DURBAN – It is the final week of the 2017/18 season, and the Dolphins are certainly feeling it. Their squad has been hit hard by injury and personal circumstance, while their Sunfoil Series ambitions were dealt a near-terminal blow when they couldn’t turn over the Lions on the weekend.
“We will still keep pushing, because we still believe there is still a chance for us to win this trophy,” a defiant Grant Morgan puffed this week.
Morgan will tell his troops the same before they meet the table-topping Warriors at Kingsmead this week, but the truth is that the trophy is likelier to come to Durban to be presented to the Warriors, on their way to the airport.
The men from Port Elizabeth sit 1.02 points above the Cape Cobras in the standings, and those precious fractions of a point may well be what decides this year’s four-day title.
The weather has had a big say during this series, especially on the coast, but the extended absence of a bunch of Proteas has seen many matches fizzle out into predictable draws. Thus, the Warriors sit at the top by virtue of ¬having the most wins (just two) in the competition.
“We tried as hard as we could against the Lions, but it just wasn’t to be,” Morgan reflected. “We have bowled well all season, and our batters did well to give us a chance, but there was weather about on the Sunday. We knew that was the case, and we tried to make a go of it,” he explained of their pursuit of 285.
They eventually rested on 199/7.
“That is all I could ask for from the boys. Calvin Savage was magnificent with the bat in the first innings. You know, he is a really special cricketer, and he has been unlucky in the last few years to sometimes miss out when we have to balance out our selection.
“To get his maiden franchise hundred, at the Wanderers, and batting in the way that he did for us, that was something truly special. He thoroughly deserves it,” an appreciative Morgan enthused.
Having seen their tail wag, the Dolphins were then frustrated by a scrap from the Lions in the second innings, as Beuran Hendricks rode his luck and bunted an infuriating 68. That knock allowed the home side to take enough time out of the game.
“We actually dropped Beuran on 29, so we didn’t help ourselves,” Morgan sighed. “We tried our best, and that is all we can ask. Hopefully, we can do the same for one last game,” he added.
The Dolphins will still be without the influential Robbie Frylinck, while personal reasons may see Morne van Wyk also miss out again. There is a chance that Andile Phehlukwayo may return for the final match, however.
The Dolphins host the Warriors at Kingsmead from Thursday.