Namibia may have seen the return of Gerrie Snyman from a stint playing club cricket in New Zealand recently, but it wasn't enough to lift them to the standards they've set themselves from previous years in the second tier of South African domestic season.
Two defeats to North West over the past few days, in a three-day game and a one-day game, have capped off a disappointing season for the Namibians in the CSA Provincial Challenge tournaments, and they have finished last in the one-day tournament, with a number of draws lifting them to twelfth (out of fourteen teams) in the three-day tournament. They have won just one game in each competition over the course of the season.
Their defeat to North West in the three-day game, which finished on Saturday, is all the more galling given that twice Namibia had found themselves well on top of the game, with a massive seventh wicket partnership taking it away from them the second time.
At Senwes Park in Potchefstroom, Namibian captain Craig Williams won the toss and put the home side into bat. The opening pair of Johan Mostert and Andrea Agathagelou found the going slow, only having reached nine when Mostert fell in the eighth over.
That sparked a clatter of wickets, with North West being reduced to 31-5. The fall of the fifth wicket brought Werner Coetsee to the middle, and it was he who shepherded the tail, scoring an unbeaten 92 from 111 balls to take North West to 194.
Namibia started their innings well enough, and had reached 139-2 by the 33rd over. But the dismissal of their captain sparked a collapse, and it was only a brief cameo from number ten Louis Klazinga, who scored 31, that lifted their total above 200, gaining a narrow 19 run first innings lead.
Still, when North West collapsed in their second innings from 71-1 to 96-6, Namibia would have been confident of getting that second win. But they had reckoned without the seventh wicket pairing of North West captain Brett Pelser and Chris Morris.
The pair put on a massive 249 for the seventh wicket before Morris was bowled by Louis Burger, having scored 145 from 154 balls, his maiden first-class century. Pelser stayed in for an unbeaten 110 before declaring his teams innings closed on 350-7, setting Namibia a target of 332.
Namibia didn't score quickly enough throughout their innings, and were eventually bowled out for 255, losing by 76 runs. Werner Coetsee took 5-78 to complete a fine all-round performance.
North West beat Namibia by 76 runs
Senwes Park, Potchefstroom, 25-27 March 2010
North West 194 (54 overs, W Coetsee 92*, L Klazinga 4-38, B Scholtz 3-56) & 350-7d (83 overs, C Morris 145, B Pelser 110*, A Agathagelou 41, C Viljoen 3-75)
Namibia 213 (58.4 overs, G Rudolph 45, S Baard 45, C Williams 35, K Vardhan 5-25, C Morris 3-46) & 255 (69.1 overs, C Williams 54, L Burger 36, N Manyande 35, W Coetsee 5-78, R Bhayat 4-37)
The one-day game on Sunday was a more convincing win for the home side. Namibia were restricted to 215-6 from their 40 overs, Gerrie Snyman top scoring with 55 from 47 balls. North West knocked off the runs required in 29.2 overs, with Christiaan Jonker scoring 115 not out from 86 balls, to win by eight wickets.
North West beat Namibia by 8 wickets
Senwes Park, Potchefstroom, 28 March 2010
North West 215-6 (40 overs, G Snyman 55*, G Rudolph 39)
Namibia 218-2 (29.2 overs, C Jonker 115*, A Hall 58*)
Namibia will now prepare for the visit of Bermuda for an Intercontinental Shield match, two one-day matches and a Twenty20 match. The Shield match starts on Friday.