Sunfoil Series

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Sunfoil Series
Countries  South Africa
Administrator Cricket South Africa
Format First-class cricket
First tournament 1889-90
Tournament format Round-robin
Number of teams 6
Current champion Titans
Most successful Gauteng (25 titles)
Most runs Graeme Pollock (12,409)
Most wickets Vintcent van der Bijl (572)
2012-13 Sunfoil Series

The Sunfoil Series is the main domestic first class cricket competition in South Africa, first contested (as the Currie Cup) in 1889-90. From 1990-91 it became known as the Castle Cup, from 1996-97 as the Supersport Series and from 2012-13 by its current title. The Gauteng Lions (formerly Transvaal) have won the title the most times (25, plus four shared titles).

Current teams[edit]

Knights were known as Eagles prior to the 2010-11 season.

Current points System[edit]

Teams are awarded points based on the result of the match as follows:

  • Outright victory: 10 points
  • Tie: 6 points
  • Any other result: 0 points

In addition, teams earn bonus points based on their performance in the first 100 overs of each team's first innings:

  • Batting bonus points: 1 point for reaching 150 runs, then 0.02 points for each run thereafter
  • Bowling bonus points: 1 point for taking three wickets, then 1 point for each two wickets thereafter

A points system of this basic structure was first introduced in 1971-72, and has been used in almost all seasons since; the exact points values used today were first introduced in 2002-03.

History[edit]

Early Years[edit]

Cricket in South Africa was established by the British, and the first tour by a side from England took place in 1888-89. The following summer, the Currie Cup was established as a domestic competition. The trophy was donated by and named after Sir Donald Currie.

The inaugural competition, in 1889–90, consisted of a single match between Kimberley and Transvaal. In this match, Bernard Tancred (106), for Kimberley and Monty Bowden (126*), for Transvaal, both in the second innings, scored the first centuries in Currie Cup cricket. In the first innings of the same match, George Glover took 6/50 for Kimberley. The following season saw a rematch between Kimberley and Transvaal; Charlie Finlason scored 154* for Kimberley, and John Piton took 13/204 for Transvaal in the match. Each team won one of these initial two encounters.

Between then and the First World War, the competition expanded. Kimberley (who became known as Griqualand West for the 1892-93 season) and Transvaal were joined by Western Province (1892–93), Natal, Eastern Province (both 1893-94), Border (1897–98) and Orange Free State (1903–04) — although not all of these teams competed in every season after they were established. Rhodesia and South Western Districts also competed on a once-off basis in the 1904-05 season.

The Currie Cup was not contested every year, and a total of fourteen seasons were contested between inception and the First World War. Aside from a recess during the Boer War, typically seasons were not held when the English team was touring. The tournament took on several different formats, including a knock-out tournament, and a round robin followed by a challenge final against the previous year's winner; but in 1906-07, a round robin league format was established, which would be unchanged until 1982-83.

Between the wars[edit]

First class cricket recommenced after the war in the 1920-21 season. The series continued to be held roughly two out of every three years, being cancelled during seasons which coincided with test tours. After the 1925-26, all seven provincial teams featured in every season. They were joined temporarily by Rhodesia (who contested the consecutive 1929-30 and 1931-32 season), and permanently by North Eastern Transvaal in 1937-38, which was the final season before World War II. In all, eleven seasons were played between the wars.

World War II to Isolation[edit]

After an eight-year hiatus, the Currie Cup restarted in 1946-47 with all eight provincial teams and Rhodesia, who would now feature permanently.

In 1951-52, the competition adopted a two-tiered structure, which was retained in some format until 1999-2000 (except for a once-off recombination into a single division in 1960-61). From its inception until South Africa's international isolation in 1971, a promotion/relegation structure linked the two tiers, with the winner of the lower division generally replacing the last placed team from the top division — although this was not adhered to every season. The top division generally consisted of four or five teams.

During this time, the stronger provinces began to field a 'B' team in the lower division. Transvaal B was the first to appear (1959–60), followed by Natal B (1965–66). These B-teams were not promoted to the top division when they won the lower competition.

Since the 1965-66 season, the Currie Cup has been contested every year, and was no longer suspended during international tours.

