Maynard concedes title is all but lost
As defending champions of the four-day competition in South Africa, the Nashua Titans find themselves firmly rooted to the foot of the Sunfoil Series log with a draw and three losses from four matches.
Granted, the men from Centurion have played two matches fewer than their rivals, bar the bizhub Highveld Lions, who have also played only four matches, but the Titans find themselves a massive 61.08 points adrift of runaway log leaders the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras.
Comparing the Sunfoil Series log to any other sporting table would be like seeing Manchester United, or Orlando Pirates, rooted to the bottom of their respective leagues – surely a thought that is beyond comprehension!
"We just need to get a performance together in the four-day game. A lot of our pre-season focus was on the Champions League T20, like the Lions, but that is no excuse for the position we are in at the moment in the Sunfoil Series," Titans coach Matthew Maynard told supersport.com on Monday.
With the advent of the shortest form of the game, coaches and players alike seem to be getting into the habit of playing one-day style cricket in the longer version.
An example of this arose recently when the Lions hosted the Chevrolet Warriors. Warriors batsmen Christiaan Jonker and captain Davy Jacobs both scored at more than a run a ball in the Warriors' first innings.
We have seen accelerated scoring in test matches as well, especially during the recent test series between South Africa and Australia, where both teams scored at five and six runs an over at different times.
"There has been a lot of one-day cricket, and the guys have just been too impatient. With four-day cricket, you need patience and to get the basics right. You get reward for doing the basics very well," commented Maynard.
The Titans reached the semifinals of the Champions League T20 and just missed out on the final of the Momentum One Day Cup, when they lost to the Cobras in the 'eliminator' at Sahara Park Newlands in Cape Town, with both sides fielding most of their Proteas contingent.
With teams averaging around 18 points for an outright victory in the Sunfoil Series this season, there seems a remote, mathematical chance of the Titans retaining their title.
They would need outright victories in at least five of their remaining six matches, and hope that other results go their way.
"The title has probably gone from us now, but it is still important that we get something out of this season, whether that is using our experienced players as much as possible or seeing what we have available in the amateur sides and give them an opportunity, and that is a call I have to make," conceded Maynard.
Pretoria is home to one of the most passionate support bases in the country, whether it be cricket or rugby, and Maynard eluded to this. "We have not been true to our supporters this year, and we have a great bunch of supporters."
"We have not played the type of cricket that makes me proud as a coach, Henry Davids as a captain or the players proud. It is something we have to put right," added Maynard.
"You have to put the work in and be very honest with yourselves as coaching staff and players and work very hard to turn things around. The next six weeks will be a very big test of character for us."
The Titans host the Warriors in Centurion, beginning on 3 January, followed by matches against the Chevrolet Knights in Benoni and the Lions in Johannesburg.