Western Province bowler Siyabulela Plaaitjie set aside his disappointment at not making the SA 19 team for the ICC U19 World Cup by playing a match-winning role in Western Province’s first win against Gauteng since Potchefstroom in 2012.
When he wasn’t picked he was disappointed and looked for guidance from his mentor at Western Province Cricket, Graham October.
Graham told him that he had two options, the first was to feel sorry for himself and to curl up in bed and cry and the second was to go to the Khaya Majola Week and play the best cricket he can play.
Graham left the decision to Siya because it’s one of his policies to let the boys in his care make their own decisions.
“Graham is like a father figure to me and he always directs me in the right direction, being left out of the world cup side is a real disappointment. He explained my options and I chose to focus on my game and to make sure that I do well and, hopefully, make the SA Schools team,’ said Siya.
His earlier performances at the Khaya Majola Week had not been up to his high standards until he faced Gauteng in the traditional clash of the titans at the tournament.
Western Province had not beaten Gauteng at the Khaya Majola Week since the ‘main game’ of 2012. Since then they have lost five finals against Gauteng and it was looking as if they were going to lose again at Michaelhouse on Thursday, until Siya bowled an inspired spell that broke the back of the Gauteng run chase.
Siya has always been a fighter, he comes from a very poor single-parent family in Langa, Cape Town, where his mother tries her very best to give him the opportunities that most boys in that area are not able to get.
Through his cricketing ability, Siya created his own opportunities and was spotted at an early age by Western Province Cricket. He has had many mentors at the union including the current Gauteng coach Siyabonga Sibiya who, even though his team lost to Western Province, was one of the first people to congratulate him for his brilliant effort. He was clearly emotional because he knew what Siya had been through to get this far in life.
Graham October was the most emotional. He ran up to embrace the boy that he knows so well and brought tears to the eyes of many of the spectators on the field.
‘Coach Graham helps me out emotionally, financially and with my cricket. It is awesome to have someone like him in my life, along with the other mentors at Western Province cricket who help me,’ said Siya.
Siya is at Wynberg Boys’ High on a bursary, supported by the Western Province Cricket Union and he is part of a truly South African Western Province team in which privileged kids from schools like Bishops can play as equals with a boy like himself, from Langa and they can be friends.
it’s a story that Khaya Majola would have loved playing. A testament to his vision for the tournament that has been named after him.
The Kaya Majola Cricket week ends today with a gala dinner where the Under-19 and Under-19 Colts teams will be announced and they will play in the final match at Newlands tomorrow, Saturday, 21st December.
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