Like many cricket clubs in the province, Milnerton Cricket Club (MCC) has had a rollercoaster of a journey over the years.
From being promoted to the Western Province Cricket Association (WPCA) Premier League, and being relegated, to losing experienced players to other teams, and currently being at the top of the First Division 1A.
It takes lots of hard work behind the scenes to grow a team’s confidence, and team manager, Craig Phillips and his committee members have been at the forefront of Milnerton’s success over the past two decades.
“It has been a journey worth repeating and I am indebted to all my committee members, players, past and present that have made the journey so enjoyable,” he said.
Phillips became a coach in 2001 when he brought his son to join Milnerton Cricket Club.
“It all began back in the 2001/02 season when I took my son, aged 12, to join MCC. They heard of my cricket background which was unfortunately brought to a premature ending just after matriculating from Rondebosch Boys,” he said.
He was roped in as an under-13B coach and progressed through the ranks to second team. In 2007, he obtained his Cricket South Africa L2 certificate and took over as the first team coach.
After seven seasons of close league endings, Phillips and the team decided to bring in change to the coaching personnel.
“I continued to assist as assistant coach and then took the manager’s duty. The journey continues 17 years later, still enjoying life with the first team,” he said.
This season it looks likely that Milnerton will make its way back into the top league. They have had some proud moments over the years, but winning and being promoted were some of the highlights coach Phillips enjoys sharing.
“Highlight was being promoted to the Premier League and enjoying our first season playing the two-day league. The season after, the two-day league was abandoned and only one-days were played. We struggled to adapt to the one-day strategy and were relegated back to the First Division 1,” he said.
Over the past weekend, Milnerton won by 50 runs against Vikings Cricket Club. They set a score of 170/9 in 50 overs, before bowling out the Vikings for 120 in 44 overs.
This coming weekend, they will look to make the day difficult when they take on the students, UCT, away.
MCC sits in first position, with 71 points, six points ahead of second-placed Northern Goodwood Cricket Club (NGCC).
“We set goals for introducing youngsters to MCC, which we can clearly see paying off this current season. The blend of young with our experienced players is successful and hopefully the team will continue their success for the back five games,” said Phillips.