As defending champions of the One Day Cup, The Imperial Lions are the 2021/ 22 CSA One Day Cup Champions for the 2nd consecutive year, after a tense final match of the season against their neighbors Momentum Multiply Titans.
The Pride’s One Day Cup journey, was the ultimate in teamwork – with continuous noteworthy performances across all three formats of the game. Players performed, staff excelled, and sponsors supported from first ball to final over.
In the build up to the season, the team summited Mafadi, South Africa’s highest mountain at 3,446 metres, the peak of which borders South Africa and Lesotho. The 4-day hike tested even the strongest of wills: There were tears, triumphs and definitive teamwork, which no doubt contributed significantly to the testing season that has been, so says Lions Cricket CEO Jono Leaf-Wright;
“That pre-season build up far exceeded expectations – players experienced mental and physical fatigue but how symbolic that experience has been of our season: The boys became a closer unit, a team that last night conquered the 50 over Cup despite the ups and downs’. Our performance was indicative of ‘The Lions Way’: Never give up, team first and care. We lost many a player due to National Duty this season, something though that we are extremely proud of, but also something that tests your pipeline as new players are required to step up and step up, they certainly did. With the team blended with youth and experience the season was filled with great learning but always great unity from this special group.”
Captain Dominic Hendricks, who lists this tournament as his favourite, says that winning it for the fans was of top priority;
“What a phenomenal victory – chasing 319 in a final was a mammoth effort and I am extremely proud of the boys – we really pulled through. We accomplished something that will be remembered for many years to come. The first half of the season was quite disappointing, not featuring as much as we would’ve liked to in the various competitions. This one is for the fans – we’re delighted to have won a trophy for them and take great pride in putting a smile on the faces not only for those who attended the game, but for those watching at home too. We couldn’t have done it without them.”
Head Coach Wandile Gwavu says that his men wore the Lions Cricket badge with pride, and performed as if their lives depended on it;
“It’s been a very testing and challenging season, but we can be proud of ourselves as a unit, which is a mainly young and less experienced one. But as it has been many times: It doesn’t matter how you start, but how you finish – and a lot of people are going to remember that final: What a special knock from Reeza. We’ve unearthed some special youngsters – and for that I am so proud because it’s not normal that so many less experienced youngsters have stepped up like they have… that’s The Lions Way. We dominated the 4-day season, but never clinched it – but that’s cricket… that’s life. I would like to thank everyone for a positive and consistent language throughout the season – and especially the leadership shown from Magala, Malusi, Dom Hendricks and Bjorn Fortuin for always believing in a team which could promise so much. In addition, I am so appreciative of the support we received outside of the changeroom – we so appreciate the support not only from our fans, but for the back-office staff too. We had a great season where we learnt so much and actually cannot wait for next season. Thank you to our sponsors: We know that lifting that trophy meant as much to you as it did to us.”
Jono Leaf-Wright says that the victory goes beyond the boundary;
“Our players will be the first to acknowledge that this victory is as a result of many wonderful staff members, sponsors, fans, and a very supportive Board as well as a Pipeline system of schools, universities and clubs that help produce players that can win, a truly dedicated Lions Family team on so many levels – so many of whom were present last evening. A big thank you to all our partners who stood with us throughout the season and for their constant support. A special gratitude to all the Lions staff and fans for flying the Pride of Jozi flag high, for singing and celebrating with us. We not only won on the field last night but won off it as well. Our pride consists of genuine, warm, passionate people who go above and beyond in order to ensure that our players are suitably equipped to excel and dream big. What a TEAM effort lifting the trophy last night was and as Lions Cricket we certainly showed that as Team Lions, Together Everyone Achieves More!”
[Submitted by Kevin Rademeyer]
Nathan Jones has ensured a magical season for the team with the smallest budget in the Championship. Luton are 8 games away from qualifying for the play off, which may secure their seat in the worlds biggest football league. Their next game will be at home to Millwall on Saturday. The faithful will be in attendance and Kenilworth Road will be rocking.
[Submitted by Estea Rademeyer]
The bulls ensured their 4th win in a row by overcoming the Dragons Rugby team at Loftus on a beautiful summers evening.
The 55- 20 scoreline failed to show the exact dominance of a strong Bulls team.
[Submitted by Estea Rademeyer]
GRADE- 5.57 (4TH)
HGT: 5110 / WGT: 203
THE PLAYER- Cameron Roane was twice named to the All Ivy League Team. First in 2016 as a second team selection and a first team selection in 2017. Roane has been a starter the past two seasons and was highly effective at discouraging offenses from throwing at the wide side of the field since he was the field corner.
STRENGTHS- Has good speed. Likes to play physical at the line of scrimmage. Transitions well from his backpedal in off coverage. Redirects receivers at the line of scrimmage with very good press technique. Plays with a chip that pushed him as a competitor. Has the ability to carry receivers across the field. Flips his hips and changes direction well. Good feet. No wasted steps.
WEAKNESSES- Not as sound an off man defender as he is a press corner. Ball skills are a question. Had zero interceptions as a starting corner. Good initial change of direction, but struggles to redirect on second move. Not a lot of pop in his tackling. Solid height but does not show great ability to go up with bigger receivers.
BIG PICTURE- Cameron Roane is the Ivy league prospect that gets lost in the sauce. With so many power conference defensive backs in the draft you tend to overlook a player like him. You rarely see a corner with his skillset in the Ivy League. A press corner with good hips, he played in press over 70% of the time. Roane played the field corner and wasn't often tested. Teams chose to attack Denzel Hill and Columbia's sophomore corner instead. He only had 1 interception in his four seasons. He had a career high 9 passes defensed in 2017. He also had 25 total tackles. He maintains excellent body positioning. He carries receivers across the field well. He isn't the biggest corner. Roane has a skillset to fit into almost any scheme. He can play with the physicality and intelligence a corner needs in a Cover 2 scheme. He can play in a Man free scheme. I believe he can transition into the slot as well for nickel packages.
