The Assupol Tuks 1 cricket side ended an impressive season when they beat Steinhoff Maties by six wickets in the National Club Championship final on 28 April at SuperSport Park.

“It’s a great feeling and I am very proud of all the players and staff that played a part in it. It is not often that you can say you are the best club in the country. I think this success can largely be accredited to coach Pierre de Bruyn. Since he started he has completely turned the club into a professionally run unit,” said Tuks1 captain Maurice Aronstam.

The tournament brought together the best club teams across the country for a week of the toughest competition club cricket has to offer. The men from Pretoria went into the Club Champs with a lot of confidence, having won the Premier League, the intervarsity against the University of Johannesburg and the Knock Out Cup competitions earlier this year.

Tuks’s build-up in the week before Saturday’s final was impressive, considering the tough opposition. Despite being placed in the tougher of the two groups, Tuks edged out wins in all five of their round-robin games, going into the final as favourites.

The final seemed smooth sailing in the end for the men from Pretoria, but there were some nervous moments. Solid individual performances by Aronstam and Francious le Clus ensured that Tuks won the Club Champs title.

Aronstam and his bowlers restricted Maties to 217/8 in the allotted 50 overs. Maties won the toss and elected to bat and the decision seemed to pay off when Omphile Ramela opened his scoring account.

The left-handed Ramela gave Maties the desired start. He played aggressive cricket and bashed the ball around the park. Although Tuks’s first change bowler, Gerhard Linde, removed Ramela’s opening partner and captain Henno Jordaan for nine runs, Ramela continued to score with ease. After 10 overs, Maties were 63/1.

Tuks managed to stem the rapid rate of scoring after the 10th over by introducing spin for the next 34 overs. Ramela kept the score board ticking but continued to lose partners at the other end. Maties’s scoring rate dropped after the introduction of spin. Tuks employed four spinners and they undid the hard work done earlier in the innings by Ramela. The Tuks spinners put the brakes on Maties’s plan to post a mammoth score at the end of the innings.

Ramela’s sterling batting performance came to an end in the 46th over. Aronstam trapped him in front, dismissing the opener for a well-played 96 off 129 deliveries. This was Aronstam’s third wicket of the match. The captain ended a good bowling performance with four wickets for 19 runs in his 10 overs.

Tuks’s batsmen fancied their chances, only having to chase 218 at 4.3 runs to the over. Things did not start well for Tuks when Aronstam was dismissed in the first over for a duck by opening bowler Faan Fourie. The situation worsened for Tuks when Nathan Roberts struck for Maties in the second over of the game. Ernest Kemm lost his wicket playing a rash shot and was caught at mid wicket for one run. With the score at 2/2 Tuks needed a period of consolidation. That is exactly what Le Clus and Douglas Hewitt brought to the crease. The pair put on a match, winning 186 runs for the third wicket. This partnership was characterised by risk-free cricket, continual rotation of the strike and the odd boundary.

Once the partnership was broken, Tuks lost another quick wicket, that of Theunis de Bruyn. However, Graeme van Buuren and Le Clus took their team home for the win. Le Clus top scored with 103 and was named the Man of the Match.

Photo: Lee Waren – Gallo Images

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