Mark Charlton is revealing in his teams success as Northerns Seniors have reached the Final of CSA Provincial One-Day Challenge, at SuperSport Park on 2 April.
Northerns headed into the final pool match in the limited-overs competition against Northern Cape on Sunday having already qualified for the home final, with an unassailable lead at the top of the table.
An imperious century from Ruben Herman steered Northerns to an 87-run win and cemented their place at the top of Pool A on 40 points. Having won the Sunfoil 3-Day Cup and Africa T20 Cup in 2015 and 2016 respectively, this the first time his team have reached a 50-over final.
“We’ve played well this season and I’m very pleased with how our season has gone,” said the Northerns’ coach.
“We lost just the one game in the pool stage and we picked up bonus points in every game that we won.”
“Playing at one of the best stadiums of the world in the final motivates us massively. We enjoy playing at SuperSport Park - we’ve got some really good fast bowlers who like to exploit extra movement and extra bit of bounce.”
Northerns will return to SuperSport Park, the same venue where they kick-started their 50-over campaign with a convincing five wicket win against Easterns. Northerns then welcomed KwaZulu-Natal, where Rivaldo Moonsamy, who was awarded his Momentum One Day debut this season, struck 111 to secure a second bonus-point win.
The first away trip, to Border in East London, ended in an emphatic 113-run win. Grant Thomson led with 103 before Ruben Claassen added to his 48 by taking career-best figures of 5-16 to skittle Border out for 113.
Northerns were unable to continue their winning run when rain out paid to their next fixture against Western Province, where the points were shared.
Next up, a trip to Oudstroom against South Western District, where Thomson was again amongst the runs with a top score of 73. A career-best of 5-35 from Thomas Kaber ensured Northerns left the Cape with a bonus point win.
Charlton’s team were bolstered by the inclusion of AB de Villiers when they hosted Easterns at Sahara Willowmoore Park. Returning from injury, de Villiers scored an unbeaten 134 to chase the 200-run target within 31 overs.
An unbroken 92-run eight-wicket stand between Lerato Kgoatle and Eldred Hawken ensured Northerns got over the line against North-West in Potchefstroom.
Northerns then returned to SuperSport Park, where they suffered their solitary loss in the competition at the hands of Namibia. Despite half-centuries from Victor Mahlangu and Claassen, the hosts succumbed to a four-wicket defeat.
Thomson continued his run of form against Free State, the right-hander’s scoring an unbeaten 94 on his way to become Northerns’ leading run-scorer in the competition.
“Grant has been so consistent and is such a top performer week in and week out. He goes out to bat and does the business for us with ball. In 50-over cricket he is just the complete package,” said Charlton.
“We’ve got a nice balance of youth and experience. The senior players have definitely stood up and put their hands up, while the younger players have found their niche in the team.”
“I’ve been happy how the senior players have led and how the younger players have come through."
Alongside the limited-overs competition, Northerns have been competing in the Sunfoil 3-Day Cup where they finished top of the table and have qualified for the Final against the Free State.
“Overall to be competing for two trophies and to be top of the table in both competitions heading into the last weekend, I couldn’t have asked for more,” added Charlton.