In the midst of their centenary celebrations, the Assupol Tuks Cricket Club has received a further boost when they represent South Africa at the Red Bull Campus Cricket World Finals, starting today in Dubai.
This comes after they won the 2019 Varsity Cricket competition, and will be the fourth time in the past six years that they have flown the national flag.
More than just compete, they have won the global tournament on two occasions, in 2014 and 2015, when it was hosted in the United Kingdom and India respectively.
It is a measure of the quality of the tournament that five players who have taken part in the global event have gone on to earn Standard Bank Proteas colours.
These are Theunis de Bruyn (2014 – Tuks), Heinrich Klaasen (2014 – Tuks), Aiden Markram (2014, 2015 – Tuks), Lungi Ndigi (2015, 2016 – Tuks) and Janneman Malan (2017 – Pukke).
Current Titans players Tony de Zorzi, Rubin Hermann and Corbin Bosch have also graduated through the tournament into the paid ranks, so it is a platform rich with potential.
Sadly for the Pretoria side, they will participate without one of their key players, Neil Brand, who has very quickly established himself in the senior Momentum Multiply Titans side this season, after playing a starring role in the Varsity Cup triumph.
In Brand’s absence, the onus will fall on several others to take on the responsibility of maintaining the Tummies reputation at this stage.
Amongst them, Donovan Ferreira is a established senior player. The final year BCom student had such an impact in the Varsity Cup that he was drafted as a Wild Card option by the Tshwane Spartans for the 2019 version of the Mzansi Super League.
Another key member of the side is Ruan de Swardt, currently reading for a BA Humanities degree. He had the rare distinction of being selected for both SA Schools Rugby and Cricket in matric. Rugby’s loss was cricket’s gain, and he has already earned himself a contract with the Titans for the 2019/20 campaign.
Another key man in the side will be Bonga Chepkonga who has made incredible strides, from being discovered as a net bowler by TUKS, and then working his way to being a pace spearhead in the Varsity Cup.
That journey has more than made up for a promising schoolboy career that was curtailed by injury, as Chepkonga makes up for lost time.
The T20 tournament is scheduled to take place from 27 October – 2 November at Dubai Sports City. Joining TUKS are teams from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and Zimbabwe.
For live updates follow @tukscricket on Twitter.