29 Dec
  • By Edge Digital
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The SA over 50’s cricket team take on the world for rhinos

The South African Rhinos have just returned from the inaugural Over 50s Cricket World Cup in Sydney, Australia. The tournament was played over 17 days with 8 nations competing for the prestige of being named the Over 50s World Cup Champions for the first time ever. The competing nations were Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, England, Wales, Canada and South Africa. Most of the teams included players who had played First Class, List-A, Provincial and/or Grade cricket during their careers. Pakistan had seven ex-international players in their team whilst New Zealand included Richard Petrie who played 12 ODI’s for New Zealand. The matches were played on beautiful, picturesque Grade and Shires grounds throughout Sydney. Each match was officiated by New South Wales accredited umpires and the matches were 45 overs in duration.

Australia eventually beat Pakistan in a nail-biting grand final at the Drummoyne Oval to lift the coveted trophy. Australia scored a modest 165 runs after being in trouble at 34/4. Pakistan fell 3 runs short with 3 overs to spare, ending up on 162 all out. It was a fitting end to a wonderful tournament.

The team from South Africa, known as the South African Rhinos owing to their inclusion in the tournament not being sanctioned by Cricket South Africa, managed to make the Plate Final, losing to Canada at the Memorial Oval, in Bankstown, home of Steve and Mark Waugh. Runners-up in the Plate Final meant that the SA Rhinos ended up a credible 6th out of 8 teams. Top order batter David Duncan from Sidbury Cricket Club in the Eastern Cape, ended up 9th on the tournament batting log, making 223 runs at an average of 31.86 runs and a highest score of 68. Riaan van de Rheede, from the Scorpions Cricket Club in Stellenbosch, finished 8th on the tournament bowling log, taking 10 wickets at an average of 19,27. Riaan was recognised by the tournament organisers with his inclusion in the International Over 50s team at the end of the tournament.

The South African Rhinos were also ambassadors for the Boucher Legacy Programme whilst on duty in Australia. Started by Mark Boucher after his cricket career came to an abrupt halt when a bail flew into his eye during a Test match against England in 2012, the Boucher Legacy Programme is a non-profit organisation that is focused on the protection of rhino and other endangered species in Africa. Every member of the opposing teams received a wire rhino keyring made in Cape Town as a reminder of the plight of the rhino in Southern Africa. The team also adopted an orphaned rhino heifer on the farm of team-mate Warne Rippon. She was named Sydney by the team. Sydney was encapsulated in a beautiful charcoal drawing which was auctioned off at a function prior to the team leaving Cape Town. The drawing was done by former Western Province cricket and renowned artist, Richie Ryall. Another charcoal drawing of a rhino was auctioned at the closing ceremony of tournament in Sydney. The proceeds of these auctions will be given to the Boucher Legacy Programme.

Richie Ryall also provided the tournament participants with a print of his watercolour painting which was commissioned by the tournament officials. The painting depicted scenes from Sydney, action cricket shots and listed all the playing fields used during the tournament. At the closing ceremony, the original artwork was auctioned off and, fittingly, was purchased by the tournament organiser, Stirling Hamman. Sydney, the rhino, was also encapsulated by our wire artist friend, Leo Mushapaidze, in a full wire and bead version as our mascot during the tournament. At the end of the tournament the team decided to donate Sydney to Nicki Cooke from I.C Sports Therapies who assisted in alleviating our injuries and whose passion for our rhinos was palpable.

The tournament was self-funded by the team members but our participation would not have been possible without the support of our friends who participated in our raffle and our sponsors. Our many sponsors included The Calulo group, Allied Steelrode, The Vasco Tavern, New Balance, Nando’s, Nynas Oil, Carrara Agro Processing, Wesson Therapeutics, Henry, Tayler and Ries, Flya Sportswear, City Flag, Engen Meadowridge and Devils Peak Breweries. Donations were received from Diane McLean, Dust off Diamonds CC, Buffalo Kloof Wildlife Safaris, Groote Post Wines, Footprint Wines, SKY HD, De Boord Guest House, Cape Town Gin and Scuderia Ferrari.

The South African Rhinos involvement in the tournament was further enhanced by the announcement that Cape Town has been chosen to host the 2nd Over 50s Cricket World Cup in March 2020.

For the latest news, scores and the next World Cup updates, please visit the Official Over-50s Facebook site.

The team would like to thank everyone for the support we received prior, during and after the tournament.

[UPDATE]

The South African Rhinos Cricket team has named The Boucher Legacy their official charity for the 2020 Over-50s Cricket World Cup! We are incredibly grateful to the South Africa Over-50s Cricket team for their continued support. We know the money will be put to good use in saving our rhinos and other endangered species here, in South Africa and around the world.