Isolation - the 1970s[edit]

Domestic cricket in South Africa reached its peak during the years of isolation in the 1970s and 1980s. With standards exceptionally high, spectators came in their thousands to watch Currie Cup cricket.

The two-division format was retained, but promotion/relegation was abandoned, and from 1971–72, the top division remained constant with five teams: Transvaal, Natal, Eastern Province, Western Province and Rhodesia. The second division expanded with more B-teams: Western Province B joining in 1975-76, and Eastern Province B and Rhodesia B joining in 1977-78.

During the 1970s, the second division became a separate competition from the Currie Cup, known initially as the Castle Bowl (and later under different commercial names, such as UCB Bowl). In 1971-72, North Eastern Transvaal became known as Northern Transvaal.

Isolation and restoration - the 1980s and 1990s[edit]

Through the 1980s and 1990s, the weaker provincial teams began to gradually migrate back from the Bowl competition to the Currie Cup. At the same time, those provinces' B-teams began to contest the Bowl, which gradually turned the Bowl entirely into a Currie Cup seconds competition. By 1996-97, the Bowl had split into a two-tier competition (with only the top division given first-class status); by 1999-2000, all stand-alone provincial teams had returned to the Currie Cup, and the Bowl was stripped of first-class status entirely.

Northern Transvaal was the first team to return to the Currie Cup, in 1979-80; that same year was the final year for Rhodesia, which did not participate following the country's independence as Zimbabwe from the United Kingdom. Orange Free State returned to the Currie Cup in 1985-86. Border returned permanently in 1991-92 (following an unsuccessful two-season return in 1985-86 and 1986–87). Griqualand West returned in 1996-97. In addition, three new provincial teams entered during this time: Boland, who entered the Bowl in 1980-81, and entered the Cup in 1993-94; and Eastern Transvaal and Western Transvaal, who entered the Bowl in 1991-92, and were the last two teams promoted to the top level in 1999-2000 before the Bowl concluded.

During the same time, the Bowl competition was joined by Northern Transvaal B (1982–83), Orange Free State B (1989–90), Border B and Boland B (1993–94) and Griqualand West B (1997–98), as well as a Zimbabwean Board XI (1993–94) and Namibia cricket team (1996–97).

During the 1990s, as South Africa underwent political changes, several teams changed their names to adapt: Orange Free State became Free State (1995–96); Eastern Transvaal became Easterns (1995–96); Western Transvaal became North West (1996–97); Transvaal became Gauteng (1997–98); Northern Transvaal became Northerns (1997–98); and Natal became KwaZulu-Natal (1998–99). The competition itself also changed its name for commercial reasons, becoming the Castle Cup in 1990-91, and then the SuperSport Series in 1996-97.

During this era, the format of the competition changed several times. In 1982-83, a final was played between the top two teams; this was expanded to a four-team knock-out in 1983-84, and contracted to a three-team knock-out in 1985-86. In 1987-88, the league was split into two pools with a single final between the pool winners. In 1990-91, the league returned to a single pool with no final. The final returned in 1998-99. Then, with eleven teams from 1999–2000, the league adopted a format similar to the 1999 Cricket World Cup, with a super eight or super six round before a single final.

The most notable feature of this era was the end of the dominance of Transvaal, Natal and Western Province. Prior to the 1988-89 season, the three teams had amongst them won 59 of the 60 Currie Cups contested — the only exception being Kimberley's win in the second tournament in 1890-91, won based on the result of a single game against Transvaal. In 1988-89, Eastern Province finally broke the dominance when it beat Transvaal in the final. Orange Free State would win its first championship in the 1990s, and Easterns would also win a championship in the 2000s.

Current Era[edit]

In 2004-05, the format of South African domestic cricket was changed entirely. The eleven provincial teams were rationalised into six new teams: Western Province and Boland merged to form the Cape Cobras; Griqualand West and Free State formed the Eagles (who later became the Knights in 2010-11); Eastern Province and Border became the Warriors; North West and Gauteng became the Lions; Northerns and Easterns became the Titans; and KwaZulu-Natal became the Dolphins. These changes occurred across limited overs cricket as well as first class cricket.

