Big Fish

Are the Dolphins Dying?


Written by (Big Fish)

Posted in :In the news on 20 Feb 2008 at 10:03

Sportswise, KwaZulu-Natal is Sharks country. Now, more than ever, most people in this region think the Dolphins are playful mammals that live in the sea.

EDITORS NOTE: Please don’t read this Rob – its about men with leathery balls!

Sharks are still stealing limelight in KZN

Patrick Compton

Sportswise, KwaZulu-Natal is Sharks country. Now, more than ever, most people in this region think the Dolphins are playful mammals that live in the sea.

People have seemingly given up watching the game for white-flannelled fools except for their children at school, Twenty20s or at an international level.

Provincial or franchise cricket is the obscure cousin to the rugby gods here, with the Dolphins so far attracting virtually non-existent crowds to their limited-overs matches, played under the banner of the MTN Domestic Championship.

Perhaps it’s the wrong time of year to be playing limited-overs cricket, now that the kids are back at school. Whatever the reason(s), it’s amazing how Cricket South Africa consistently comes up with statistics suggesting that cricket is the second most-watched sport in the country after soccer. Frankly, it’s not true.

“These have been the worst crowds I can recall in my career,” said one member of the Dolphins team on Tuesday.

The crisis was brought home to me last week when a senior Dolphin approached me so that he could organise a meeting with the local sports editors of Independent Newspapers.

He was concerned that in the middle of summer, the local headlines continue to be dominated by rugby.

“As professional cricketers, it’s not doing our visibility any good,” he said. He’s got a point. It’s interesting to note that only The Mercury provides regular coverage of provincial cricket.

Moreover, a paucity of advertising by the union, as well as an inadequate website (compare it to the Sharks website) doesn’t help.

Matters are not improved, of course, if the Dolphins or the provincial/amateur teams are not performing well. The senior franchise team is in the process of rebuilding, with the onus at present on trying to discover local talent.

It’s been a moderate year at a first-class level, although some new talent has come to light. Furthermore, the Dolphins still have a chance of qualifying for the semi-finals of the 45-over competition with the Twenty20 still to come.

The amateur teams, on the other hand, are having a shocker. Take the latest logs in the SAA Provincial Challenge, for example. The KZN Coastal team are lying fourth of seven in their pool in both the three-day and one-day competitions, while KZN Inland are floundering at the bottom of their pools in both competitions.

Inland have yet to win a match this season in both first-class and limited-overs cricket, and their batting has been so poor that only two half-centuries have been recorded. What is happening?

Pietermaritzburg is supposed to be the nursery of the province’s cricketing talent, providing many of the young players coming through.

Where is the talent, for example, from schools such as Maritzburg College, Hilton, Michaelhouse and St Charles, to name but four? Whatever the causes of the malaise, this is something that our cricket administrators should be concerned about.

It’s also worrying that both Inland and Coastal have been docked points for “the non-submission of match reports”.

These amateurish lapses may be forgivable for teams like Transkei, but certainly not one of the major cricket provinces in the country.

On Wednesday, the Dolphins host Zimbabwe in a MTN Domestic Championship match at Kingsmead.

It would be nice to say that we can anticipate a couple of thousand at the ground.

In reality, it would be a (pleasant) shock if we got more than a few hundred.

This article was originally published on page 27 of The Mercury on February 20, 2008

http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=6&click_id=192&art_id=vn20080220070812281C609034



40 Comments

  • Wednesday as in today?

  • Comment 1, posted at 20.02.08 10:16:02 by blackshark Reply
    blackshark - I'm back!Super Rugby player
     
  • What the hell is this?

  • Comment 2, posted at 20.02.08 10:17:35 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
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  • Look, its rugby-related – they actually mention the Sharks! :oops:

  • Comment 3, posted at 20.02.08 10:19:26 by Big Fish Reply
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    Big FishAssistant coach
     
  • fishsticks… can you hop on MSN quickly? Por favor

  • Comment 4, posted at 20.02.08 10:28:37 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
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  • Just Rugby. Just For Fun. And Cricket

  • Comment 5, posted at 20.02.08 10:28:57 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
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  • Just Rugby. Just For Fun. And Cricket

    20.02.08 10:28:57 – robdylan

    Why not? Just for fun! :grin:

  • Comment 6, posted at 20.02.08 10:41:34 by Me2 Reply

    Me2 aka Mama SharkCurrie Cup player
     
  • rob – Just Rugby. Just for fun. Just killing cricket.

