John’s pre-season catch-up with Jacques

Jacques Snyman had the most memorable summer in his first season at Greenmount last year.

Despite rain wiping out no less than seven league fixtures he amassed 1500 runs with an average of over 100 and took 50 wickets to cap a complete all round outstanding contribution.

Jacques Snyman

Jacques played a lead role in our T20 Cup win highlighted by an unbelievable unbeaten 160 at Norden to win the game against all odds and of course crashed an unforgettable unbeaten 268 against Accrington in the league peppered with no less than 18 sixes.

On top of all this he was a constant presence at the club either encouraging the third team, supporting junior games or conducting coaching and is a general all round top chap! 

John Stevens caught up with Jacques for a chat ahead of the new season.

JJS: Hi Jacques, the new season is approaching fast and we are looking forward to seeing you and your family soon. Tell us a bit about what’s been happening while you’ve been at home, the season with Knights started amazingly

JACQUES: Hi John yeah everything has been going well thanks, family all well and we are enjoying the summer here in SA, but obviously still looking forward to our return to Greenmount and the cold weather!! The season with Knights started really positively, especially the one day competition and I got a few decent scores, the four day stuff was a bit stop/start with injury and I would have loved to do better – but lots of great experience and lessons learned playing with Knights.

JJS: And then the momentum was interrupted by injury, tell us what happened, how are you now ?

JACQUES: Yes I had a nasty blow to the head from a ball which just reared off a length and unfortunately suffered from nasty concussion which led to being side-lined for six weeks. Thanks to everyone at the club who were asking after me, it was a frustrating time and I don`t like being unable to play. But I am fully recovered now and have had a couple of good knocks since coming back so I am in a good mental space. 

JJS: Following your return to action there was a great experience with Pretoria Capitals, tell us about that – who were your favourite players in the tournament?

JACQUES: Oh wow yes, Pretoria Capitals was an amazing experience and such a special dream come true moment for me. It is fantastic just being around so many top level players and it is fascinating to observe how they go about their day to day business and of course look to pick up good practices. Its obviously very hard to pick out individuals when you are surrounded by genuine star quality but I really loved the way Will Jacks played and expressed himself. He showed no fear of failure and also Heinrich Klaasen was outstanding in a tournament packed with many individual high quality efforts. I will say I loved every second of the competition, being involved and around such a brilliant team and franchise like Pretoria Capitals was a real privilege. 

JJS: Looking back on your first season with Greenmount you won many admirers with your hard hitting performances, what are your thoughts about last year and the season ahead ?

John Stevens (Head of Cricket), club chairman Andy Skinner and Jacques celebrate the club’s T20 triumph last summer

JACQUES: I absolutely love the place John, it just felt right from the very moment we started talking about the club’s project, goals and culture. I still remember the first time we stepped out onto the ground and I just thought yes this is going to be great! Obviously it was a great team effort to win the T20 Cup and it is nice to have a trophy to show for a hard fought campaign. I think we showed everyone what we are about and probably surprised a few top division teams on the way but clearly it was a real disappointment not to achieve promotion. We go again with the same goal this year, there`s some experienced talent joining the group and we have some top young blood emerging through the ranks so we want to be right up there challenging to get up. I am looking forward to meeting new team mates but also hooking up with the group from last year, I made so many good friends at the club and it holds a very special place in my heart. So I will be doing everything I can to help improve our fortunes!    

JJS: The league will be stronger than ever this year, who do you see as the challengers?

JACQUES: the Lancashire League is a great competition and I feel that the standards in Division Two demonstrate the strength of the overall product. I think it will be tough competitive cricket once again this year and we will have to be at our very best when you look at the teams fighting to go up. I am sure that Ramsbottom and Walsden will not take relegation lying down, they will come out hard and show why they were in that top division and will be very keen to get back up there. It will be hard cricket and we will obviously want to challenge – I expect to see Crompton up there again too but there are some very good teams all of whom can create problems, some outstanding professionals so we are well set for another exciting summer.  

JJS: There’s a big birthday celebration this summer for you. If you look back at the past ten years what’s been your most memorable moments?

JACQUES: I cant think of being in a better place to celebrate this milestone John! And now am looking forward to seeing the refurbished lounge too. Most memorable moments, that’s a tough one but I have got to say getting married to Erin is the number one, having our first little one Leyah, my Proteas debut, fastest first class century, and then of course the 268 not out here last year in front of a big crowd, that was great fun! And getting my first franchise contract with Pretoria Capitals was special as I`ve said. Oh, and yes the T20 Finals Day – our first trophy in the Lancashire League period for the club, beating top division teams, it was massively special, perhaps the evening part is why I cant remember so much of it as some of the others (laughs) 

JJS: And looking forward what are your career plans for the next 3-5 years now ?

JACQUES: Obviously I want to end this domestic season on a high, thats my main short term goal as I want the Knights to get back to where we belong in the first division. Then I want to secure another contract with them for next season and of course come and help Greenmount achieve promotion, the goals of Knights and Greenmount are very similar. Then next winter I really want to get back into the franchise season and try to make an impact in the SA20 from the start. I am really keen to do well and attract the national selectors again and of course like many modern players I want to try and get into competitions all around the world. But for this season my focus is on Greenmount and helping to raise the standards throughout the club especially the younger emerging players.

JJS – turning to the international scene where next for England after their Indian tour?

JACQUES: It’s been a series of ups and downs for England this time but I think they will learn and we will see an aggressive approach against Pakistan. Playing in India is always tough, there have been some great individual performances and many moments where the team had the upper hand but India are relentless and the talent runs very deep, just too strong in their own back yard. I am sure England will bank the learnings, it’s not a crisis, those guys will come back stronger and harder for sure. 

JJS: Is Bazball an over-played term? What does it mean for you?

JACQUES: This is a mindset thing about taking the game forward and playing positively without fear. Maybe shot selection and respect for good balls could come into play more but I just love the positive approach, there is no blame and no moaning, they back themselves and each other – and get on with it.  

JJS: We can’t wait to see you on Friday, 12th April, our new main sponsor friends from Mercedes Benz in Whitefield are looking forward to it too. How do you see progress at the club in the six months you’ve been away?

JACQUES: I cant believe just how much has happened and how many more improvements have been made in the short time I have been away! You guys definitely don’t stand still and there seems to be an even greater buzz about the club. The new nets look amazing, hybrid pitches just installed, new kitchen, new look function room and now new sponsors and kit, the club is really pushing forward on all fronts – weve not sat back on last year’s developments, it is becoming an even better place to play and watch cricket and just have a great time. I think Mercedes Benz is a great fit for Greenmount and I am looking forward to meeting the team there and helping the partnership to be a success. 

Thanks for having us back again this season, we are all super excited to be back and are really looking forward to being part of this fantastic club once again. We are looking forward to an amazing summer and I hope all our supporters get behind us fighting for promotion and playing and exciting brand of cricket .

JJS: Thanks very much Jacques, just four weeks to go now, hopefully the weather will warm up and we look forward to seeing you very soon!

And you can welcome Jacques back to Greenmount on Friday 12th April, more details to follow nearer the time.

Jacques hopes to build on last season’s T20 success with promotion to Lancashire League Division One

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