VKB Knights coach Nicky Boje rued their luck with the weather more than anything else after the first half of their Sunfoil Series season.
The competition reached its halfway stage last week following the conclusion of round five, with the defending champions sitting second on 68.70 points, trailing the Multiply Titans (79.68) at the summit, after drawing all five matches thus far. All the games, bar the final one for the Titans, have been drawn so far.
The Central Franchise had some wretched luck with weather, though, with most of their matches affected.
“We’ve had three out of the five games where we only played two-and-a-half days, so it was quite difficult to get results from that,” Boje commented. “The wickets were also quite flat, so batting friendly wickets and that didn’t help.”
But the Knights coach was nonetheless pleased that they remained within striking distance of the leaders, despite the numerous challenges.
“I'm happy to still be right there in the mix,” he said. “There were some good performances by the team and some outstanding individual displays as well. It’s probably time to reflect a little bit and then look forward to a bit of white-ball cricket.”
When the Knights won the championship last year, Duanne Olivier, who became a Standard Bank Proteas player in the process, and fellow fast bowler Marchant de Lange shared 86 wickets between them.
This year they have had to cope without both for most of the competition – the former playing just once due to national commitments and the latter thrice because of Kolpak duty.
Boje believes they have been missed.
“Last season we had Duanne Olivier and Marchant de Lange available for us for the whole season, so that made a big difference and the surfaces too have been different this time,” he explained.
“The wickets have been more batting friendly and it’s been hard work. But there’s still been a lot of positives. A couple of youngsters have had opportunities and have grabbed them, so that’s made things more exciting as well.”
Boje is expecting more results in the second half of the season next year, adding: “I think so (that we’ll start to see more results). I think the wickets, with a little more heat, will start breaking up more and you will start to see spinners coming into play a bit more, especially in the second innings.
“So those kinds of things will make a difference.”
The Franchise focus now shifts to the shortest format, with the T20 Challenge scheduled to begin next Friday, November 10.
The Knights again play the Warriors in the opening round.