Warriors coach Rivash Gobind paid tribute to former coach Malibongwe Maketa for the solid foundation he had laid at the franchise after they won a share of the Momentum One-Day Cup title over the weekend.
The domestic 50-over title had to be split with the Hollywoodbets Dolphins after two attempts to play the final at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead in Durban on Friday and Saturday failed due to the weather.
The match lasted 39.4 overs on the initially scheduled day before heavy rain ended the game with the hosts struggling on 154 for six.
The Reserve Day was even worse with not a single ball bowled due to overnight rain and persistent rain, leading to umpires Bongani Jele and Allahudien Paleker waiting until around 5pm before declaring the match a no result.
It meant the two sides had to share honours with Gobind earning his first trophy a little over two months after his appointment.
The 35-year-old replaced Maketa as interim coach after the former Warriors boss was appointed Standard Bank Proteas assistant coach in November.
His predecessor had been with the Warriors since February 2015 and helped them consistently punch above their weight, with his major achievements being to guide the Eastern Cape franchise into both white-ball finals last season. On each occasion they were beaten by the Multiply Titans.
“I want to take this opportunity to say that we can’t forget Malibongwe Maketa in all of this,” Gobind said. “He’s the man who laid a lot of the groundwork for this success here today.”
Reflecting on the final, Gobind, who was Maketa’s assistant for the last few years, added: “It is a strange one but probably the best case scenario. It’s not how you envisage winning a trophy, but at the end of the day the rules are what they are so we’ll take it gladly and we’ll celebrate as we would any other trophy.
“It was a little bit frustrating because we were really playing some good cricket. We were getting ourselves into the game and there was an opportunity for us to make that big play.
“The weather intervened and that’s what it is. We have to accept it because we can’t control the weather.
“At the end of the day, like I said, it’s a trophy and a fantastic achievement for the Warriors and the Eastern Cape.”
It was the Warriors’ first trophy since they won both white-ball titles back in 2009/10 and captain Jon-Jon Smuts felt it was a long time coming.
“We’ve come close over the last few years and last year, in particular, losing two finals was a bitter pill to swallow,” he added. “But it’s very rewarding now to all of a sudden have a share of the trophy.”
For the Dolphins, the title was their first one-day title of the franchise era, with their last win coming way back in 2001/02. Their last trophy overall was the RAM SLAM T20 Challenge title won back in 2013/14.
Stand-in Dolphins captain Keshav Maharaj hoped this was the start of a new era for the KwaZulu-Natal side.
“It’s been a while since we won a competition and 16 years since we won this one,” he stated. “So the boys are really excited and maybe it’s a glory era that’s about to begin now where the Dolphins can start bringing in some silverware a lot more consistently that we did in the past.”
Coach Grant Morgan also won his first title since being appointed as head coach in 2016. “I'm very happy and very proud,” he said. “We couldn’t change what happened on either of the days.
“At the end of the day, we would have loved to have played.
“It’s obviously a flatter feeling from having to go out there and competing, but It’s a trophy nonetheless.
“We need to turn it into something special because both teams have won a trophy.”