Salieg Nackerdien would have been experienced inner turmoil and heartache as they played an explosive brand of cricket, only to be pipped at the posts by Northerns, who won consecutive clashes against Free State and Northern Cape to reach the finals.
Western Province simply could not find a way past the KwaZulu-Natal Inland duo of Gareth Dukes and Kurtlyn Mannikam who scored 62 and 60 in the first innings of the deciding match to hold up the procession.
But there were enormous positives in Western Province’s stellar season.
Pieter Malan smashed 1069 runs in nine matches at an average of 59.68.
What makes this so phenomenal is that Malan struck those runs despite a labral tear in the shoulder that affected his movement and front-foot drives the whole season.
“I think some of the keys to my performances have been that I took time to entrench myself at the crease. Once settled, I made sure I capitalize on sound starts.
“Throughout the years, I have actually cut out high-risk shots that lead to my demise, and because of that labral tear, I did not play far in front of myself outside the off-stump. I let the bowlers come to me,” Malan said.
When probed about why Western Province could not reach the play-offs, Malan said Northerns deserve credit for almost a full house of points in their final three games against Namibia, Free State and Northern Cape.
“We had a break between two games, so unfortunately, unlike Northerns, who played three successive games, we did not enjoy the same amount of continuity.
“But to be fair, we battled occasionally to dismiss teams twice.
“Salieg Nackerdien took over in tough circumstances and did a splendid job with the team,” Malan said.
He was full of praise for the performance by Kyle Verreynne, who averaged 57.50 in the Sunfoil Three-Day Cup and smashed 690 runs.
“I think he is the type of cricketer who can play franchise cricket. He is a young cricketer without any thrills. He is an old-school cricketer who keeps things very simple and works so hard at his game,” Malan said.
Malan saluted the performance by the fast bowler Mthiwekhaya Nabe.
“He is a bowler with a very strong action and when his rhythm is good, he moves it around by nipping it off the seam.
“It is not necessarily a perfectly orthodox action, but it is one that he can easily repeat, and if nurtured and coached well, this is a bowler who can go places.
“Some bowlers got injured after a game or two, but not Nabe. In the final game against KwaZulu-Natal Inland he captured 4-48 and performed admirably,” said Malan.
A number of Western Province players have stepped up the past seasons. Dayyaan Galiem and Zubayr Hamza have already made their franchise debuts, while Jason Smith struck his first franchise century off only 88 balls and nipped out 20 franchise wickets with excellent support bowling.
The 18-year old swing bowler Michael Cohen finished with a match-haul of 6-49 in his maiden first-class game, and was unfortunately injured in the final first-class game against KwaZulu-Natal Inland.
If Western Province can advance a tad in the bowling department, there is no need to believe that they cannot reach a final and win it in the 2017/2018-season.
They would have been downcast after not reaching the final, but that doesn’t mean Province should dwell on their misfortunes indefinitely. They boast the talent and class to turn heartache into triumph in the 2017/2018-competition.