There were four Jeppe boys in the Gauteng Lions franchise team that retained the title at Cricket South Africa’s U19 Cubs Week in Stellenbosch in the first week of the year.
The Lions team is chosen from all the eligible players from the Gauteng and Northwest provincial unions – from the Khaya Majola and under-17 provincial weeks, and from club cricket.
Jeppe had the most representatives in the side. St Stithians supplied three players, and King Edward two.
Katlego Thena was selected for the Cubs side after a solid performance at the Khaya Majola Week. He never got much chance to show his ability with the bat, but performed well as a bowler, taking nine wickets in the five games he played, at an average of 21,7.
Left-arm spinner Kgaudise Molefe made it to the Cubs week via the back door, but when presented with the opportunity, he rose to the occasion.
He was not originally selected for the Gauteng under-19 team. He went to the SCA under-17 week in Benoni instead – but he performed so well there that when there was an injury at the Khaya Majola Week, he was drafted in as a replacement.
He was the star bowler at the under-17 week, with 17 wickets, and although his chances were more limited at the Khaya Majola tournament, he was among the wicket takers and did enough to catch the attention of the selectors and get the nod for the Cubs team. At the Cubs week he was second-top wickets taker, with 12, at an average of 10, and he was named man of the match in the final against the Titans, taking 5/29 in his 10 overs.
Batsman Mohammed Ahmed also made it in the Lions Cubs team from the under-17 week. He made 147 runs in the week, at an average of 36.75, but it was his performance in the final that really caught the eye.
He opened the batting and carried his bat, ending up on 51 not out to steer his side to victory. He didn’t get much opportunity to perform at the next level, but big things are expected of him this year.
Tshepo Bopape, Jeppe’s 1st team captain for 2017 is the fourth Jeppe boy to make the cubs side. He played at the Khaya Majola week and although he feels he didn’t have a good week, he believes he learnt a lot about captaincy from Gauteng and SA Schools captain, Wiaan Mulder.
The Cubs Week was a great experience for all four Jeppe boys, Tshepo says, and as they are all still at school this year he is sure it will serve them well in the season to come.