MASERU — Lesotho’s 2010/11 cricket season kicked off with a bang last weekend with shock victories for two of the league’s new sides.
In Maseru, debutants Maseru Cricket Club beat last season’s national runners-up Lerotholi Polytechnic by seven wickets.
In Teyateyaneng, home side Ajax Cricket Club were humbled by Boom Boom Cricket Club with the visitors winning by 25 runs.
It was the best possible start to the season following the expansion of the league from four teams to eight — a move intended to widen cricket’s reach in Lesotho.
Besides giant-killers Boom Boom and Maseru Cricket Club, Extras Cricket Club and the Lesotho College of Education are also part of the new-look league.
The league’s first round will end on November 21 with the season concluding next April.
Lesotho Cricket Association (LCA) public relations officer Lekoatsa Chaka said he was hoping the 2010/11 campaign would build on the small strides made last season.
In July, National University of Lesotho side Vampires clinched last season’s title after beating Lerotholi into second place, with Ajax and Bails finishing third and fourth respectively.
But the campaign wasn’t without its difficulties, with the league’s climax having to be postponed by two months.
However, this season the league has a M15 000 sponsorship, M5 000 more than last season.
And Chaka said the LCA was negotiating with two other potential backers.
“This season is going to be better,” he said.
“We are going to step forward from where we left off at the end of last season.
“We are talking to two businessmen who are interested in helping us.
“If there is someone who says ‘I will put this much into improving the game’ that also gives us cause for optimism.”
It has been a busy period for the game in Lesotho.
At the end of September, 14 local coaches were presented with Level One coaching certificates after passing an International Cricket Council (ICC) course.
Last Wednesday, three Lesotho cricketers returned from a week-long stay at the South African Cricket Academy as part of a joint ICC and LCA development programme.
The trio were national team player Bongani Mosiuoa, Under-19 player Thabang Mafereka and Under-15 player Ajim Patel.
“It is a good development because they come back and bring the knowledge they have gained to the league and to the national teams,” Chaka said.