With a win on Saturday, the Gauteng Lions maintained their perfect record to be crowned the 2023 CSA u16 Girls Week champions after a battle fitting of a final against Easterns in Pietermaritzburg.
Fay Cowling, as she often did during the week, played a key innings as the Lions tallied 86/6 in their 18 available overs.
With all but one other match being cancelled due to rain, she impressed with an unbeaten 48 in in conditions that clearly favoured the bowlers.
Micaela Edwards, with an innings of 35, and Mieke van Voorst, with 20, made a valiant attempt to take their side past the required total, but Leani Swanepoel‘s four overs put the skids on the Easterns’ run chase. She sent four batters packing at crucial moments and vitally, too, conceded only 10 runs.
After the completion of their overs, the Eastern Storm were agonisingly close to the Lions’ total, finishing a mere six runs shy of their target.
The only other contest that took place was a crucial clash between Boland and Eastern Province to decide who would earn a spot in the Platinum division in 2024.
Despite Liyema Gqirana showing her class and taking three Boland wickets, Janel Steenkamp played a composed and unbeaten 35 to see her team across the line.
Apart from the claiming the Cup, the Gauteng Lions also picked up a number of other awards. Fay Cowling was selected as the best all-rounder of the week, as well as the best fielder.
Her teammate, Neo Molefe, who scored back-to-back centuries without losing her wicket in the opening two games, was honoured as both the cricketer and batter of the week.
The bowler of the tournament was Eastern Province’s Danika Marais, who took seven wickets to help EP to a three-run victory over KZN Inland in a thriller on day three.
The event was an excellent showcase of the young talent in the women’s youth cricket programme in South Africa. With the appetite for the women’s game heating up locally and worldwide, the national youth weeks provide opportunities and potential stepping stones for some within South Africa’s ever-growing ranks of young cricketers to potentially stake a claim for a future in professional sports.
For others, it will have been a cherished and rare opportunity to play alongside and test themselves against some of the top u16 girls’ cricketers in the country.
SUMMARISED SCORECARD (Day five)
Gauteng Lions 86/6 (Fay Cowling 48*; Ashleigh Van Wyk 2/28); Easterns 81/7 (Micaela Edwards 34, Mieke van Voorst 20; Leani Swanepoel 4/10). Gauteng Lions won by 5 runs.
Eastern Province 78/5 (Extras 21, Tara Nel 19*; Cornelia Destroo 1/6); Boland 79/4 (Janel Steenkamp 35*; Liyema Gqirana 3/26). Boland won by six wickets.
Cup winners: Gauteng Lions
Cricketer of the week: Neo Molefe (Gauteng Lions)
All-rounder of the week: Fay Cowling (Gauteng Lions)
Bowler of the week: Danica Marais (Eastern Province)
Batter of the week: Neo Molefe (Gauteng Lions)
Fielder of the week: Fay Cowling (Gauteng Lions)