The Imperial Lions Women’s Team won 3 of their 5 matches at last week’s 2021/22 Women’s Top 6 League, finishing second in the Top 6 round robin competition.

Johannesburg – Imperial Lions Women’s Head Coach Shaun Pretorius took some time to reflect on the Women’s Top 6 League held in a BSE in Johannesburg from 23 – 28 October 2021.

  1. Your thoughts on last week’s Women’s League?

There’s no denying that 5 matches in 6 days was tough on the players. However, there was real character shown by all of our players to execute the game plan and to act accordingly.  The two games that we lost, we could easily have won – but that’s the nature of the game: We will have to learn to be more clinical in certain areas of our game.

  1. Talk to us about some of your top performing players and who stood out for you?

The bowlers stood out and carried the team. There was a tremendous effort by all in the field which contributed to pressure being built, resulting in our opponents then making the errors. Our top batter was Ayabonga Khaka – she really stood out and played the situation well with an average of 35. Other noteworthy performances were batters Sharne Mayers with average of 24,60 and Nonkululeko Thabethe with an average of 22,20. Tumi Sekhukhune made her debut for Imperial Lions on 24 October 2021 versus Northerns, having moved from North West last season. Our top wicket taker was Yolani Fourie with 10 wickets in 5 games and Ayabonga Khaka with 6 wickets was the most economical bowler for Imperial Lions. Tumi Sekhukhune, Jameelah Shaikjee, Lehlohonolo Sardick all took 7 wickets each.

In my opinion, the best wicket keeper of the BSE was our very own Palesa Mapoo who has shown tremendous potential thus far – the future does look bright for this youngster.

  1. What learnings did you have and what will you focus on in the upcoming weeks?

For the next 6 weeks we’ll focus largely on strength and conditioning and conclude that journey with a fitness screening to measure the improvements. We’ll also focus a lot on individual skill sessions in order to bridge the gaps and continuously improve.

  1. Your thoughts on the general / overall standard of play by all teams, taking into account the Covid layoff?

I thought that the quality of play was good from all teams within the BSE. It was great to measure the teams inclusive of their Momentum Protea players and thus at full strength. Taking into account the long layoff due to Covid19, the teams are trying to make the most of every game and you can see the hunger to perform is there with every game as you are not sure what tomorrow will bring.

  1. What’s next for your team?

Our 6-week strength and conditioning program will be key, as will focusing on individual skills. Our next Provincial game is in February 2022 however a lot of club matches will be played from 13 November 2021. Personally I will spend a lot of time with the u19 girls in preparation for the u19 girls national week in December 2021.  Our goal is always to remain in the top 6 and to be competitive in every game.

In closing, I would like to thank everyone who made this BSE such a great experience. To the Imperial Lions team: Thank you for all the effort and great character shown on and off the field during the BSE, you are an amazing team and all of the best for the rest of the season ahead.

@LionsCricket #ThePrideOfJozi #LionsCricket