Rebuilding time for the Warriors
The Chevrolet Warriors endured a torrid time during the Momentum One Day Cup, with only two wins from 10 matches, which were both achieved in East London against the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras and the Sunfoil Dolphins.
The Eastern Cape franchise, according to their captain, Davy Jacobs, are in a rebuilding phase, especially in the limited overs format.
"We are a new team, I think we definitely have the players, they just need time to settle. If you compare us to last year, we had our spinners, Nicky Boje and Johan Botha as well as left-arm seamer, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, and Rusty (Theron) has been injured. Losing that amount of experience all at once does affect you and now we just need to rebuild," Jacobs told supersport.com on Thursday.
The Warriors ended their one-day campaign on a high on Wednesday, when they denied the Dolphins a possible semifinal position with a 22 run victory, defending 210.
"Yes we needed that! We were in good positions throughout the campaign but we just couldn't finish it off. We made small mistakes, but that's how you learn," added Jacobs.
The men in green and black certainly do have some talent coming through the ranks.
"(Andrew) Birch has really played well this season, he plays with so much passion. (Simon) Harmer is finding his way, he's a brilliant prospect for us. He will be the one to take us forward as he has done well at first class level. He just needs to learn to bowl at a different pace in the one-day format, which he is learning," said Jacobs of the new talent.
Birch, a right-arm medium-fast bowler, ended the campaign with 23 wickets while Harmer's right-arm offbreaks claimed two wickets from his six matches. Harmers' List-A average does suggest that the spinner has talent, as he has claimed 35 wickets at an average of just 21.94. He has an axcellent economy rate too of just 4.6 runs per over.
"We have not settled yet as we are looking to find that balance. The batting was obviously a concern but you will always go through these phases, but the important thing for me is the way you go through it. If you continue learning and focus on the right things, then everything will fall into place," commented Jacobs.
"We got two wins and the way we ended the campaign last night (against the Dolphins) was a big step in the right direction," added Jacobs.
Another find this season has been Ayabulela Gqamane. The right-handed allrounder took career best figures of 5-28 in 7.4 overs against the Dolphins, ending with nine wickets at an average of 11.44 in this season's limited overs competition. Gqamane also has a List-A batting average of 33.37 with a top score of 88 not out.
"Aya (Gqamane) has contributed in every game he has played, I still believe that he is a batting allrounder and that he can bat at six for us. He looks like one of the best young 'batters' in the country, and he will show that in time. He is part of this crop that is coming through now," praised Jacobs of his young stalwart.
With reference to the loss of Boje and Botha, Jacobs added, "Previously, we had a settled bowling attack, something would always happen with the new ball or quick runs would be scored and then Nicky and Johan would slow things down in the middle for us. Rusty would then close it off at the end, so we need to find that new combination again."
With the One Day Cup a thing of the past for the Warriors, they now turn their attention back to the Sunfoil Series, where they currently sit in second position on the log behind the Cobras. Their first assignment will be to travel to Johannesburg on 20 December to face the Bizhub Highveld Lions.
"Last night was massive for us in terms of confidence and we can go to Johannesburg and get something out of the game," stated Jacobs ahead of their encounter.
What might be in the Warriors favour is their preparation time for the match as the Lions will only have five days to prepare, as they are still involved in the One Day Cup and are hosting the final on 14 December.