#TuksCricket: Winning the 2023 USSA Cricket Champs is the perfect way for Jack Lees to end his student-athlete career

Posted on December 15, 2023

The Tuks cricketers have achieved something unique this season: not losing once from January to December.

A definite highlight was winning the 2023 USSA Cricket Championships in Cape Town this past weekend. Tuks beat NWU Pukke in the final.

Tuks captain, Jack Lees, can be forgiven for thinking, "I love it when a plan comes together."

"Winning the USSA tournament is the perfect way to end my university cricket career. Being the captain and contributing with the bat to our success makes it more memorable."

Lees ended the tournament by scoring 209 runs in four games at an average of 41.80. His best inning was his knock of 110 runs against UWC. In the final, he scored 54 runs.

He is not one to let statistics get to his head. For him, when he steps onto the field, there is a job to be done. It does not matter whether it is with a ball in hand or a bat. Lees considers himself a batsman who can take wickets when needed.

Remaining unbeaten throughout the season is a statistic Lees is justifiably proud of. He is unsure how his cricket career will play out next year. Lees has a Titans high-performance contract up to April. Then he is off to Northampton to play club cricket in England.

"The challenge for me will be to make the most of any opportunity that comes my way. I am lucky to be naturally inclined to be an attacking batsman, but that does not mean I see myself as a specialist one day or a T20 cricketer. Ask any cricketer, and they will tell you that test cricket is the pinnacle of our sport. The same goes for me. I will forever be grateful for how TuksCricket's coaches have gone to help me fine-tune my technique," said the Tuks cricketer of the year.

Kundai Matiguma was the top bowler of the USSA Cricket tournament. In four matches, he took 14 wickets at an average of 9.36.

The BAEd student is a passionate fast bowler. When he has the ball in hand, only one thing matters. That is to get a batter to take the long walk back to the dressing room. But it was not always the case. He was a batting all-rounder when he played for St. George's College in Zimbabwe.

The current English test cricketer, Sam Curran's dad, Kevin, got him to rethink his role as a cricketer.

"One day, he told me to run in and bowl as fast as I could, saying that I had the height to be a good fast bowler. I did. It did not take long for me to fall in love with the idea of being a fast bowler. Over the past few years, I have continuously bowled faster. The last time my bowling speed was measured, I was bowling at 141 km/h," said Matiguma, who is 1.86 metres tall.

"I am not only fast. I have learned the skills to swing the ball both ways and picked up a few 'tricks' that have stood me in good stead in T20 cricket. To me, bowling is all about outsmarting the batsman. That is why I love studying their batting techniques. It helps to know when they will go for the big hit. Then, I will come up with a delivery to outfox them."

The USSA Cricket final was possibly the last time Matiguma would represent Tuks at a university tournament. Next year, he will be 26. His dream is to play for Zimbabwe once he completes his studies.

- Author Wilhelm De Swardt

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