In early October 2021, the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) recent young recruit, Liam Alder, lived his childhood dream as he played his first Under19 cricket match in the 2021/22 Cricket South Africa (CSA) Provincial T20 Knockout competition. The action-packed encounter took place in the city of roses, Bloemfontein, between 8 and 10 October.
“It was a good experience, I learned a lot in the competition. It was also great to compete at a level that is expected in the Under-19 World Cup,” says Alder.
Alder is part of the recruitment strategy formed by the UJ Cricket Club. Through the programme, Grade 10 learners from various schools are recruited to join the UJ team. At UJ, they are mentored so that they are able to mature into competitive cricketers.
“The UJ Cricket Club picks the best possible players. We need to be sustainable. The recruitment programme of the Grade 10 learners is a good starting point. We are thinking and planning long-term goals because these guys [newly recruited players] will be with UJ Cricket for over four years. We have recently embarked on an aggressive recruitment drive,” explains Mr Siyabonga Sibiya, UJ Cricket Manager and Men’s senior team Head Coach.
Alder, who is now in grade 11 at the King Edward Vii School, started playing for UJ Cricket in this year. He played two games so far after debuting against the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) where he was selected Man of the Match.
“My experience has been great so far on the games that I have played. The vibe and the brotherhood have been good between me and the other players,” adds Alder.
Alde, who grew up in Meyerton, in the Vaal has been playing cricket since he was 7 years old, is motivated by wanting to learn more and thank the people who have been supporting his cricket journey.
“He is cool, calm and collected for a boy his age. He managed to get the Orange Army over the line, and we will give him all the support he needs,” says Coach Sibiya.
His future plans include playing for the Proteas and get an Indian Premier League (IPL) contract.