    I haven’t been to a Dolphins game in a long time so I’m actually feeling bad right now.

    Hey Me2.

  • Comment 7, posted at 20.02.08 10:44:11 by blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!Super Rugby player
     
  • I’m just teasing, folks… really, we can discuss any (reasonably light-hearted) topic you want to here.

  • Comment 8, posted at 20.02.08 10:47:55 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
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  • Sarel Erwee, thats the name of an erstwhile Natal centre that tackled the daylights out of opponents, its also the name of a chap (his son maybe) that matriculated from St Charles last year, well this youngster consistantly topped South African schools batting averages for well over a year, he was also placed in the top few bowlers, fielders, and super strikers in the country last year. He is obviously hugely talented but whre is he now? The last I heard was that despite his consistancy over the last 2 years he didnt make the SA schools side.

    RobDylan please note how rugby was pivotal to this post.

  • Comment 9, posted at 20.02.08 10:49:07 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the SubtleAssistant coach
     
  • Exactly blackshark – when I was a kid we used to attend lots of games. Domestic cricket was lively and very well-supported.

    However, KZN cricket has been in a decline for a while now, and methinks the admin could be the problem.

    Looking at other teams, they all have some exciting talent, but the Dolphins havent produced anyone of note since the halcyon days of Klusener, Pollock, Rhodes etc.

  • Comment 10, posted at 20.02.08 10:49:57 by Big Fish Reply
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    Big FishAssistant coach
     
  • I also dont think that this is a purely KZN problem – the other day they Showed the Cobras playing at Newlands and there was also an empty ground – Newlands has always packed them in for domestic limited over games.

    I think that the advent of 20/20 cricket has unfortunately done to limited overs cricket what limited overs cricket did to the 3/4 day game – make it irrelevant as a spectator sport. Today England and New zealand tied a game, the scores were 340 apiece in 50 overs – that must have been one good game to watch.

  • Comment 11, posted at 20.02.08 10:57:30 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
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  • cricket players have small balls :)

  • Comment 12, posted at 20.02.08 10:58:03 by robdylan Reply
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  • i don’t feel bad. it is a dull and boring sport, better watched half heartedly while doing house work and spring cleaning before super 14 starts. the joke dolphins management also lost favour amongst spectators. i used to watch the game but in the last few years the joke that is the national team, and the slowness of it put it on a par with that other dreary sport, football. just like football i cannot warrant wasting 90 minutes waiting for 1 to 2 goals in cricket you wait 40 overs to get to the exciting part (and in test cricket you are lucky if there is an exciting part). that is why i got irritated when the sharks played soccer/tennis on friday.

  • Comment 13, posted at 20.02.08 11:00:54 by try time Reply

    Super Rugby player
     
  • Nah, its isnt only a KZN thing, but i do think the drop in our spectatorship is perhaps more dramatic than many.

    In any event, part of my gripe is in the lack of quality amongst the Dolphins. Old man Doug Watson will retire soon, and he is probably our most consistent batsmen bar Hashim Amla.

    Young Imraan Khan promised much as a teenager, but hasn’t really lived up to expectation. There is nobody else that I have seen who looks really world-class, while the Cobras have tons of exciting players.

  • Comment 14, posted at 20.02.08 11:02:21 by Big Fish Reply
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    Big FishAssistant coach
     
  • it is a result of an a.d.d soceity.

  • Comment 15, posted at 20.02.08 11:04:02 by try time Reply

    Super Rugby player
     
  • :lol: :lol: :lol:
    TT- you really don’t like cricket and football huh?

    Cricket is a good sport…but there is some missing link with how the domestic league is run. Methinks the CRICKET board should get some tips from the people who run rugby. We pack the stadium when the Proteas play at Kingsmead…why can’t we get at least half or even a third coming back to watch the Dolphins?

  • Comment 16, posted at 20.02.08 11:07:04 by blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!Super Rugby player
     
  • why can’t we get at least half or even a third coming back to watch the Dolphins?
    20.02.08 11:07:04 – blackshark

    Cos they are boring to watch. :sad:

  • Comment 17, posted at 20.02.08 11:09:05 by Big Fish Reply
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    Big FishAssistant coach
     
  • Newlands is empty because noone even knows when the Cobras are playing, not a poster on a lamppost,radio ad nothing.