The format of the new competition is a double-round robin. In its first two seasons, the top two contested a final to determine the winner, but both finals finished in draws and the titles were shared (in contrast to most domestic cricket leagues, including earlier Currie Cup formats, where in the case of a drawn final, the title is awarded to the team which finished with the better record). The final was abandoned in 2006-07, and the title is awarded solely on regular season record.

The eleven provincial Currie Cup teams, as well as South Western Districts, KwaZulu-Natal Inland and Namibia, continue to compete separately in the South African Airways Provincial Three-Day Challenge, which remains a first-class competition, despite no longer being the top level of unlimited overs cricket in South Africa.

Winners[edit]

Season Cup champion Runner-up Bowl champion Bowl runner up Notes
1889–90 Transvaal (1) Kimberley (1) Inaugural season
Cup decided by single match
1890-91 Kimberley (1) Transvaal (1)
1891-92 Not contested
1892-93 Western Province (1) Transvaal (2) First appearance of Western Province
Kimberley now known as Griqualand West
1893-94 Western Province (2) Natal (1) First appearances of Natal and Eastern Province
1894-95 Transvaal (2) Western Province (2)
1895-96 Not contested
1896-97 Western Province (3) Transvaal (3)
1897-98 Western Province (4) Transvaal (4) First appearance of Orange Free State
1898-99
1899-00
1900-01
1901-02
Not contested due to Boer War
1902-03 Transvaal (3) Western Province (2)
1903-04 Transvaal (4) Western Province (3) First appearance of Border
1904-05 Transvaal (5) Western Province (4) One-off appearances of Rhodesia and South Western Districts
1905-06 Not contested
1906-07 Transvaal (6) Natal (2)
1907-08 Not contested
1908-09 Western Province (5) Transvaal (2)
1909-10 Not contested
1910-11 Natal (1) Transvaal (6)
1911-12 Not contested
1912-13 Natal (2) Western Province (5)
1913-14
1914-15
1915-16
1916-17
1917-18
1918-19
1919-20
Not contested due to World War I
1920-21 Western Province (6) Transvaal (7)
1921-22 Western Province
Natal
Transvaal
1922-23 Not contested
1923-24 Transvaal (7) Natal (3)
1924-25 Not contested
1925-26 Transvaal (8) Griqualand West (2)
1926-27 Transvaal (9) Orange Free State (1)
1927-28 Not contested
1928-29 Not contested
1929-30 Transvaal (10) Natal (4) One-off appearance of Rhodesia
1930-31 Not contested
1931-32 Western Province (7) Transvaal
Rhodesia
One-off appearance of Rhodesia
1932-33 Not contested
1933-34 Natal (3) Western Province (6)
1934-35 Transvaal (11) Natal (5)
1935-36 Not contested
1936-37 Natal (4) Transvaal (8)
1937-38 Transvaal
Natal
First appearance of North Eastern Transvaal
1938-39
1939-40
1940-41
1941-42
1942-43
1943-44
1944-45
1945-46
Not contested due to World War II
1946-47 Natal (5) Western Province (7) First regular appearance of Rhodesia
1947-48 Natal (6) Transvaal (9)
1948-49 Not contested
1949-50 Not contested
1950-51 Transvaal (12) Natal (6)
1951-52 Natal (7) Western Province (8) Orange Free State (1) Rhodesia (1) League adapts two-division format
Orange Free State promoted
Transvaal relegated
1952-53 Western Province (8) Natal
Orange Free State
Transvaal (1) Rhodesia (2) Transvaal promoted
Eastern Province relegated
1953-54 Not contested
1954-55 Natal (8) Transvaal (10) Eastern Province (1) Rhodesia (3) Eastern Province promoted
Orange Free State relegated
1955-56 Western Province (9) Natal (7) Rhodesia (1) Border (1) Rhodesia promoted
Eastern Province relegated
1956-57 Not contested
1957-58 Not contested
1958-59 Transvaal (13) Natal
Rhodesia
Western Province
Border (1) Eastern Province (1) Border promoted
1959-60 Natal (9) Transvaal (11) Eastern Province
Transvaal B
First appearance of Transvaal B
Eastern Province promoted for 1962-63
Border and Rhodesia relegated for 1962-63
1960-61 Natal (10) Eastern Province (1) One-off single-division format
1961-62 Not contested
1962-63 Natal (11) Western Province (9) Transvaal B (1) Rhodesia (4)
1963-64 Natal (12) Transvaal (12) Rhodesia (2) North Eastern Transvaal (1) Rhodesia promoted
1964-65 Not contested
1965-66 Transvaal
Natal
North Eastern Transvaal (1) Border (2) First appearance of Natal B
Western Province relegated
1966-67 Natal (13) Eastern Province
Transvaal
North Eastern Transvaal (2) Transvaal B
