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Cricket@Skukuza 2008

26 February 2008

The beautiful Kruger landscape is home to an amazing array of fauna, flora, and, on occasion, cricketers! The cricket oval near Skukuza is a hidden gem, carefully maintained in amidst the Kruger bushveld. The players? An assorted bunch of Scientists, Rangers, Field Guides and community members from Skukuza, the Northern Region and the SANParks online forum, who will be playing cricket to raise funds for SANParks!

Skukuza, The Northern Region (Golden Gate Highlands, Marakele and Mapungubwe National Parks) and the SANParks Forum have put together cricket teams to play against each other at Skukuza on the 15 of March 2008. The cricket field in the Skukuza Staff Village has hosted some interesting games over the years and annually hosts a Cricket Clinic for all the local schools.

Last year, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park put together a cricket team and challenged the Skukuza cricket team to a match on the SANParks public forum. One thing led to another and it wasn't long before the SANParks forum members were putting together their own team and this annual tournament was born. The Angels (forum women’s team) are eager to repeat the lesson they taught the Musketeers (forum men’s team) in last year’s match, when they won an overwhelming victory!

The more serious match will be the one between the Musketeers and the Skukuza men’s team. Last year, Skukuza took home the floating trophy (kindly donated by forum member *Muhammad) after an entertaining match that saw both new and older talent from both teams fighting at the fore.

A new regional team enters the fray this year, the Northern Devils (a women’s team made up of players from the Northern Region), who will take on the Angels. Full details of the programme will be made available a week prior to the match, with matches to start at 08h00.

A reliable source informs us that the hippo will conduct the usual pitch inspection, and that the resident cheerleaders are almost guaranteed to be on the sidelines once again.

The SANParks online community has over has 11 000 registered members, a number of whom have been involved in various events and activities revolving around SANParks, from 'forum meets' all over the world to fundraising adventures and various other projects online.

This annual cricket tournament is a way to bring members together to celebrate this unique community and its relationship to SANParks, as well as to raise money for and awareness about important projects in KNP. Money will be raised by way of donations via the SANParks website in support of the SANParks Cybertracker Project.

The weekend is SANParks largest gathering of forum members, some of whom are travelling from as far as Holland and Canada to attend, and many of who have never met each other in the 'real world'.

The cricket event will also involve a demonstration of CyberTracker equipment, activities for children, a contribution by the Honorary Rangers, a silent auction and a stand to raise funds for Skukuza Primary School. Refreshments will be available.

The day is open to the public, who will be able to enjoy some sport and learn more about the forum and SANParks. "We encourage everyone in the area to come along and support the teams" says E-commerce manager, Nedret Saidova, "and there is still time to book accommodation for the weekend online".

For those who will be in Skukuza for the weekend, in addition to the cricket, the forum community has organised an informal golf day on Friday the 14th, to be followed by an informal 'bring-n-braai' hosted by the forum members themselves (e-mail Dalene Preston for more info).

For those who cannot be at the match in Skukuza, there will be live, online commentators on the SANParks forum and a webcam broadcasting the game.

You will be able to follow the game on the forum and on our webcams so even if you're not at Skukuza you can still be involved in what surely will go down in history as another epic day of cricket@skukuza.

*Please note that forum members names used refer to their on-line names