CAPE TOWN. – Robin Peterson and Justin Kemp, two names intimately associated with a golden period in the rich history of the Cape Cobras, will leave the franchise at the end of the season. Kemp will retire from first-class cricket at the end of the 2015/2016-season after a splendid career in which he featured in four tests and 85 One Day Internationals for South Africa.
He was a major factor in assisting the Cobras to lift ten trophies in the past eight seasons as belligerent middle-order batsman, dependable and probing medium-pacer and one of the best poachers of a cricket ball ever produced by Western Province and the Cobras. In 58 domestic one-day cup matches, he struck 1246 runs at an average of 31.94, while capturing 38 wickets. He also assembled 1691 four-day runs and captured 83 wickets at an average of 27.45.
As a slip-fielder, his name is mentioned in the same breath as Brian McMillan and Neil Johnson as three of the finest who ever played the game under the Oaks. He was a devastating finisher in one-day cricket. Kemp’s 89-ball unbeaten century against India at PPC Newlands for South Africa in 2006 is still fondly remembered.Peterson, in the twilight of his first-class career at age 36, will leave PPC Newlands at the end of the season to ply his trade for a season with the VKB Knights.
In his only Sunfoil Series-match this season for the Cape Cobras before he was replaced by the returning national off-spinner Dane Piedt, Peterson captured 9-150 against the bizhub Highveld Lions at Boland Park in Paarl. It included a magnificent 5-62 in the first innings.
Peterson, like Kemp, was a match-winner with bat and ball for the Cape Cobras after joining them.
He took 18 wickets in the 2014/2015-season in Momentum One Day Cup-cricket at an average of 19.38. He comfortably topped the list of leading domestic bowlers.
Robbie P, as he is affectionately known amongst colleagues and fans, also starred for the Cape Cobras when they won the Ram Slam T20 Challenge in 2014/2015. A left-arm spinner who represented South Africa in 15 tests and 79 One Day Internationals, Peterson is a three-in-one-star. He averages 25.33 with the bat in first-class cricket and has captured 389 wickets in 139 matches.
His change of pace, ability to bowl the Doosra and prowess in the field, where he can throw off both wings, make him an asset to any team. “Robbie P was one of our finest players amongst a galaxy of international stars the past seven years. He performed several admirable feats for us.
“The emergence of Dane and the constant evolution of GF Linde make Robin’s decision to join the Knights understandable and he leaves the franchise with our blessing and best wishes,” said Nabeal Dien, chief executive officer of the Cape Cobras and the Western Province Cricket Association (WPCA).
“Justin was one of our king-pins in the middle-order with the bat. As fourth seam bowler, he grabbed wickets or generated so much pressure with his economic and probing bowling that benefited his colleagues. As a fielder, he set unprecedented standards for other members of his team.
“Robin and Justin were not just stalwarts. They were leaders who impacted younger players markedly. Both will leave a legacy at Newlands for many years to come,” Dien added. Beresford Williams, president of the WPCA, saluted Kemp and Peterson as outstanding cricketers who were superb at what they did over many years. He said their resilience and strong leadership made a real difference to the Cobras team on and off the field.
Three other players who will not join the Cape Cobras’ professionally contracted ranks next season, are Shaheen Khan, Mthokozisi Shezi and SA Engelbrecht. Engelbrecht constantly had to compete against senior South African players in a strong Cape Cobras line-up, but was particularly effective in the 2013/2014-season and 2014/2015-season in the Ram Slam T20-Challenge. He slammed 56 in the final in February 2014.
In the 2014/2015-season, he managed eight wickets with a best of 4-22 against the Warriors to set up a home-final for the Newlands-franchise. Engelbrecht was in scintillating form with the blade at the back-end of this season’s Sunfoil Three-Day Cup, hammering 529 runs at an average of 58.77. His unbeaten 162 against KwaZulu-Natal set up a 10-wicket win at the Wally Wilson Oval as Province marched to the final in fine style.
As a fielder, Engelbrecht has conjured up comparisons with Jonty Rhodes, while he has improved his art as off-spinner gradually the past two seasons. Khan, a medium-paced seam- and swing bowler and reliable lower-order batsman, had to overcome a stress fracture in his back to return to the first-class fold this season. He has taken 101 wickets in 36 first-class games with a career-best 7-46 his most notable achievement.
Shezi will return to his KwaZulu-Natal roots next season where he has been on loan for half of this season.
Arguably his greatest moment for the Cape Cobras came in their magnificent win against The Unlimited Titans at Boland Park in Paarl last season when he captured 6-51 in their four-day clash.
In the Ram Slam T20 Challenge in 2014/2015, Shezi finished with eight wickets, including a best of 3-23 as the Cobras walked away with the cup-spoils.
“We always have mixed feelings when losing players of the quality of SA, Shaheen and Mthokozisi. We wish to thank them for their great service to our franchise and province, and wish them well with future endeavours,” Dien explained.
“We are grateful that SA has indicated that he still wants to be involved with the semi-professional team as he pursues a future professional contract with the Cape Cobras again. “Mthokozisi is a fine player, yet we have an abundance of fast- and medium-fast bowlers, and we feel confident that his return to KwaZulu-Natal will spread the availability of top-class bowlers who constantly are utilized in domestic cricket,” Dien said.
Angelo Carolissen, chairman of Western Cape Cricket, said players are the major stakeholders in franchise-cricket. “It is their regular match-winning performances which fill the trophy-cabinets…and the stadiums. Therefore we just want to salute the contributions of five departing heroes, Kempie, Robbie P, SA, Mthokozisi and Shaheen, whose feats have made the Cape Cobras a domestic powerhouse.”