For more scouting reports and other draft news visit www.cover2draft.com
[Submitted by Jeff Barnes]
First Light in Kenya By Jessica Tinianow
(Published in Summer 2005 Windy City Sports Chicago,Illinois)
Dawn breaks in Kenya. The plains of the Masai Mara are still. A herd of Thomson gazelles is grazing on the low grass. Suddenly, one runs to the outside and begins to lap the others. The lone gazelle accelerates and is galloping gracefully in ovals around the rest of the herd as if completing 200 meters on an outdoor track.
This gazelle mirrored the Kenyan running experience I had the prior week. I had participated in the first Runner’s World Kenya Running Safari and still had a runner’s high. This unique safari, organized by the magazine and Micato Safaris (www.micato.com) transported 12 Americans, one Japanese and this writer to the Northwest Highlands of Kenya, to Eldoret, a town located 3,085 meters above sea level from which most of Kenya’s elite distance runners originate.
It’s here that I journeyed into the home of Kenya’s greatest running tribe, the Kalenjin, in the highlands along the western edge of the magnificent Rift Valley. Over the course of 10 days, all of us socialized, ran and broke bread with more than 30 elite, world-class Kenyan runners.
As an avid recreational runner/triathlete I had watched Kenyans dominate many mid- and long-distance races for over 20 years. Yet before visiting Eldoret most of these runners were nameless to me except for a few of the most celebrated, like Kip Keino, Paul Tergat and Tegla Laroupe. When the Kenyans zipped by, I would clap and cheer for them collectively without any knowledge of their individual achievements. But I always wondered who these extraordinary runners were and why they were so good. What were the secrets behind all those anonymous faces?
From the moment I opened the van door and stepped onto the edge of the simple, dirt running track of Kamirriny stadium in Iten, a local Kalenjin town close to Eldoret, my surreal running experience began. Sprinting by me in midst of a morning interval workout was world-class athlete Lornah Kiplagat (see notes on all the athletes at the end). Then, my attention drifted to another three runners who ran with effortless long strides. I was told that I was watching three of Kenya’s most accomplished mid-distance medalists—Abraham Chebii, Sammy Kipketer and Ben Maiyo. A few daring souls in our group jumped in and tried to keep pace, though a running injury prevented me from joining the fray. Throngs of curious, smiling and shy schoolchildren surrounded us and squealed with delight as we gave them Bic pens and showed them our digital photos.
That afternoon I dined with Kiplagat at the training center she and her husband, Pieter, founded for young, gifted female athletes in the community. Over dinner, she shared with me her hopes and dreams for the future of female Kenyan athletes. “I encourage them to be the best they can be—they’re already doing very well,” she said.
Almost all the athletes, whether title holders or young future stars, come from impoverished backgrounds. Even with overseas race winnings they maintain strong ties to their family and community and never seem to lose a sense of their roots. The people live simply—without running water, TV or radio, but they all have enough to eat. The children walk or run to school, often barefoot in tattered school clothes.
Legendary runner Kip Keino proudly took the group on a tour through the beautiful gardens on the grounds of his training camp. He showed us where he grew pineapples, bananas and herbs, but he barely mentioned the home and school for 100 orphans that he built across the field. Brother Colm O’ Connell, a longtime coach who’d produced many champions at St. Patrick’s High School in Iten, proudly showed us his schoolyard full of trees—each one planted in honor of a graduate who went on to running fame. There was almost no room left to plant new seedlings. He shared with us the main lunch course of the student athletes, which is called githeri—a simple cooked mixture of corn and beans—as well as the other basic ingredients of their daily diet: tea, toast, meat and the aforementioned ugali. I wondered if perhaps these were the keys to the Kenyan success.
Often, celebrated athletes training and living in the Eldoret area joined our runners on casual runs along dirt roads past farms in the hills of the Rift valley. Though limited by my injury, I was able to participate in the enthusiasm of the experience.
In the hills of Chirchir I watched with envy as Eliud Kipchoge, Matthew Birir and Richard Limo ran with our group. The Kenyans jogged along as the pack descended and ascended the hills on unpaved, uneven dirt roads with beautiful panoramic vistas of the Rift Valley and its idyllic countryside at every turn of the road. Children appeared at the side of the road and stared with curiosity. It was a sight they likely had never seen before.
Overall, our group was welcomed into five training centers and five private homes. We also received an open invitation to participate in the North Rift Valley Regional XC championships in the fertile highland of Kapenguria. Nine of us signed up for the 4K and 12K races. Our team entered as the Mzungu Wazimu (crazy white people). Crazy indeed, for age, altitude and genes were all against us from the outset.
Hundreds of local villagers and children had walked miles in the scorching heat to watch and cheer on their own young talents, many of whom ran barefoot. They clearly were bewildered and bemused by the site of the Mzungu running in the searing Equatorial heat on the remote muddy dirt field. They pushed forward to get a closer look.
Our team placed last but won the hearts of the crowd. For the Kenyans, participating at Ngong meant a potential entry ticket to the next level of the African and World Championships.
I never discovered if there was really one secret to the success of Kalinjen athletes; it’s probably a combination of things. Though I suspect it’s the fact that running is more than a sport, but is instead woven into the fabric of their lives.
[Submitted by Jessica Tinianow]
Notre Dame's Cal Petersen got his 8th Career shutout Saturday afternoon and season high 34 saves as Notre Dame beat Alaska 5-0 at Compton family Ice Arena in a new year's Eve hockey game.