Sonja Rheeder, former captain of Free State, has decided to hang up her boots, the provincial association announced on Thursday (November 14). The wicket-keeper, who represented Free State for over eight years, made the announcement to her teammates and coaches on Sunday (November 10) ahead of the team’s T20 clash against Gauteng.
“This was a difficult decision to make and it took a lot out of me, but I announced to my teammates on Sunday that it was my last game for Free State,” Rheeder admitted. “I just want to say thank you to Free State Cricket for allowing me to be part of the women’s team for the past eight years. It was indeed an honour and a privilege for me to be the captain of the side,” she concluded.
The right-hander scored more than 800 runs and claimed more than 30 dismissals across her one-day and T20 career consisting of 79 matches for Free State. As captain, her biggest achievement was leading her team to qualify fo the Top 6 league in the 2018-19 season. She also led Free State to their first ever title in the Cricket South Africa Coastal Region T20 competition in the same year.
“Sonja has been a great asset to the team, dedicating eight years of her time to see the team be where it is today definitely means a lot to us and the value she added will surely be missed,” Judy Voster, team manager, said. “We hope she will still be a part of the Free State Cricket family and will still dedicate her time to the women’s team going forward.”
Echoing the manager’s thoughts, Johan van Heerden, CEO of Free State, congratulated Rheeder on a successful career, while also touching upon the potential opportunities for the former skipper to continue her association with Free State cricket.
“It is always sad when a player comes to that decision! Sonja was an excellent ambassador for the game of cricket, and a loyal stalwart for Free State women’s cricket,” he said. “We hope and trust that she will stay in the game and share her fantastic experience with the youngsters.”
“Although it is very sad, we accept her decision and would like to thank her for her contribution. She is leaving Free State Cricket Women’s in a better state that she found it, and we will be forever thankful for her contributions.”