Cricket: Townships have right priorities: England A open with win

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England A . . . . . . . . . . . .121

Transvaal XI . . . . . . . . . . .78

England A win by 43 runs

THERE were not many runs and there were even fewer locals but, tellingly, of the township kids who did come to watch England A's opening tour match victory at Alexandra on Saturday most headed straight for the nets.

It is a cricket-playing culture that the country's development programme has created in the townships, not a spectating one, but there was evidence enough for those watching events in the middle that the priorities are right.

Geoffrey Toyana, 18 and born and bred in Soweto, was top-scorer for the defeated Transvaal XI and was one of only two players, along with England's Malachy Loye, to come to terms with the difficult artificial wicket.

Walter Masemola, 19 and living in one of the dingy flats overlooking the Alexandra Oval, recovered from a nervous opening over to take three wickets for 14 in his next eight, bowling with pace and movement.

Both are among six township players selected, on merit, in the two teams to represent Transvaal - traditionally South Africa's strongest province - in this month's national Under-19 championship.

Both also showed on Saturday that they could hold their own in more esteemed company. But that, heartening as it may be, was not what the day was about.

The cricket board's programme is not, as Thabo Mbeki, the ANC chairman, pointed out, just aimed at finding players, it is about providing accessible facilities for those deprived by the apartheid years and building bridges in South Africa's fractured society. Saturday was a celebration of tangible progress in both directions.

Eighteen months ago Alexandra - which provided the first urban home for Nelson Mandela 52 years ago - was in a state of civil war with parts of it no-go areas not just for whites and security forces but for blacks as well.

That said there was a frantic rush to take down the temporary marquees, unplug the temporary telephones and clear the area before nightfall when the game - England's first official match in South Africa for 29 years - finished.

It was wrapped up by Dominic Cork, who took six for nine in 7.4 overs as England's total of 121 was shown to be more than enough given the wicket and slow outfield.

Today England A take cricket's gospel into the contrasting Afrikaans farmbelt town of Potchefstroom, 90 miles south- west of Johannesburg for another one-day match with Western Transvaal.

Though the location is far removed from Alexandra the mission is the same, to build on growing enthusiasm for cricket in an area which - in this case because of rugby-playing Boer traditions - had previously been apathetic to the game.

(England A won toss)

ENGLAND A

M N Lathwell b Masemola . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 *H Morris c Toyana b Jacobs . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 A Dale c Omar b Laing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0 A P Wells c Laing b White . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 M B Loye c Toyana b Masemola . . . . . . . . . . . . .38 ] S J Rhodes c Nkutha b Eksteen . . . . . . . . . . . 12 R D B Croft c Omar b Masemola . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 D G Cork b Eksteen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0 M P Bicknell not out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 D Gough c Toyana b Eksteen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0 M C Ilott c Omar b Laing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Extras (b2 lb3 w4) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Total (43.2 overs) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121

Fall: 1-17 2-18 3-32 4-57 5-97 6-107 7-110 8-110 9-110.

Bowling: Masemola 9-0-25-3; Laing 7.2-0- 10-2; Jacobs 5-1-10-1; Malao 9-1-22-0; White 6-1-20-1; Eksteen 7-2-29-3.

TRANSVAAL INVITATION XI

M Yachad lbw b Bicknell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 B White c Gough b Cork . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 M Rushmere run out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 *G Toyana c Ilott b Cork . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23 D Laing c Morris b Cork . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 J Nkutha c Loye b Cork . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 S Jacobs c Rhodes b Gough . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 C Eksteen c Rhodes b Cork . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 ] A Omar run out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 W Masemola not out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 J Malao lbw b Cork . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0 Extras (b1 lb1 w8 nb4) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Total (38.3 overs) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .78

Fall: 1-5 2-8 3-17 4-23 5-25 6-32 7-69 8-75 9-78.

Bowling: Ilott 7-2-11-0; Bicknell 9-0-28-1; Cork 7.3-3-9-6; Gough 6-1-8-1; Dale 9-2-20- 0.

Umpires: K Lavery and S Wadwalla.

Due to heavy overnight rain there was no play on the third and final day of the West Indies' match against the Sri Lanka Board President's XI in Galle. The West Indians were 278 for 6.