A total of 288 talented young township cricketers will step up to the crease at Hilton College to compete in the sixth annual Sunfoil Township Tournament sponsored by Willowton Group from July 8 – 12.
The tournament is part of an ongoing development programme run by the KwaZulu Natal Cricket Union and the Willowton Group – through its Sunfoil brand, to involve youngsters from disadvantaged areas.
“The Sunfoil Township Tournament programme was developed to inspire youngsters to play cricket and to instil a love of the sport amongst the whole community, making cricket a meaningful part of township culture,” said Shoaib Moosa, Sales & Marketing Director of Willowton Group.
Twelve Under-15 teams and twelve Under-19 teams will take part in the tournament. There will be two sessions of cricket matches in the morning and in the afternoon, giving the teams the opportunity to play more games in the T20 format.
Two teams from Western Province have been invited to participate this year, following last year’s inclusion of invitation teams from Border and Gauteng.
At the closing ceremony at midday on July 11, a team will be selected to play against the Suncoast Dolphins Academy after the ceremony in a T20 match in the afternoon. The purpose of this match is to give an opportunity for the township cricketers to play against a senior opponent.
“This is a great opportunity for the most promising of our local players,” said Moosa. “The Township Tournament is the highlight of their cricketing calendar.”
“We are very excited about our relationship with Hilton College and the fact that the township boys will be staying at the school and playing cricket in world class facilities,” said Linda Zondi, KZNCU Township Development Manager.
“We are delighted with the progress that the 47 Sunfoil township teams have made playing in the Durban and District Cricket Union (DDCU) league in the 2011/12 cricket season. Two club teams won their division – Kwa Mashu INK Under-13 and Chesterville Senior. What makes this even more special is that, previously, the township teams played only in Pool B, but are now playing in Pools A and B against schools such as Glenwood and Northwood.”
“We plan to increase the number of township teams playing in the league again this year,” Zondi said. “They will be selected from nearly 3 000 children who are now playing cricket regularly as a result of this initiative.”
A number of events have led up to this year’s tournament starting with an Under-9 tournament for 260 youngsters on 20 June.
In addition, sixty women from the eThekwini region took part in a Women’s tournament at Umlazi Comtech on 22 and 23 June, aimed at growing the number of women players.
The Under-12’s competed on 25 and 26 June, resulting in the selection of the best team to play at Hilton College, also in preparation for the KZN Under -13 trials at the end of the year.
The number of participants in the Township Tournament has been reduced to 288 this year, compared with 450 last year, as the organisers have decided to focus on quality rather than quantity.
Willowton Group has been a committed supporter of cricket for many years, from development at grassroots level to sponsorship of the Sunfoil Dolphins franchise and, at national level through Proteas Test Series Cricket. The many quality brands produced by this family-owned business include Sunfoil pure sunflower cooking oil, Sunshine D, D’lite and Nuvolite margarine and spreads and, more recently, Allsome Rice.
“Cricket enables underprivileged young people to channel their energy into a positive and healthy team activity,” said Willowton’s Moosa. “It encourages them to work hard and develop skills which give them confidence and the belief that it is possible to change their lives for the better.”
There are currently 12 youngsters attending respected schools on cricket bursaries, who discovered from this project, including Nqobile Msomi (12) who is doing particularly well at Glenwood Prep, in Grade 5.