Seventy-two of the 336 cricketers who attended the 2015 KZN Sunfoil Township Development Cricket Week that took place at Hilton College from the 30 June to 4 July 2015 were selected for the six teams which make up the elite Sunfoil Development squad. Their selection is the first step towards being considered for the Dolphins Academy and, ultimately, a professional cricketing career for the most talented.
The tournament which has been sponsored by the Willowton Group, manufacturers of Sunfoil cooking oil, for eight years provides the disadvantaged youngsters within the coaching programme an opportunity to showcase their talent in a competitive match environment.
On the final day the best KZN U15 and U19 players were picked to play against the winning visitors in both age groups before all players made their way home. In both cases the KZN teams beat the Invitation teams. Both matches will be fondly remembered by all for their competitive nature and the spirit in which they were played.
“We were very impressed with the quality of play and the attitude of the competitors,” said Pete De Wet, CEO of KwaZulu-Natal Cricket Union (KZNCU) which has organised the tournament for the past eight years in partnership with sponsors, Willowton Group.
“These are undoubtedly some of KwaZulu-Natal’s most promising young cricketers, which bodes well for the future of the game on a provincial and national level,” he said.
A total of 24 teams – 12 teams of U15 players and 12 teams for U19s – pitted their skills against one another in 49 20/20 matches over four days. This involved more than 336 players and coaches and a host of others working behind the scenes to make the tournament an unqualified success.
“Apart from giving township cricketers the chance to compete against top class players in tough match conditions, the tournament is also an opportunity for coaches, selectors and umpires to improve their skills and take the experience and knowledge gained back to their clubs to boost their standards and procedures,” de Wet said.
Twelve visiting teams took part this year, representing Gauteng, Free State, Northerns, Griquas, Border and Western Province.
“This number is growing every year which is a healthy development for local cricket,” de Wet said. “It exposes our cricketers to a wide variety of different styles and players. “It also helps keep standards high, providing learning opportunities for our teams.”
Shoaib Moosa, Sales and Marketing Director of Willowton Group, said that the tournament was evolving every year and adding enormous value to the ongoing township cricket programme.
“Everyone involved with the game wants to see it become a truly national sport, uniting communities across the country, and these township initiatives are at the heart of this vision. This is where the groundswell starts. This is where cricket is being made accessible to all who want to play it and where the seeds of excellence are being sown.”
“It is heart-warming to see these disadvantaged youngsters giving their all and taking full advantage of the chance to show off their talent,” Moosa said. “It is a joy to see them truly enjoying their sport and growing in confidence, at the same time as improving their technical skills and their match performance.”
Sthabiso Zungu, Captain of KZN U19 said, “Having been part of the tournament for 3 years I have seen growth in my cricket skills and my playing form has improved immensely. I also enjoy being part of this tournament because it has opened a lot of opportunities.”
“Last year I was selected for the KZN U17 team and I believe it’s due to all the skills I have received from this tournament which has allowed me to create lasting relationships, and I now have friends outside my province. It amazing that it’s not just about cricket but we get to embrace our diverse country.
“I would also like to thank our sponsors, especially Sunfoil. We appreciate their support and we thank them for believing in us.”
“We are proud that Nduduzo Mfoza our very own township player from KwaNdengezi has been selected for the SA U19 side currently playing against Bangladesh.”
For the second year running Dean Harding, on behalf of the Sports Development Trust and through the contributions of Pro Print, amongst other corporates, made a telling contribution to the tournament through the donation of a cricket bag full of batting equipment to each KwaZulu-Natal player.
In addition, Barry Roberts sponsored a prize for the best under 15 and under 19 player per age group daily as well as the overall player of the tournament award.
Quadrant Clothing assisted the Sports Development Trust in providing each cricketer who attend with two T-shirts.
“The success of the township programme speaks for itself,” de Wet said. “In the 2014/2015 season, 55 township teams were playing in the Durban & District Cricket Union league.
Highlights included Umlazi winning the league in the junior phase U/13 South stream, Ink 2 KwaMashu and KwaDabeka tying for first place in the U15 North stream and the U13 elite boys winning the Sunfoil U13 Gauteng Township Night Tournament.
Six boys and five girls were also chosen to represent KZN teams and two township girls received national selections.”
Willowton Group’s involvement in cricket sponsorship in South Africa, through its Sunfoil brand, continues to encompass all levels of the sport, from the growing township programmes, through the provincial tier with the Sunfoil Dolphins, to the pinnacle represented by Proteas Test Cricket.
More information can be found at www.dolphinscricket.co.za