Opinion: Sunfoil 3-Day Cup hardly noticed, but full of substance

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

Jonhenry Wilson speaks about the thriving amateur / semi-professional cricket scene in South Africa. 

While the Sunfoil Series takes a break, the Ram Slam T20 Challenge gathers impetus and the Momentum One Day Cup draws closer, let's cast an eye to the lower levels of South African cricket this week.

An effective balance between semi-professional and amateur competition, the Sunfoil 3-Day Cup is serving up some sound results around the country. Provincial rather than franchise, substantive if not sensational, it really captures the essence of first-class cricket from Kimberley to Benoni and back again.

Affording smaller venues that otherwise wouldn't be privy to senior provincial competition on a regular basis game time, the Sunfoil 3-Day Cup also provides respite for stars who currently can't get a gig in the franchise outfit - and develops younger guns throughout.

Andrea Agathangelou and Pite van Biljon are good examples of really good batsmen who can't crack the nod for the Titans and Knights, respectively, at the moment. But they're both thriving, not just surviving, in the Sunfoil 3-Day Cup. It's hugely important that these sorts of players fill their proverbial boots in the smaller contests when not playing at higher levels.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Kyle Verreynne is perhaps the perfect exponent of the Sunfoil 3-Day Cup. He paid his dues, for a prolonged period, in the Western Province outfit - and eventually graduated to the Cape Cobras. Now scoring plenty of runs and proving sharp behind the stumps at franchise level, he still makes sure to capitalise at provincial level when opportunity knocks.

To date, the 2017-18 edition of the Sunfoil 3-Day Cup has produced 10 results in 18 matches. That's a sound win-loss ratio in contrast to its older brother, the Sunfoil Series, which has yielded a whopping 14 draws in 15 fixtures.

Like England have done in the past, inviting the Netherlands and to their domestic competitions, Namibia are involved in the Sunfoil 3-Day Cup. Kenya, however, are not. The East African nation's first-class circuit is almost non-existent, so they are tethered to the confines of their own systems - and the Africa T20 Cup once a year.

Veteran Namibian right-hander Craig Williams is, in fact, currently the leading run-scorer this Sunfoil 3-Day Cup season. A big century against Boland, coupled with complementary half-tons against Easterns and Gauteng, are entirely testament to his talent.

Easterns left-arm seamer Clayton August, meanwhile, is the leading wicket-taker. He has clinched an impressive 25 wickets in four matches. This, on decks that have been far more conducive to batting than bowling.

While the 2017 T20 Global League ultimately didn't happen, the Sunfoil Series is proving characteristically uninspiring and the Ram Slam T20 Challenge still has a lot to prove, South African cricket can be pleased with what's on the go at amateur and semi-professional level nonetheless.

The views expressed above are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Hollywoodbets.

Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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