After two years of heartache it is the Pukke boys’ turn to lift the elusive Varsity Cricket trophy, after the defeated Tuks by four wickets on Saturday evening at Senwes Park.
Captain of the NWU-Pukke, Wihan Lubbe, smiled from ear to ear as his team celebrated a famous victory on their home soil.
UP-Tuks won the toss and elected to bat first with the intention to put pressure on NWU-Pukke.
NWU-Pukke got the early breakthrough in the third over when captain Wihan Lubbe took a superb catch to dismiss Donavon Ferreira for five, leaving Tuks on 11/1 after 2.1 overs.
The NWU-Pukke bowlers kept it tight in the first six overs of the mandatory power play as UP-Tuks only managed 38/1.
A Janneman Malan bullet throw ensured the second wicket for NWU-Pukke, as Tony De Zorzi was sent back to the changing room adding just one to the scoreboard. A quick dismissal left UP-Tuks 43/3 as Ruan Haasbroek caught and bowled Pillay for 24, and NWU-Pukke were in the driving seat early on.
Up-Tuks were struggling for boundaries as wickets dried up the runs, leaving them 59/3 after 10 overs.
Haasbroek was in the action once again, but this time on the boundary rope with a catch to remove Migael Pretorius for 12. A few seconds later Lubbe struck when he got the big wicket of UP-Tuks’ Kaber (12) which left the visitors at 68/5 after 12.1 overs.
It was six of the best when Lubbe had Blake Schraader out LBW for a duck. The safe hands of Malan kept NWU-Pukke in control, handing Lubbe his third wicket of the match. He was 74/7 and UP-Tuks needed their tail-enders to show some fight.
Quick stumping by wicketkeeper Edrich Lubbe secured the eighth wicket as Dylan Matthews joined the bowling party. Brilliant bowling in the Powerplay Plus over by JP le Roux gave NWU-Pukke the momentum to restrict UP-Tuks to a score of 116/8.
Pukke stepped in to chase 117 for victory, but UP-Tuks claimed a crucial wicket of Janneman Malan (4) to give them a bit of hope against the stiff challenge. It was Schraader who then had the main man from NWU-Pukke, Wihan Lubbe (19) as he departed from the field disappointed to leave his side on 35/2 after 5.6 overs.
The dismissal of Shane Dadswell (8) and Marques Ackerman (29) put the crowd on edge as NWU-Pukke needed 34 from 40 balls to win. Pressure got the better of NWU-Pukke, with two unnecessary wickets of Ruan Haasbroek (10) and Lesego Senokwane (0) as the home side need 29 runs to win of six overs.
Edrich Lubbe (20*) and Jovaun van Wyngaardt (12*) ended the match for NWU-Pukke as they claimed victory over UP-Tuks by four wickets with seven balls to spare in a nervy finish.
Pukke became the first team to defeat Tuks in a final and lift the Varsity Cricket trophy. Their victory also means that they will represent South Africa at the Red Bull Campus Cricket World Championships in Sri Lanka later this year.
Steers Best Batsman of the Match: Marques Ackerman (NWU-Pukke)
FNB Best Bowler of the Match: Wihan Lubbe (NWU-Pukke)
Samsung Player of the Match: Wihan Lubbe (NWU-Pukke)