Mecer Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) booked their place in the final of the University Sport South Africa (USSA) A Week after a nail biting match against University of Pretoria (TUKS) that went down to the last ball, ending in a tie at the NMMU Oval on Thursday. NMMU qualify for the final because of a higher number of wins during the pool section of the tournament and will meet University of the Western Cape (UWC), who beat University of Cape Town (UCT) for their place in the final.
In the NMMU/TUKS match, the visitors won the toss and chose to bat first. Theunis de Bruyn once again played a major role, scoring an unbeaten 75 runs while Ernest Kemm narrowly missed a half century, returning with 49. TUKS set a competitive 200-run target for their hosts.
NMMU started well and were well on their way to victory at 114/2 before an excellent spell of seam bowling by TUKS Sean Nowak brought his team back in the game. A flurry of wickets in the closing stages of the match, brought about by some tight bowling by the TUKS bowlers, saw NMMU needing 5 runs off the last over. NMMU opening batsman, Eddie Moore played a monumental knock but missed out on a well deserved century holing out to a splendid catch in the deep for 93. The Dolley brothers were once again called upon to see their team home and with 2 runs required off the last ball, Brad Dolley calmly slotted the ball past the keeper and ran through for the solitary single that saw NMMU tie the match. Sean Nowack continued his good form with the ball, taking four wickets for 42 while Anton Verster chipped in with two wickets of his own.
UWC beat arch rivals UCT by a convincing 87 runs to ensure their place in the final. UWC won the toss and batted first, posting a competitive 240/9. Ashley Fernandez and Esmund van Wyk scored 86 runs each to set the daunting score.
UCT started their run chase like a house on fire as they raced to 50 after 10 overs, however a mini collapse saw their hopes of getting to the final fade as they slumped to 61/3 after 15 overs. They were all out for 153 thanks to Nkululeko Serame, who once again starred with the ball, taking three wickets for 34 and Nathan Swartz, who took 2/31.
University of Free State (Kovsies) bulldozed themselves into the final when they thrashed Central University of Technology (CUT) by an overwhelming 129 runs. Keagan Rafferty (43) and Curtis Sally (31) batted their side to 196/7 at the end of their allotted overs.
Leonard Killeen lead the bowling attack, taking an exceptional four for 15, as Rafferty added to the damage with his commendable 3/15. CUT could not compete and were skittled out for 67 runs.
Kovsies will meet University of Fort Hare in the Pool B final.
Fort Hare remained unbeaten after they also played out to tie against University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). Mkhululi Calana (58) and Jongile Kilana (47) lead Fort Hare to 164/8 after winning the toss and electing to bat first. Wits' Chris Wasbe took four wickets for 23.
In reply, Wits' Rowan Carstensen top scored with 43 while his teammates seemed to lose their wickets at regular intervals. Matome Modiba took an admirable three wickets for 13 to see his side to a draw. As in the case of the NMMU and TUKS semi-final, Fort Hare had more match wins and therefore qualified to play in the final as per the playing conditions of the tournament.
In the remaining Pool A matches, University of Stellenbosch (Steinhoff Maties) won their first match in this year's tournament when they beat North West University (Vaal) by four wickets while North West University (PUKKE), beat University of Johannesburg by 33 runs.
In the Pool B matches, Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) went out with a bang, winning their first match this week by an all-mighty 104 runs against Vaal University of Technology. Rhodes University beat University of KwaZulu-Natal by six runs.
Day 5 fixtures
Final - UWC v NMMU - St George's Park
3 / 4 UCT v Tuks - Freeplay Park
5 / 6 Maties v NWU Puk - Grey Phillip
7 / 8 NWU Vaal v UJ - Victoria Park
Final - UFS v Fort Hare - NMMU Oval
3 / 4 CUT v Wits - NMMU B
5 / 6 TUT v Rhodes - NMMU C 7 / 8 VUT v UKZN - 2nd Ave