South Western Districts Cricket, on Tuesday, revealed the final squad for the 2023/24 season. The Six Gun Grill Garden Route Badgers enjoyed a relatively successful season after winning the Division 2 One Day Cup competition but could not convert the same success in the 4-Day competition and failed to be promoted to Division 1.
Spin bowling hero, Sean Whitehead (Warriors), and the captain Onke Nyaku (Western Province) will be playing in Division 1 next season while André Malan has announced his retirement from first class cricket. The Badgers has however contracted four newcomers for next season. The new acquisitions are the left-arm leg spinner Thomas Kaber from the Eastern Cape Iianyathi, left-arm seam bowler Khwezi Gumede (from the Paarl Rocks), opening batsman Ruan Terblanche (also from the Rocks) and the versatile Kelly Smuts (from the Northern Cape Heat). Pheko Moletsane, who was part of the set-up for the past two seasons has been elevated to a professional contract.
“We have confidence with the squad assembled for the forthcoming season”, said SWD CEO Albertus Kennedy. “We trust to improve on key areas that required strengthening to reach our objectives,” Kennedy commented.
With the Tuskers (Kwa-Zulu Natal) that was promoted to the expense of the Knights to Division 1, the Garden Route Badgers, Eastern Cape Iinyathi, Eastern Storm, Impala Limpopo, Northern Cape Heat and Mpumalanga Rhinos will form the division 2 teams that will fight it out for promotion at the end of the 2023/24 season.
The Badgers will soon finalise the appointment of their head coach after Piet Botha, the coach of the past season, has joined the Proteas test side as bowling coach.
The contracted squad is:
SIX GUN GRILL SWD CONTRACTS FOR 2022/2023:
Blayde Capell, Matthew Christeansen, Jean du Plessis, Khwezi Gumede, Thomas Kaber, Pheko Moletsane, Marcello Piedt, Kelly Smuts, Ruan Terblanche, Sintu Majiza, and Jhedli van Briesies.
HIGH PERFORMANCE CONTRACTS
Herschel America, Jarred Jardine, Tyrece Karelse, Hanno Kotze and Keenan Vieira.