SPAR Homegrown Hero November 2017 – Colin Ackermann

Warriors top-order batsman Colin Ackermann made an immediate impact on the four-day Sunfoil series after missing the first two rounds of competition due to County commitments in the UK. He proceeded to amass 356 runs through the course of five innings in three matches to sit in 7th place on the batting standings at the half way stage of the competition. The second five rounds of the Sunfoil series will be contested in the latter half of the season as the focus now shifts to the one-day and T20 competitions.

Colin Ackermann – Image by Neil Bisseker

Colin takes serious form into the shorter formats on the back of some sublime batting in the four-day competition. His 356 runs included a knock of 106 in the second innings against the Cape Cobras at Newlands and a week later he made a career-best 187 not out in a knock that spanned over three days in the weather-affected draw against the Knights in Kimberley. That innings came off 303 deliveries and included 23 boundaries and three sixes. It was also very good for his average which now sits at a healthy 89 with a strike rate of 58.84. Just for good measure, Colin followed through on his heroics against the Knights with an important 54 in the 2nd innings against the Titans at Willowmoore Park in Benoni in securing a draw against the current log-leaders – remarkably the only team to have won a match out of 15 matches so far in the Sunfoil Series.

Colin’s 106 against the Cape Cobras was a pressure-packed one in the context of the game and probably one of the most important to date in his career. The Warriors made 347 in their first innings to which the Cobras replied with a massive 530/8 declared. The heat was on the Warriors to save the match on the final day and Colin and fellow centurion Eddie Moore (October homegrown hero) duly obliged with a 214 run 2nd wicket partnership to bat the Warriors to safety. The Warriors are right in the mix in third place on the table behind the Titans and the Knights.  For his back to back hundreds in South Africa’s premier four-day competition, Sport Elizabeth is proud to honour Colin Ackermann as our homegrown hero for November.

Great going Colin, must be good being home and making runs?

Well we were certainly behind the 8-ball in Cape Town where myself and Eddie y set about batting throughout that final day – which is pretty much what we did. To carry on against the Knights in Kimberley the next week was fantastic. You always want to set up a game by scoring big hundreds and then leave it up to the bowlers to take 20 wickets.

And especially pleasing to make a new career-best with that 187 not out in Kimberley?

Very much so. My previous best was 150 against the Titans in Benoni in the last game of last season. This knock against the Knights was definitely a landmark and a sign that I continue to take my game forward. I’ve now got 13 1st class tons to my name which is very satisfying.

Tell us about your recent first experience of County Cricket with Leicester?

It was very interesting and the games keep coming at you – not like here in South Africa where there is a bit of time between matches. Everything is so different over there, just the way they go about things, and I definitely learnt a lot. It was great to get a new perspective playing County Cricket and I feel you can only become a better cricketer for the experience. We didn’t win a game in the 4-day stuff but in the T20’s we lost to Colin Ingram’s Glamorgan outfit in the quarter-finals which was heartbreaking. I enjoyed the big crowds we played to – the game against Nottingham at Trent Bridge was a group game and we had 17000 people watching which was fantastic.

Talking of which, its T20 Challenge time now domestically here at home?

Playing against the Knights in the first game under the new lights here at St Georges Park is going to be interesting. We made the final last season so the Warriors are definitely looking to continue our success in that format.

Your preference – longer stuff or the shorter formats?

I enjoy all the formats to be honest. Your skill levels are challenged going from four-day to limited overs cricket. To become a completely rounded player I believe you need to be able to perform in all three formats. I bowl quite a lot of off-spin in the shorter format, especially in PE and East London where the ball turns a bit. At the age of 26 I now like to consider myself as a proper all-rounder.

Exciting times looming in your personal life Colin?

Yes, I am marrying my fiancé Robyn Monks out Theescombe way in March next year. We’ve just settled on the menu so its all taking shape now. Its difficult to find a gap in the cricket season to get married but we’ve managed to do that and its all very exciting and really looking forward to this new chapter in our lives.

Cricket also harks back to your school days Colin?

My folks live down in George and I was a border here at Grey High School where I played both cricket and hockey. After school I went to the EP Cricket Academy and spent a lot of time overseas in the off-season which I believe also really helped me grow both as a person and as a cricketer. There’s an expectation on you to perform and deliver as an overseas player and this last season with Leicester really taught me how to switch on and off as a cricketer. Cricket is obviously your job but you have to find time away from the game too which is crucial.

And playing for the Warriors 2km down the road from where it all started at Grey must be quite surreal at times?

Its definitely a big honour for me. I remember on a Wednesday night coming down to St Georges in my blue Grey tracksuit with the other borders to watch T20 cricket and here I am today in the side. I’ve got fond memories of those years and always wanting to play for the Warriors so in a way I’m living my dream.

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