Saints tipped as national T20 favourites

The Saint Andrew's School 1st XI are confident about their chances of winning the Coca-Cola Schools T20 Challenge Finals in Pretoria next week. Here the team is with the Proteas batsman, Temba Bavuma (red shirt), after beating Hoërskool Noord-Kaap, to be the VKB Knights representative at the tournament. PHOTO: BRAD MORGAN

Saint Andrew’s School in Bloemfontein has been tipped as the favourite to win the annual Schools T20 Challenge which will take place in Pretoria next week.

Saints is the VKB Knights representative at the tournament for a second year running after knocking out both Grey College and Hoërskool Noord-Kaap.

At this stage there is still and injury concern over the team’s star player, the Junior Protea Gerald Coetzee, however, the boys still have the likes of the captain, Garnett Tarr, Calvin Flanegan, Peko Moletsane and Ruan Cronje to bank on.

Saints is, without a doubt, in the toughest pool for the tournament and will come up against Hilton College (number one in South Africa), Rondebosch Boys’ High (3rd) and Prestige College. Currently ranked 10th, Saints believes that the tournament will be theirs and this is the opinion of KES as Rondebosch as well.

Brad Morgan of Saints told Courant that in order to claim the honour of the national champions the team has to be able to beat the best and T20 is their best format.

“To be the best, you have to beat the best. We feel that T20 is our best format of the game and coach Gregg Hobson has actually concentrated on that because it is the format you play in the national tournament. We’ve lost just the one game this season and we feel good about our chances. We’ve got Gerald back, who missed most of the season playing for that national side in New Zealand. He did very well there, he was selected for the team of the tournament at the ICC U19 World Cup.

“We definitely do fancy our chances, but we realise that we will be up against some very stiff opposition.”

Morgan added that the team’s strength lies in its players’ ability to apply pressure.

“With Gerald missing it’s actually letting our guys in the team take the responsibility, because Gerald can be a match winner with either the bat or with the ball. It’s meant that other guys have maybe progressed more than if he had been around.

“Generally we’ve managed to put up some good runs, then some good and tight bowling upfront has been the recipe to put the other team under pressure. That has also led to those run outs in our previous games.”

The Coca-Cola Schools T20 Challenge Finals with take place in Pretoria from 16 to 18 March. – MORGAN PIEK