Tuks retain National Club Championship title

TuksFile image: University of Pretoria Cricket Club (Tuks).

​The University of Pretoria Cricket Club (Tuks) won the 2018 National Club Championship on Thursday.

Tuks completed an undefeated campaign with a comfortable 121-run victory over Crusaders Cricket Club.

The title had all but been decided earlier this week, when North-West University Cricket Club (Pukke) succumbed to a heavy 125-run loss to Tuks.

The Northerns Cricket Union outfit’s dominant week also featured relatively straightforward wins over Wellington Cricket Club, Yorkshire Cricket Club and the University of Fort Hare Cricket Club.

The 2018 champions’ formidable batting and bowling was epitomised by star performances from captain Neil Brand and the talented Ruan de Swardt, respectively.

Brand struck 309 runs in five innings, including an outstanding century against 2015 champions Crusaders Cricket Club. Opening batsman Jiveshan Pillay’s 289 runs in five innings impressed, too.

De Swardt relished 10 key wickets, including a telling haul of four for nine against Pukke.

Coached by former New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman Kruger van Wyk and buoyed by the superb batting of Proteas wicketkeeper-batsman Heinrich Klaasen, Tuks won the tournament in 2017. They also clinched the title in 2014, 2013 and 2012, but lost 2016’s final to Pukke.

Tuks will contest the Super Cup with Durbanville Cricket Club on Saturday. Durbanville qualified for the Super Cup by winning the Multiply T20 Community Cup in December 2017. The Cape Town-based unit will be without experienced opening batsman Pieter Malan, who is recovering from wrist surgery.