Sport

Pro Werner tips Enfield to hit top without him

Werner Coetsee is backing Enfield to overcome Lowerhouse in the title race – even though he won’t be around to see it.

Werner Coetsee is backing Enfield to overcome Lowerhouse in the title race – even though he won’t be around to see it.

Enfield’s South African professional had expected to see the season out at Dill Hall Lane but has now discovered he’ll miss the last three games of what promises to be a gripping run-in.

The start of South Africa’s domestic season has been brought forward to accommodate this year’s Champions League Twenty20 competition, which is being held in South Africa from October 9-28.

Coetsee will be playing his second season with the Knights and although the Bloemfontein franchise don’t start their season until September 20, the 29-year-old all-rounder has been recalled in time for a pre-season game.

This weekend’s Bank Holiday double header will therefore be Coetsee’s last games before heading home, leaving Adam Bracewell’s side to face Accrington, Church and Bacup without him.

"Two of the South African franchises are playing in the Champions League Twenty20 so we have to start earlier to get the season going," he said.

"Had it been a normal season then I would be staying. It’s just unlucky that the Twenty20 happens to be held in South Africa this year – the year when Enfield are challenging for the league.

"It’s very disappointing for me to miss some really important games but hopefully we can still do it. I think I’ve done well this year but if you look at our stats for this year, I think there’s four players who have almost doubled what they did last year already."

Coetsee will return to South Africa in fine fettle as he’s among those Enfield players to have improved on last year.

He’s already taken 81 wickets up on 79 from last year and, with the bat, he’s scored 724 runs but – weather permitting – he’ll be confident of surpassing last year’s 751-run tally this weekend.

"The whole side is playing very well, which is why we’re up there," said Coetsee, who has also sub-proed for Rochdale and even filled in as a UK-based overseas player for Netherlands at Lancashire two weeks ago.

"Adam Bracewell has been very impressive (577 runs), Nasser Hussain has surpassed what he did last year at Church, Saggi Hussain has moved up the order and stepped up for us. Young Alex Whittaker and Asif Fazal also deserve a mention.

"There’s also Joe Wrigley, who hit his first 50, Hassan Fazal has already got 40 wickets and Dave Bracewell took six wickets against Lowerhouse."

That sealed a thrilling win for Enfield last month and means they have done the double over their title rivals.

Now Enfield need someone to do them a favour, though, as while the two teams are joint-top on points, Lowerhouse have six games left and Enfield five.

"Every game that’s rained off is a chance missed in terms of catching up but we’ve still got enough games left," Coetsee added.

"Hopefully the weather hopes up for the rest of the season, we just want to get out on the field!

"I think Lowerhouse are the ones under pressure because they’re the defending champions and they’ve got a game in hand so they’ve got it all to lose.

"If we can keep the pressure on then we just need them to lose one game and we’re in."

Coetsee is yet to confirm if he’ll re-sign as Enfield’s professional for 2013, which would be his third straight year at Dill Hall Lane. "We’re still in negotiations but it looks if I do come back it’ll probably be back here," he said.