  • Comment 18, posted at 20.02.08 11:18:12 by provincejoulekkading Reply
    Administrator
    Clayton(PJLD)Team captain
     
  • province…you’re right…the advertising is pathetic…

    The other day I was watching news and I saw that the Dolphins had won a game that Sunday. I had spent the whole day doing nothing at Sundeck…if I’d known I would’ve done my nothing at the game.

    Fish- I really don’t know what the problem is…where are the good players?

    All the comp’s are sponsored by good sponsors…where’s the marketing?

  • Comment 19, posted at 20.02.08 11:25:20 by blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!Super Rugby player
     
  • i was in bloem a couple of weekends ago and drove passed the cricket stadium and i saw a couple of cars and mtn jumping castles. i only knew there was a game when i got back to the b&B and the game was on tv.

  • Comment 20, posted at 20.02.08 11:26:04 by try time Reply

    Super Rugby player
     
  • i think mtn have missed the boat when it comes to sponsorship
    why don’t they sponsor a rugby team. simple it is a sign of the hidden agreements the cellphone providers have. also the relationship between vodacom and supersport.

  • Comment 21, posted at 20.02.08 11:30:02 by try time Reply

    Super Rugby player
     
  • b-s – it really makes me sad, for sentimental reasons more than anything.

    Obviously domestic cricket was massive back in the day when there was no international cricket, but surely that doesnt explain such a huge drop?

    Before Natal fans could watch Peter Rawson, Malcolm Marshall, Lance, Shaun, Jonty, Symcox, etc etc – guys who could really set a game alight.

    Now we have nobody like that.

    Something is surely wrong at school level.

  • Comment 22, posted at 20.02.08 11:35:27 by Big Fish Reply
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    Big FishAssistant coach
     
  • True BF ,there were players you just had to go and see.

    Big Mac, Brett Vet Shultz and the likes(ok this is way back but you get my point)guys,Gary Kirsten i could go on and on.A domestic day/nighter was just as good as a international with the same vibe.

  • Comment 23, posted at 20.02.08 11:41:27 by provincejoulekkading Reply
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  • While Im ranting about cricket – the four day provincial game is known as and is sponsored by Supersport whose job is sports broadcasting but who I dont think have televised a single game this season. Now if a sponsor doesnt have faith in the product that they areendorsing then there are surely big problems in the sport.

  • Comment 24, posted at 20.02.08 11:48:41 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the SubtleAssistant coach
     
  • To illustrate how bad our schoolcricket is – The SA schools side recently played a triangular tournament against India and Bangladesh in Pretoria. Played 4, lost 3 and 1 game rained out – played in Pretoria and not on the sub – continent.

  • Comment 25, posted at 20.02.08 12:02:00 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the SubtleAssistant coach
     
  • Hi blackshark…wondered if it was u?? :lol:

    Big Fish – I am asuming that you are about my son’s age…in those days the whole family could go to Kingsmwad…take picnic, braai, what ever and have a lovely day/evening out and it did not cost an arm & a leg…remember how u played mini cricket at lunch/dinner break?? AND THEN along came the holigaans who could not hold their alcahol… and the rest is history! :lol:

  • Comment 26, posted at 20.02.08 12:14:56 by Me2 Reply

    Me2 aka Mama SharkCurrie Cup player
     
  • :oops: I’m NOT going to apologise for my bad typing…I think it is good for only 2 fingers :wink:

  • Comment 27, posted at 20.02.08 12:16:35 by Me2 Reply

    Me2 aka Mama SharkCurrie Cup player
     
  • Hey Me2 – so this is where you all are!

  • Comment 28, posted at 20.02.08 12:18:38 by Nessa Reply

    NessaCurrie Cup player
     
  • PJLD, spot on.

    There just arent many guys out of the national team worth watching.

    Very few of the batsmen actually dominate the bowlers, while the bowlers are usually not big spinners or seldom get anywhere close to 140km/h.

  • Comment 29, posted at 20.02.08 12:19:22 by Big Fish Reply
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    Big FishAssistant coach
     
  • 20.02.08 12:14:56 – Me2

    I think you got it spot on with regard to the age thing.

