Lions and Titans gear up for derby

Sunfoil Series

Geoffrey Toyana believes his Highveld Lions team is building good momentum and hopes they can capitalise on that positivity when they take on the Titans in their Sunfoil Series clash at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg starting on Monday.


The round five derby will conclude the first half of the four-day season before the focus shifts to white-ball cricket.


The hosts head into the game in fourth and the visitors first, although just like the other four teams in the competition, they have drawn every game so far.


“Plenty to play for going into this final set of games before the break,” coach Toyana said. “I feel we’ve been getting better with each game.


“We started slowly in the first two, but we’ve been good in the next two and the only thing missing is that win.


“A big one this week against the Titans, it’s the derby. So it should be interesting. We played them a few weeks back at Centurion and now we have them at home, so we’re looking forward to it.”


The Lions enjoyed a strong outing against the Knights this past week and were only denied by a fighting final day performance by the defending champions in Potchefstroom.


But Toyana insisted that performance was in the past any they needed to now move forward.


“I’m quite happy this week that we were the team that made the plays,” he added. “We were on the front foot throughout, but that’s in the past and we need to move on.”


The Titans too endured a frustrating past week after they were denied by the Dolphins on the final day – a match in which they enforced the follow-on.


“I must be honest, I am a little bit frustrated at the moment because we’ve been on the winning end of a draw four times in a row now,” their coach Mark Boucher said. “Each time we’ve given ourselves a chance to win, so not to get over the line has been disappointing.”


Boucher’s men lead the standings by just under five points from the Knights, while less than 10 points separate them from the bottom-placed Dolphins.


“We still top of the table and we’ve pulled away from the Knights a bit,” Boucher added. “We still feel if we can keep doing things the way we are at the moment, then we’re due for a bigger reward in the near future.”


Looking ahead to the clash with the Lions, he said: “Everyone’s in with a chance at this stage. This is a short turnaround this week and our focus has to change quickly to the Wanderers.


“The Lions are a dangerous side, we have a lot of respect for them and they also coming off a winning draw. It’s the derby as well and we’re looking forward to it. There’s no doubt we’ll be gunning for a win, which I’m sure everyone else will be aiming for as well.”