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Sports & Off The Pitch
Feb 24 2012 8:33AM
 
Homing in on first win
IN-FORM: Khaya Zondo will look to follow up on his excellent recent performances against the Chevrolet Knights today. Picture: GALLO IMAGES
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Michael Mentz

There is no place like home.

For The New Age Impi that truth will be put to the test tonight when they take on the Chevrolet Warriors in their first home game of the MiWay T20 Challenge at Sahara Park Willowmoore in Benoni.

Not that it has been a case of the players feeling unwelcome at any of the grounds they have played on thus far, as the diversity of the team ensured that there were always a few fans on their side.

The reality is that they are now looking forward to being the team with the most vocal supporters as they know a slight edge over their opponents is all they’ll need to end their winless run.

To say it has been a long road for the team who visited Potchefstroom, Pietermaritzburg and Cape Town in the past week would be an understatement as some of their members only recently arrived from overseas.

Despite the extensive travels and disappointing results the vibe inside The New Age Impi has remained positive and there is a belief that today could be their day. “We have played well over the last week and the important thing is that the we are improving,” coach Vincent Barnes said ahead of their next assignment.

As a squad that was established to unearth new talent, Barnes added that he was pleased the performances of some of the youngsters and that, at this stage, there are far more encouraging signs than concerns.

What has been very disappointing is the performances of the international hired hands The New Age Impi have employed.

Dutch sensation Ryan ten Doeshante is yet to score a boundary (in three innings) while skipper Paul Collingwood has also not been playing at his usual high standard.

Barnes was confident it is only a matter of time before his men turn the corner. “Once this team clicks it is going to make a huge difference, but unfortunately those things take time. Our objective is to make better cricketers of some of the younger players, and I believe we are doing that.”

While the bulk of the squad is heading into their second week in camp, batsman Luke Wright and seamer Ben Edmondson only linked up with the team days before their defeat to the Cape Cobras. And like Collingwood and Ten Doeshante, their influence off the field, in mentoring the younger players, has been of far greater value than what they’ve accomplished on it.

Looking at today’s contest, The New Age Impi would have taken
note of the outstanding victory the Knights secured over the Titans and are therefore braced for what should be one of their toughest encounters.

One of their main aims will be to entertain their new fans and if Khaya Zondo’s good run of form is complemented by some solid knocks by his teammates, Benoni residents are in for a treat.

Barnes hinted he might make changes to the team, but added he will have to make a few assessments at training this morning first. michaelm@thenewage.co.za

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