With seven Lions franchise players called up for national representation this past season, the Imperial Lions managed to retain the 4-Day Series trophy and finished second in the 2019/20 Momentum One-Day Cup challenge. This is all thanks to the contribution from CGL and North West Cricket Unions’ strong pipeline cricket structure and in particular the Senior Provincial Team set up from both unions.
A sudden end to the 2019/20 season also meant a disappointing end for the CGL’s Senior Provincial Team CSA-One Day Challenge title hunt as well as their season in the List A (One Day) as well as First-Class (CSA 3-Day Cup) formats.
The Central Gauteng side had their eyes set on the one-day title as they were sitting second on the Pool A table: five points behind Free-State with one match remaining, whereby the winner would play Pool B table toppers for the One-Day Tournament title.
It is worth mentioning that success for the CGL’s Senior Provincial Team is not only measured in trophies but also responsible for nurturing and providing talented players to the Imperial Lions franchise. Players such as Dominic Hendricks, Ryan Rickelton and Delano Potgieter have gone on to secure professional contracts having previously represented the Central Gauteng Union.
The Union also celebrated the talented Joshua Richards who turned out for the Central Gauteng Lions in the recently concluded 2019/20 season before earning the Imperial Lions call up for the 4-Day title winning campaign where Richards looked right at home. The 21-year-old has since earned himself a franchise contract on the back of his impressive season.
The Strikers, as the Senior Provincial side are affectionately known, welcomed South African U19 captain, Bryce Parsons who previously played for the Central Gauteng Lions Academy side. Other players to make a switch from the CGL Academy to Senior Provincial Team for the past season include Cameron Sheckleton, Thami Rapelego, Jacob Miltz, Sebastian De Oliviera and Zak Kathrada.
The Central Gauteng Lions Senior Provincial team further assisted the success of the Imperial Lions franchise as they fielded players such as Dominic Hendricks, Delano Potgieter, Joshua Richards, Aya Myoli and Ryan Rickelton this season. The players were in excellent condition as they were called up to the first team as a result of great form, injury or loss of Standard Bank Proteas players during the season. The players maintained the intensity and quality required by the Highveld franchise in order to still be competitive throughout the season and eventually defend the 4-Day Franchise Series trophy.
“It’s all thanks to the support received from everyone, assistant coaches, training, management, players and physio. A special thanks to Bongani Zibane (Strikers Assistant and Batting Coach) who worked well with the team throughout the season. Bongani Ndaba who was part of the coaching staff while I was team manager for the Jozi Stars,” commented Sandile Masengemi, Central Gauteng Lions Senior Provincial Team Coach.
“In line with our union’s strategic objectives to create successful cricket teams and build a strong and thriving pipeline cricket system we are happy with the overall performance and look forward to working on some of the immediate challenges so that the union can dominate in all formats,” he concluded.