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Northerns and Easterns clinch close victories Under-15 Week opener

Northerns and Easterns came out as narrow victors in their respective low-scoring encounters on a rain-affected first day of the Momentum Under-15 Boys Week which got underway in Stellenbosch on Friday. Despite the persistent rain early in the day, all of the fixtures eventually got underway with some matches converted into limited-over contests. There were also victories for Free State, North West, and Northern Cape while the three Time Cricket clashes involving KwaZulu-Natal Coastal (KZN Coastal), Western Province (WP), South West Districts (SWD), Namibia, KwaZulu-Natal Inland (KZN Inland) and Border ended drawn. After winning the toss, Northerns had a dream start to their week when they delivered a bowling masterclass to help them to a three-wicket triumph over Eastern Province on the main field at Paul Roos Gymnasium. Marcel Myburgh (3/8) starred with the ball as the Pretoria based side bowled out their opponents for 79 before they reached the target with 16.1 overs remaining in their 40-over match, securing the win by three wickets. While Easterns scraped to a tightly-contested win over Limpopo in their shortened 20-over clash thanks to a match-winning, all-round performance from Nathan Steyn. The bowler recorded figures of 2/16 with the ball before leading his side to a four-wicket victory with an unbeaten 10.
In another T20 clash on the day, Free State claimed a convincing six-wicket victory over Gauteng on the A-field at Paarl Gymnasium. Mvula Chabalala’s 2/25 led an all-round bowling performance from the Free Staters, as they restricted their opponents to 101/6 before the opening 58-run stand between Jayden Davids (39) and Nelius Volschenk (30) helped their side to victory with seven balls remaining.
The final limited-overs encounter of the day ended with a triumph for Northern Cape, who outmuscled Mpumalanga with the ball to claim an emphatic 49-run win. Hamza Kana (3/22), Luvunda Oss (2/8), Paseka Jonkers (22/2) and Foster Lubbe (2/14) shared the wickets as Northern Cape dismissed Mpumalanga for just 86 in 22.1 overs after they posted a target of 135 thanks to a top-score of 45 off 46 deliveries from Itumeleng Sekonyela. Due to the lost time in the day, the Time Cricket clash between Western Province (WP) and KZN Coastal ended in a draw – with WP given the winning draw after they outscored their opponents in the first innings after finishing with 148/4. It was a similar story in the other clash at Van Der Stel Oval, with Namibia awarded a victorious draw after posting 157/8 in their first innings. In the other drawn encounter of first day, KZN Inland and Border were involved in a promising match up after the former posted a strong first innings score of 241 thanks to an impressive century from Adrien Fischer (102*). Unfortunately, with time running out, Border could only amass a score of 119/1 before the end of the day’s end – with Bryan Muir stranded on 65 not out. To get some game time, the home side Boland and North West agreed to compete in a 10-over contest. In a thrill-a-minute clash, the home side came undone as North West claimed the win by five wickets after they restricted their opponents to 53/6 in the allotted overs before waltzing to victory with one over remaining.

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