/16 team and bowled them out for a mere 184. They were looking to pull off a very surprising and convincing win.
However, thanks to some brilliant upfront bowling, Namibia lost early wickets and were in some serious trouble as the game wore on.
But thanks to a great knock from number 9 batsman, Erich Wittmann, who scored 42 off 38 balls and number 10, Donovan Zealand, putting on 21*, the Namibian boys were in with a shout, needing just 30 to win off the last 30 balls.
Unfortunately the tail enders weren’t able to take the game home and the Namibian youngsters ended up losing by 30 runs. Still, a great result, considering it was against a country considered to be much stronger and an age group above them.
Wanting to end on a high note, Namibia had a final T20 against the Easterns U15’s.
Batting first, Shaun Fouche posted a fantastic 72 runs, leading the team to a strong 152 in 20 overs.
In response the Easterns only managed 129/8, losing by 23 runs.
Namibia’s U15’s were awarded as the team of the festival, with Nicol Loftie-Eaton receiving the award of the most promising bowler and Shaun Fouche the most promising batsman of the festival.
On paper the U17’s did not perform as Cricket Namibia would have liked to – however the opposition was extremely strong.
The matches against direct age group teams was a very even affair with Namibia beating the Easterns U16’s (T20), while losing on the last ball versus the same team’s U17’s (T20). They then beat the Easterns U17’s (40 overs). The loss against the Colts later in the tournament was to be expected as they were the Easterns’ U19 Coke week side.
In other action, the U13’s didn’t get off to the promised start. Although their fielding was outstanding and considered the best in the tournament, the Namibian youngsters couldn’t achieve the necessary results.
Later on, however, their overall play improved and they still managed to give their opponents a good run for their money.