Assupol Tuks cricketers will be applying their skills next week to help the Northerns women's team win the 2021 Cricket South Africa (CSA)'s Women's Provincial League title.
No less than six of the club's players have been selected for the tournament that starts on 16 March in Cape Town. It has been nearly a year since most of them played. Needless to say, they cannot wait to score runs and take wickets.
The Tuks players who will be in action are Robyn Searle, Katie Prior, Deeksha Sharma, Danelle Oberholzer, Nicolien Janse van Rensburg and Gandhi Jafta.
Searle, who captains Tuks, is considered a prospect for the national team. She has been a regular in the South African Women's Emerging side. A definite highlight was when she scored 96 of 111 balls in a game against Bangladesh. In 2018, she was named in Proteas Women’s squad for the ICC Women's World T20 Tournament in the West Indies. She has also played for the South African national women's under-19 team.
The Tuks captain, who likes to bat in the top-order and is also a useful leg-spin, considers cricket a humbling game.
"There are days when it feels like you are on top of your game. The next, game you get bowled by a 'peach' of a delivery. It means you can never rest on your laurels when at the crease. To 'survive', you got to learn to deal with the good as well as the bad."
Last year, Jafta was crowned as Assupol Tuks Women's Cricketer of the Year. She was also a vice-captain for Northerns and describes herself as a batswoman who bowls. To duel it out with bowlers is what gets her adrenaline pumping.
"With every delivery, there is a chance of losing your wicket. That is why I never try and outthink a bowler. It is crucial to focus only on what is happening the moment the ball leaves a bowlers hand. Nothing else should matter."
The 16-year-old Sharma's story is interesting. Her dad is a Diplomat it means she gets to play cricket all over the world. In 2019, she played for Team Brunt that won the ECB School Games in Loughborough.
The Assupol Tuks women's cricket team recently hosted a mother and daughter day. It boiled down to a battle between age and youth, with "experience" being the victors.
Some players will claim that the rules certainly favoured the "elderly". Apparently, "youth" had to work twice as hard to score runs and take wickets. In the end, it did not matter who won. It was about having fun.
"I do feel we achieved what we set out to achieve. It was a day where daughters can play against their moms in cricket while enjoying it. It has never been done before. I do feel the more exposure we get, the better for women's cricket," explained Lerato Malesa (Assupol Tuks women's head coach).