    Cricket was a social event, not to mention the lovely spook-asem, candy-corn, “monkey-nuts”, hamburgerr, ice-lollys etc… Happy times.

    I used to love the mini-cricket during the break – was almost the highlight.

    You make a very valid (and nostalgic) point.

  • Comment 30, posted at 20.02.08 12:22:48 by Big Fish Reply
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    Big FishAssistant coach
     
  • Nessa – just skipping around – I’m waiting for a meeting!!

  • Comment 31, posted at 20.02.08 12:25:44 by Me2 Reply

    Me2 aka Mama SharkCurrie Cup player
     
  • Another thing all the provinces did back in the day was to give out a shyteload of tickets to different schools, at any game at Newlands or whichever other ground you would see a few hundred school kids at the game.

    If you played for your school,chances are you would be able to check out a few games a season.Dont see that happening anymore.

  • Comment 32, posted at 20.02.08 12:28:00 by provincejoulekkading Reply
    Administrator
    Clayton(PJLD)Team captain
     
  • Me2 – I have to run to the bank in my lunch hour. Hate that, it is always so full. So used to doing Internet banking these days – but when you have a cheque to deposit – you have to go to the bank.

  • Comment 33, posted at 20.02.08 12:37:52 by Nessa Reply

    NessaCurrie Cup player
     
  • pjld is never happy unless the only thing he pays for is his women. :twisted:

  • Comment 34, posted at 20.02.08 12:39:36 by Big Fish Reply
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    Big FishAssistant coach
     
  • And remember how we all had to run and “inspect” the pitch from behind the ropes before we played our cricket on that exquisitely soft cut outfield grass – the wonderful smell of summer, magic,magic days those were.

  • Comment 35, posted at 20.02.08 12:48:42 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the SubtleAssistant coach
     
  • Freebies make the world a better place Fish.
    But i doubt im going to make any u/13 teams

  • Comment 36, posted at 20.02.08 12:51:47 by provincejoulekkading Reply
    Administrator
    Clayton(PJLD)Team captain
     
  • Oh – can’t say enough about the hooligans…but at least now they do have “family zones”…so the kids can be away from the secondary smoke and “bad language”. :grin:

    I just wish I was as passionate about the Dolphins as I am about the Sharks.

    Oh Dolphins…make me love you!

  • Comment 37, posted at 20.02.08 14:01:15 by blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!Super Rugby player
     
  • thing is that the Dolphins season was severely disrupted by the ICL debacle…they lost key veterans Dale Benkenstein, Lance Klusener & Andrew Hall at the start of the season – all pretty suddenly.

    These guys were essential for nurturing the young guys in the team.

    Add the misinvestment in Liam Plunkett for a few games at the expense of someone like Saidi Mhlongo… & let’s face it, the Provincial games (Inland & Coastal) are t amateur level – so perhaps its the domestic cricket infrastucture that needs re-examining.

    The sad thing is that the Natal schools produce the players – look at young David Miller (Maritzburg College) & Jonathan Vandiar (DHS) who have both played a number of times for the Dolphins this season. Both are only 17/18 years old & in matric! Whether we can retain them is another matter – let’s face it, sport in Natal universities is not quite as important as in previous years & ever-declining. Those sports that are gaining popularity tend to be the likes of basketball etc.

  • Comment 38, posted at 20.02.08 16:49:17 by Le Requinny Reply
    Author
    QuinnysharkCurrie Cup player
     
  • Quinny,

    WeePee have long had that problem as they supply the entire top half of the Protea batting order.

    Kallis hasnt played a domestic game in almost three years.

  • Comment 39, posted at 20.02.08 17:33:37 by VinChainSaw Reply
    Author
    VinChainSawTeam captain
     
  • Ja but Vinnie, you have UCT & Maties feeding the Cobras with up & coming guys. There is enough infrasturcture to ensure that Cobras will actually be compertitive, Protea-less or not. Believe it or not, I think that the guys at Newlands have actually semi got their fingers out as compared to the okes in Durban.

    To be a nitpicker, Cobras plan around their Proteas guys being unavailable – I mean on average how many times have they played for WP over the past 5 seasons….in fact I would almost go as far as saying you can’t really include them in provincial discussions.

  • Comment 40, posted at 20.02.08 18:12:33 by Le Requinny Reply
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    QuinnysharkCurrie Cup player
     

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