Western Province
North Eastern Transvaal promoted
Rhodesia relegated
1967-68 Natal (14) Transvaal (13) Rhodesia (3) Natal B (1) Rhodesia promoted
North Eastern Transvaal relegated
1968-69 Transvaal (14) Natal
Eastern Province
Western Province (1) Border (3) Western Province promoted
1969-70 Transvaal
Western Province
Transvaal B (2) Natal B (2) Rhodesia relegated
1970-71 Transvaal (15) Western Province (10) Rhodesia (4) Transvaal B (1) Rhodesia promoted
1971-72 Transvaal (16) Rhodesia (1) Northern Transvaal (3) Transvaal B (2) North Eastern Transvaal now known as Northern Transvaal
1972-73 Transvaal (17) Eastern Province (2) Transvaal B (3) Orange Free State (1)
1973-74 Natal (15) Western Province (11) Natal B (1) Orange Free State (2)
1974-75 Western Province (10) Natal (8) Transvaal B (4) Griqualand West (1)
1975-76 Natal (16) Eastern Province (3) Orange Free State (2) Transvaal B
Western Province B
First appearance of Western Province B
1976-77 Natal (17) Transvaal (14) Transvaal B (5) Western Province B (2)
1977-78 Western Province (11) Transvaal (15) Northern Transvaal (4) Border (4) First appearances of Rhodesia B and Eastern Province B
1978-79 Transvaal (18) Western Province (12) Northern Transvaal (5) Border (5) Once-off season with no B-teams competing in the Bowl
Northern Transvaal promoted
1979-80 Transvaal (19) Western Province (13) Natal B (2) Western Province B (2) Final appearance of Rhodesia and Rhodesia B
1980-81 Natal (18) Transvaal (16) Western Province B (1) Transvaal B (3) First appearance of Boland (Bowl)
1981-82 Western Province (12) Transvaal (17) Boland (1) Western Province B (3) First appearance of Northern Transvaal B (Bowl)
1982-83 Transvaal (20) Western Province (14) Western Province B (2) Transvaal B (4)
1983-84 Transvaal (21) Western Province (15) Western Province B (3) Border (6)
1984-85 Transvaal (22) Northern Transvaal (1) Transvaal B (6) Orange Free State (3) Border and Orange Free State promoted
1985-86 Western Province (13) Transvaal (18) Boland (2) Western Province B (4)
1986-87 Transvaal (23) Western Province (16) Transvaal B (7) Natal B (3) Border relegated
1987-88 Transvaal (24) Orange Free State (2) Boland (3) Transvaal B (5)
1988-89 Eastern Province (1) Transvaal (19) Boland (4) Transvaal B (6)
1989-90 Eastern Province
Western Province
Border
Western Province B
First appearance of Orange Free State B (Bowl)
1990-91 Western Province (14) Transvaal (20) Border
Western Province B
Border promoted
1991-92 Eastern Province (2) Orange Free State (3) Eastern Transvaal (1) Boland (1) First appearances of Eastern Transvaal and Western Transvaal
No B-teams in Bowl competition
1992-93 Orange Free State (1) Eastern Province
Natal
Transvaal
Boland (5) Griqualand West (2) No B-teams in Bowl competition
1993-94 Orange Free State (2) Western Province (17) Transvaal B (8) Western Province B (5) B-teams again compete in Bowl competition
First appearances of Border B, Boland B and Zimbabwe Board XI
1994-95 Natal (19) Northern Transvaal (2) Natal B (3) Eastern Transvaal (1)
1995-96 Western Province (15) Transvaal (21) Natal B
Griqualand West
Orange Free State now known as Free State
Eastern Transvaal now known as Easterns
Griqualand West promoted
1996-97 Natal (20) Western Province (18) Eastern Province B (1) Easterns (2) Western Transvaal now known as North West
1997-98 Orange Free State (3) Eastern Province (4) North West (1) Northerns B (1) Northern Transvaal now known as Northerns
Transvaal now known as Gauteng
1998-99 Western Province (16) Border (1) North West (2) Western Province B (6) First appearance of Griqualand West B
Natal now known as KwaZulu-Natal
Easterns and North West promoted
Final first class season of Bowl
1999-00 Gauteng (25) Border (2)
2000-01 Western Province (17) Border (3)
2001-02 KwaZulu-Natal (21) Northerns (3)
2002-03 Easterns (1) Western Province (19)
2003-04 Western Province (18) KwaZulu-Natal (9)
2004-05 Eagles
Dolphins
Eleven provincial teams reduced to six combined teams
2005-06 Titans
Dolphins
2006-07 Titans (1) Lions (1)
2007-08 Eagles (1) Warriors (1)
2008-09 Titans (2) Eagles (1)
2009-10 Cape Cobras (1) Titans (1)
2010-11 Cape Cobras (2) Titans (2) Eagles now known as Knights
2011-12 Titans (3) Cape Cobras (1)
2012-13 Cape Cobras (3) Lions (2)

