Club Cricket SA details a string of interesting facts, ahead of the 2017 Momentum National Club Championship, which will be played in Pretoria, from 23 to 27 April.
1. The University of Pretoria Cricket Club (Tuks) have named two international cricketers in their squad. Wicketkeeper-batsman Heinrich Klaasen toured New Zealand with the Proteas Test squad earlier this year, but did not debut, while fast bowler Lungi Ngidi played three Twenty20 Internationals against Sri Lanka in January.
2. Crusaders Cricket Club are the only community club in this year’s tournament, after Cricket South Africa’s decision to halve the competing teams to six – and the introduction of the Multiply T20 Community Cup. Cape Town Cricket Club, Kempton Park Cricket Club, Burma Lads Cricket Club, Old Selbornian Cricket Club and Union Stars Cricket Club were the 2016 National Club Championship’s community clubs.
3. Two former international cricketers are involved in a coaching capacity. The University of Fort Hare Cricket Club have ex-Proteas fast bowler Mfuneko Ngam, who played three Tests in 2000 and 2001. The South African-born Kruger van Wyk, who played nine Tests for New Zealand in 2012, is the University of Pretoria Cricket Club’s (Tuks) coach.
4. The talented Kyle Simmonds was key to the Crusaders Cricket Club’s National Club Championship title-winning campaign in 2015, but now plays for Stellenbosch University Cricket Club (Maties). The tall left-arm spinner, alongside Test cricketers Dane Piedt, Theunis de Bruyn and others, will attend a Cricket South Africa qaspin bowlers camp in India after the tournament.
5. The University of the Free State Cricket Club (Kovsie) are back in the tournament as the Knights franchise representative, replacing the Central University of Technology Cricket Club. The University of the Free State Cricket Club won the National Club Championship in 2010 and 1999 – and were runners-up in 2008, 1998 and 1994.