News & EventsLatest NewsCalendar


Paul Middlemiss9 May - 07:58
Share via

Jon-Jon Smuts returns for 2024 season

With the start of the league season just over 48 hours away, Upminster Cricket Club is delighted to announce the return of South African superstar JJ Smuts for the 2024 season.

JJ returns to RM14 having made a huge impression, both on and off the pitch, during his first season with the club in 2022. During that campaign the all-rounder scored 947 league and cup runs at 52.61, a haul which included a brilliant 130 against Shenfield and eight other half centuries. Smuts also claimed 45 wickets in all competitions with his left-arm spin, and topped things off with 13 catches across the summer!!

These statistics only tell half the story though, as just importantly JJ was a huge hit with our younger players at the club's midweek junior training sessions, spending hours in the nets helping develop the next crop of potential Upminster 1st XI players. We know that all of our junior players will be excited to work with JJ and Head Coach Scott Simmons once again over the coming months.

Since heading back home at the end of the 2022 English summer, JJ, who has made 19 appearances for South Africa in white ball cricket, has certainly been keeping himself busy. He was a regular for Sunrisers Eastern Cape as they won the inaugural SA20 competition in 2022/23, and having moved to Durban Super Giants for the 2023/24 season he helped his new side reach the play-offs before they lost out to his former team. In first class cricket JJ helped his Dolphins side to a fourth place finish in the recently completed CSA 4-Day Series competition (South Africa's equivalent of the County Championship).

Upminster skipper Pulkit Gupta is certainly pleased to have JJ back at his disposal for the summer ahead.

“It’s great to have JJ back for his second spell at Upminster Park. During the 2022 season he led the way in both the batting and bowling departments and put in multiple match-winning performances with bat and ball.”

The new captain can’t wait to see JJ back in action this weekend in the opening league game of the season, and was also keen to stress how much of a positive influence the South African is likely to be across the entire club.

“JJ’s powerful hitting and left arm spin will both be huge assets to us as we look to get off to a winning start this weekend with a tough game against Epping at Upminster Park. And off the field JJ will have a huge impact once again. In 2022 JJ was always at the club, either coaching or talking to members about the game. He will once again be a great asset to the club and it’s a great opportunity for all of our membership to learn from his experiences.”

Everyone at the club is delighted to have JJ back for the season and we can’t wait to see him in action over the coming weeks.

Further reading