*Numbers in parentheses count outright championships only.

Championships[edit]

Combined Team Era[edit]

Club Seasons Outright wins Shared wins Total wins Seconds
Titans 9 3 1 4 2
Cape Cobras 9 3 - 3 1
Eagles/Knights 9 1 1 2 1
Dolphins 9 0 2 2 0
Lions 9 0 - 0 2
Warriors 9 0 - 0 1

Currie Cup - Provincial Era[edit]

Club Seasons Outright wins Shared wins Total wins Seconds
Transvaal/Gauteng 75 25 4 29 21
Natal/KwaZulu-Natal 71 21 3 24 9
Western Province 71 18 3 21 19
Orange Free State 40 3 - 3 3
Eastern Province 66 2 1 3 4
Kimberley/Griqualand West 34 1 - 1 2
Eastern Transvaal/Easterns 5 1 - 1 0
North Eastern Transvaal/
Northern Transvaal/Northerns
31 0 - 0 3
Border 35 0 - 0 3
Rhodesia/Zimbabwe-Rhodesia 22 0 - 0 1
Western Transvaal/North West 5 0 - 0 0
Boland 11 0 - 0 0

Note: Transvaal B and South West Districts are not shown in the table. Each contested only one season in the top division, and neither finished in the top two.

Currie Cup Second Division and Bowl Competition[edit]

Club Seasons Outright wins Shared wins Total wins Seconds
Transvaal B/Gauteng B 32 8 1 9 6
Boland 13 5 - 5 1
North Eastern Transvaal/
Northern Transvaal/Northerns
21 5 - 5 1
Rhodesia/Zimbabwe-Rhodesia 8 4 - 4 4
Western Province B 21 3 2 5 6
Natal B/KwaZulu-Natal B 31 3 1 4 3
Orange Free State/Free State 26 2 - 2 3
Western Transvaal/North West 8 2 - 2 0
Border 31 1 2 3 6
Eastern Transvaal/Easterns 8 1 - 1 2
Eastern Province 3 1 1 2 1
Transvaal/Gauteng 1 1 - 1 0
Western Province 3 1 - 1 0
Eastern Province B 19 1 - 1 0
Kimberley/Griqualand West 39 0 1 1 2
Northern Transvaal B/Northerns B 15 0 - 0 1

Note: Includes only Currie Cup lower division and Bowl seasons with full first-class status.

Note: To minimise the size of the table, teams which contested five or fewer seasons without winning or placing second are not shown. These teams were: Orange Free State B/Free State B, Rhodesia B/Zimbabwe-Rhodesia B, Griqualand West B, Zimbabwe Board XI, Border B and Boland B.

Notable performances[edit]

Two Double centuries in a season

Five centuries in successive innings

Five centuries in six innings

Five wickets in six balls

Four wickets with consecutive balls

Ten wickets in an innings

Fifteen wickets in a match

A 100 runs and 10 wickets in a match

Ten wicketkeeping dismissals in a match

Individual records[edit]

External links[edit]