Last chance for Philippi CC to bounce back

Philippi CC players huddle together before the start of their WPCA one-day encounter with Nyanga CC last month.

The club’s technical team will hope for better results in the second round of the Western Province Cricket Association (WPCA) Second Division season, as they struggled in the league, ahead of the Christmas break.

The season resumes this weekend and the Philippi side takes on Delft on Saturday and neighbours Samora Machel on Sunday at home and away respectively.

Restarting on a winning note is important for coach Melikhaya Gadeni’s side, especially considering that they lost to Nyanga and Belhar in their last two matches before the break.

Playing away against Nyanga, Philippi lost the toss and the home side elected to bat first. They went on to score 220 runs all out in 42 overs. Philippi, in reply, posted 200 all out in 41.3 overs, handing their hosts a 20 run victory.

The Philippi side found the going even tougher in their last game before the break, as they took on Belhar, also away. They won the toss and elected to bat first. Belhar bowlers seemed to be in no giving mood, restricting the visitors to 186 all out in 28 overs.

The Belhar bowlers, in reply, were able to reach the target in 31 overs, recording 187 without losing a wicket, to record a 10 wicket victory.

Philippi are now ninth on the log with 47 points, having won three and lost seven of their 10 league matches.

Gadeni admitted that lack of consistency has been their biggest downfall in the first round of the season. He also noted that they have learnt their lessons and worked on ways to rectify them.

“We are now aware that we need to be consistent in terms of player selection and our top five batsmen (the top order) need to improve because getting as many runs as possible, early on in the innings, is important,”said Gadeni.

“Our bowlers, too, need to be more aggressive. Those are the things we have identified and tried to fix,” he said.

Gadeni also noted that some factors, which he said were beyond their power, affected their performances.

“It is important for every team to have a homeground where they know and understand the conditions. A place where the opposition feel that they are playing away.

“That is not a case with us, because we don’t have our own field. That means we have to play our ‘home’ matches away in Nyanga,” he said.

“That doesn’t just affect us on matchday, it also affects our preparations for those matches. The fact that we don’t have nets means that we are unable to fine tune our batting techniques,”said Gadeni.

Gadeni said the Christmas break was what his side needed, after a taxing first round of the campaign. He said the technical team was convinced that the players would return refreshed and ready to get their season back on track.

“Most of our players are from the Eastern Cape so we tend to struggle in December, when they are gone. Now that they are back and the team is in full strength, I am sure we are going to bounce back to winning ways,” he said.

Looking at their next two matches – against Delft and Samora Machel – Gadeni said they knew their opponents well, having played them a number of times before.

“We know Delft as the side that struggles when it comes to batting and their bowling is not really consistent in terms of their line and length. Those are the areas we need to exploit. Samora, on the other hand, is a team that can beat anyone on their day. That is going to be a tough game because it is, above everything else, a derby. The outcome of that match will depend on who executes their plan properly and we have players capable of handling anything Samora throws our way,” said Gadeni.