The Assupol TuksCricket team was established in 1919 as a men’s club and expanded into a women and men’s club in 1996. Ever since, the club has won big tournaments on numerous occasions, international leagues, and the Red Bull Campus Cricket in 2019. Overall their success is not only owed to their hard work, but also to hard work behind the scenes.
Blanche Conradie, who has been the manager for years, is the reason that the club manages to keep everything together. Conradie, who does the tasks such as repairs, keeping track of goals and managing profitability, says that a good balance sheet is a battle half won. Additionally, she emphasises the point that players and coaches need to focus on only one aspect and that is to play the game to the best of their abilities.
Conradie is there to ensure that everything else behind the scenes goes according to plan. Conradie fell in love with the game at only eight years old when she had the opportunity to watch her first international game at the SuperSport Park Cricket Stadium – when the Proteas played against the West Indies. She was fascinated from the start, especially when she saw Brian Lara score fifty runs. It seemed like fate when she began a managerial position within the Assupol TuksCricket team. For the most part, she was quite the woman in a man’s world back in 2012 when she joined the team as an administrator. She says that she was never disrespected as a woman, but rather due to being young and not trusted as she had never played the game of cricket.
All in all, it was seen as a great achievement when she got selected first on the University Sports South Africa Cricket Committee as a secretary and subsequently as the vice-chairperson. Conradie explained her passion for cricket to PDBY and said that “cricket will never only be about runs, wickets and catches. There is more to the game. You get to realise that when you are in the dressing room with the players and coaches. There is so much planning and strategy at play. Still, there are never any guarantees. Any outcome can change with one ball. That is what makes cricket exciting.”
Conradie, together with the team, ensures that the Assupol TuksCricket team continually plays excellent matches in the cricket arena. Their good performance is strengthened by the effort behind the scenes, but most of all, the consistent focus on collective team effort.
Illustration: Sanele Zulu