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On a ‘good wicket’ – EBH Namibia helps to put Walvis Bay cricket back on the national map
19 November 2015

  This year, the EBH XI Coastal combined team participated in the National Premier Cricket League for the first time in four years, reaching the semi-finals and putting coastal cricket back on the map. This was a direct result of EBH Namibia’s support of the Junior Coastal Cricket Academy (JCCA) in an intensive coaching and sponsorship programme that was initiated by EBH in 2012.

This is according to chairman of the JCCA, Mr Ruben Groenewald, who has acknowledged EBH Namibia’s contribution in “rekindling” coastal cricket. “EBH Namibia has brought cricket coaching back into the suburbs by supporting our coaches, enabling them to reach young players who otherwise would not have had the opportunity to play, and boosting local club cricket,” says Groenewald.

In addition, the EBH T20, which takes place annually between May and July, has become a highlight on the local cricketing calendar, with between eight and ten participating teams.

“The EBH T20 initiative has played an invaluable role for the past six years in developing the game locally,” says Groenewald. “In 2009, there were only a handful of players at two clubs, which were struggling for existence. Today, there are four cricket clubs on the coast, and a total of six teams.”

The growth of club cricket in Walvis Bay saw the coastal team occupying the top position of the log table for four months and reaching the semi-finals in this year’s national league championships. The last team to represent the coast and dominate cricket in Namibia was in 1965.

“EBH Namibia’s involvement made it possible for us to send a regional team to the national league, selected from the various coastal teams. The fact that we made it to the top of the premier log has made coastal cricket history!” says Groenewald. Unfortunately, the rainy season played a decisive role, cutting short the EBI XI’s path to victory.

EBH Namibia, a world-class ship repair company based in Walvis Bay, takes its role as corporate citizen seriously, and is involved in numerous projects which aim to bring about positive socio-economic change in the communities in which it operates. The company sees its active involvement in club cricket as another means through which it can make a tangible difference.

“We believe that in order to have a meaningful impact in our immediate environment, it is important to start at ‘grassroots’ level. In cricket, this means bringing top class coaching to the suburbs, growing club cricket and finally enabling the participation of our coastal clubs in national events on the cricket calendar,” says Hannes Uys, Chief Executive Officer of EBH Namibia.

EBH Namibia supports weekly afternoon coaching sessions for underprivileged children on an ongoing basis. Players include boys and girls between the ages of ten and 16 from Kuisebmond, Narraville and the town area of Walvis Bay. Under 11 and Under 13 teams participate in the annual coastal national schools cricket week during the August/September school holidays, and older age groups have been participating in the national Momentum Cricket Week in Windhoek.

“The EBH T20 project is playing an instrumental role in bringing coastal cricket back to life, by developing our young players to club level – and it has also succeeded in putting the coastal women’s cricket on the national cricket map,” says Groenewald. He adds that one of the goals of the JCCA is to host a national women’s cricket week at the coast, as well as to host a national boys’ cricket league with participation from top South African provincial teams.

The EBH project has allowed more coaches to be employed from September 2015, as well as the improvement of coaching facilities.

“We have exciting plans for coastal cricket, and it is thanks to EBH Namibia that we have been able to build a solid foundation for future cricketing excellence,” says Groenewald.

“2015 has seen some exciting results for our coastal cricket, not only our first XI team but younger teams. EBH Namibia is delighted with this, and with the opportunity to have been able to play a role in helping to create an opportunity for young cricket talent to come to the fore,” Uys concludes.
 
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