Balance has been restored at Newlands, long may it stay

Eddie Moore of WP attacks a delivery against the Dolphins at Newlands over the weekend.

Eddie Moore of WP attacks a delivery against the Dolphins at Newlands over the weekend. Picture: Shaun Roy BackpagePix

Published Dec 6, 2022


Johannesburg - Having been in this seat for the best part of 15 years, a certain degree of entitlement unfortunately does manifest itself.

Like I moan when I don’t have parking inside the stadium, if the food in the media centre is not to my liking, and don’t get me started on when my seat is not right behind the bowlers’ arm.

I know it sounds all a bit brattish, but like anything in life we have to remind ourselves of not taking things for granted.

Last weekend though I was delivered a cold reminder of the privileges that we do have access to, as members of the media contingent.

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And it was as simple as being able to watch live sport inside a stadium.

It was not too long ago that this was taken away from all of us due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and I clearly remember the day I returned to Newlands to report on South Africa versus England in a T20 international series.

At that stage spectators were not allowed back due to government regulations.

But fortunately the Covid-19 virus subsided, vaccinations became available, and slowly there was a return to some form of normality.

I even travelled overseas to the United Arab Emirates to cover a T20 World Cup last year and returned home to watch the Stormers claim their maiden trophy when they hoisted the United Rugby Championship Cup at a boisterous Cape Town Stadium.

Cricket lovers in Cape Town have though not been as fortunate. The Proteas played the New Year’s Test against India this year behind closed doors, while all other Cricket SA white-ball competitions have been hosted at a singular venue outside of the Western Cape since the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic.

There has been the opportunity to watch first-class cricket at Newlands, but let’s be honest nobody besides any of the players’ relatives frequent those games.

So, last Sunday, when an in-form Western Province team hosted the Dolphins in the One-Day Cup, it was actually a special occasion which had been completely lost on me until I bumped into a couple of the Newlands faithful on my mandatory walk around the ground.

It, of course, wasn’t the same with a stalwart such as “Boeta Cassiem”, the celebrated ice-cream seller, no longer with us due to Covid-19, but there were still plenty of familiar faces to share stories with on the Oaks grass banks.

Everyone I came into contact with was just so glad to finally be back at Newlands. The time away had been dreadful and many thought the day might never come when they would see each other again.

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But there they were, basking in the Cape Town sun with cold beverages in hand, and just reliving fond memories they have experienced collectively at the hallowed old ground.

For many Newlands Cricket Ground is their home away from home. A happy place. And long may that continue.


IOL Sport

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