The pressure will be on the defending champions, the DigiTV Streamers, this weekend during the fourth edition of the XHealth Greyt Bash cricket tournament.
As it stands, no defending champion of the unique tournament has been able to defend its title, and the Streamers will be targeted to become the first team to achieve the feat.
The tournament will once again be taking place at Grey College on Friday and Saturday and will feature eight teams, made up of the cricketers at the school across all age groups. For example, an U15 cricketer can play in the same team as a 1st team cricketer. All the teams were bought by various business in the city and the players were allocated during an Indian Premier League-style auction last month.
The biggest innovation for the tournament this year is that the tournament will feature a 100-ball innings as opposed to a 20-over innings.
The Director of Cricket at Grey, Adri Swanepoel, told Bloemfontein Courant that the fact that the tournament sees various age groups playing together makes it very unique.
“You get a kid who is playing U14A and now he is playing in the same team as the 1st Team captain. The 1st Team guys have a responsibility to make the younger player feel at ease.
“We challenge them to leave a legacy or something in a better state before they leave school. And part of that is to really make the younger kids feel welcome, and that’s the thing that makes the Bash really unique.
“There is no other school competition in South Africa where an U14 player can play with a 1st Team player. That is progressed learning. The younger players are basically put on the conveyor belt, which will hopefully take them to the 1st Team in a couple of years. That is unique to us.”
The teams are split into two pools, and they will start with the two pool games each on Friday afternoon, with a last pool game on Saturday morning. Once the pool games are completed, it will be the cross-pool games to decide who will play in the final at 15:00. – MORGAN PIEK