The Assupol Cricket Team assured that they finish the year with a 100% winning record when it comes to contesting national club finals by beating the University of the Western Cape the past Friday in the USSA-final.
It is the second consecutive year that Assupol Tuks managed to win the tournament. But an even more impressive statistic is that since last year April the team has not lost any national final they contested.
Last year they won the National Club Championships and went on to win the USSA Tournament. At the start of the year, they won the Varsity T20 Tournament, followed by once again winning the National Club Championship.
In between all of this the team is also continuing to dominate the various Northern Cricket Leagues.
It is interesting to note when reading through the Assupol Tuks statistics that as captain Neil Brand seemed to have fine-tuned the art of leading by example. Hardly a game this year has gone by in which he has not contributed with bat or ball in hand.
During the USSA Tournament in Stellenbosch, he scored 173 runs in five games at an average of 43.5. It included a gutsy 103 runs against Maties. He was as efficient with his left arm spin deliveries taking nine wickets. His teammate, Gideon Peters, is the only other bowler to have taken nine wickets.
He was equally impressive on his home turf during the National Club Tournament in April scoring 72 runs against Yorkshire, taking 4/14 against the University of Fort Hare, hitting 73 runs against Pukke. His best performance was in the final against the Crusaders where he scored 120 runs.
Playing the Varsity Tournament in Potchefstroom, he scored 300 runs at an average of 42.9 and took nine wickets. His best performance was again in the final where he scored 59 runs facing 57 balls.
What is truly outstanding about the way Brand captains is that he never seems to lose his cool. It could be because he genuinely relishes the challenge of being the one to make the critical decisions during a game.
One of his most significant tests early on in his career was captaining Glamorgan’s second stringers when only 19 years old. It was a case of adapt or die. One of the crucial things Brand learned from the experience was to listen to his more experienced teammates. It is something that still stands him to good stead.
However, a modest Brand refuses to take sole credit for the Assupol Tuks success story. He reiterated that he is just doing what is expected from him.
“Being the captain of Assupol Tuks is easy when you are coached by the likes of Kruger van Wyk and Chris van Noordwyk. As far as I am concerned they are brilliant strategists. They also have a way to get any player to believe in his abilities. More importantly is that they keep on reminding us that any team is only as good as the last game played.
“What plays a huge role in our success is that it is never about individual performances. Every time we take to the field it is always about what is best for the team. I would say there is a definite hunger to succeed.”