Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Looking back at 10 school sport years

In 2009, when I was still at The Star, I was asked to compile a list of my 10 school sporting highlights of the decade that was just ending to go along with similar lists drawn up by the reporters on the various sporting beats the paper covered.

I don’t remember much of it, but I think the exercise must have been quite easy because I had the archives to dig into to look for the standout teams and players over the previous 10 years.

I thought it might be fun to repeat the exercise for the 20-teens, although it’s not so simple without an article library to go to, and with my fading memory.

Here goes anyway – and I’m using the dodgy memory excuse to explain anyone I’ve left out. And yes, it’s biased towards Joburg where I live. I have only included events that I was personally at.

In roughly chronological order:

1 St Benedict’s rowing. They would have been on my 2009 list. In that year they won the boys trophy at the SA Schools Rowing Championships for the 16th time in a row, which was pretty remarkable. Well, they haven’t lost since and were crowned for the 26th consecutive time at Roodeplaat this year.

2 In 2010 Bree Primary School took the under-13 title at the Danone Nations Cup international football tournament at the Orlando Stadium. The Joburg school should have competed in 2009 in Brazil, but the event was cancelled because of the swine flu epidemic that year. So, they ran it together with the 2010 event in South Africa, and Bree won at home – the third South African team to take the title at the 52-nation event.

3 In 2011 King Edward VII School became the first school to win all three sections in Joburg’s T20 Johnny Waite cricket knockout competition. Their 1st, 2nd and 3rd teams beat St Stithians in all three finals.

4 At a triangular athletics meeting at Jeppe in 2015 I watched two world top 10 athletes in action. Patrick Duvenhage of KES was ranked in the top 10 on the planet in his age group in both discus and shotput at the time while Jeppe’s Mpho Tladi ran the world’s quickest time in the under-16 100m hurdles earlier in the year.

5 Ruan de Swardt of Affies became just the 13th sportsman to make the South African Schools cricket and rugby teams. He was selected for the rugby side at the Craven Week in  July 2016 and made the cricket side at the end of the year. The previous player to do the "double" had been Martizburg College’s Adrian Penzhorn in 2002.

6 Remarkably, the next player to achieve that feat was Grey College’s Christopher Schreuder, the very next year.

7 At the 2017 boys schools interhigh meeting at St David’s, Lythe Pillay of King Edward VII school won the 100m, 200m and 400, races in time of 10.8; 21.6 and 48.6, respectively. He has gone on to do even better since, but that was the day he announced himself as a future superstar.

8 Travis Gordon of King Edward VII School captained the South African Schools rugby team in 2017. He was the first player from that school to do so and it came at the end of one of the best seasons in memory by a KES 1st team.

9 In 2018 Jeppe High School for Boys won all three of Joburg’s hockey trophies - the under-19 Aitken Cup, the under-15 Boden Trophy, and the under-16 Top 8 tournament. Their 1st team won the Aitken again in 2019 – for the 5th year in a row.

10 Max Chaumeton of Parktown Boys’ High came 28th at World Cross Country Championships in 2019. He went on the make the final of the mens 1500m race at the SA Athletics Championships. He ended his school athletics career without ever losing a 1500m race.

11 One more, lasting the whole decade really: the rise of girls water polo as a school sport. 10 years ago it hardly featured, now it’s the fastest growing sport at schools. There are big tournaments all over the country including two in Joburg, the St Peter’s Old Petrians and the Saints Stayers at St Stithians. Both were won this year by St Stithians Girls College who have emerged as the top girls polo school in the land.

Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Which school is really our oldest?

The announcement that Hans Coetzee will be going to Hoërskool Durbanville as a rugby coach (and that’s great news for him and the school) included the line that they are building towards a successful 200th Anniversary year in 2026.

That got some people doing arithmetic and they found it means the school was established in 1827, which puzzled a few associated with Cape Town’s SACS, the school that most people (me included) refer to as our oldest school – established in 1829.

On their website, Durbanville say they are SA’s second-oldest school, without saying who the oldest is, which makes SACS only the 3rd oldest, and that confuses matters even more.

It’s an old can of worms, one that I've researched before and I found then that the origins of most schools are shrouded in the mists of time and often a bit dodgy.

SACS is accepted as the oldest, but its early days were tied to UCT - they even have the same badge - and Paul Roos, similarly, was part of Stellenbosch University.

Jeppe and KES are both Milner Schools (established in 1903), yet Jeppe's Centenary was in 1989 and KES celebrated theirs in 2002, which means they both claim to have been founded prior to Lord Milners’s 1903 proclamation. They, like many of our older schools,  trace their ancestry to earlier institutions (some of which can only loosely be called schools) from which they evolved.

Muir College's Website has their establishment date as 1822.  But, according to Wikipaedia, Uitenhage’s first Free Government School was opened in 1822. In 1875, the school, then known as the Public Undenominational School moved to Park Avenue and in 1892 the school’s name changed to the Muir Academy. Go figure!

It looks, from the history of the school on their website that Durbanville was once Pampoenkraal and a primary and high school were established there in 1873, so I suspect that they have taken that as the beginning of the current Hoërskool Durbanville.

Someone sent me a list of some 20, mainly primary, schools that were established before SACS, and Durbanville. I suppose the test of a school's age should be how many years it existed as the school that is is known as now .

It's not important really, our traditional schools have all stood the test of time.

And Hans Coetzee was, at Monument, the most successful school rugby coach Gauteng has ever seen. Durbanville will be good in 2026, not matter how old the school may or may not be.

Wednesday, 25 December 2019

The best of the school cricket fields

 St Alban's




St Charles

I’ve done this exercise before – I listed my 10 most beautiful schools rugby fields some time last year – and after spending a week at some pretty picturesque ovals in the KZN Midlands at the Khaya Majola Week recently, I thought I’d repeat the exercise for the summer game.

I’m going to take some flak, I know. Some didn’t agree with my rugby choices, so let me admit at the outset that this isn’t a survey. It’s a subjective listing, only of grounds that I have watched cricket at. I know there must be many others just as lovely, or better, I just haven’t been to them is all.

And of course there’s much more to it. Old boys, players and parents will be attached to their particular fields for all sorts of sentimental and emotional reasons that have nothing to do with the views from them, the trees around the boundary or the mountains in the background. That’s completely legitimate.

So, with none of that taken into consideration, here are the schools grounds, in order, that have made an impression on me:

1 Bridge House Franschoek
2 De Villiers Oval, SACS
3 Meadows, Michaelhouse
4 Frank Reid, Bishops
5 Pollock Oval, Grey High School
6 TC Mitchell Oval, St Alban’s College
7 Hart-Davis Oval, Hilton College
8 The Oval, St Charles College
9 Gathorne Oval, Michaelhouse
10 Rondebosch Boys’ High

Friday, 20 December 2019

It's main game day at the Khaya Majola Week

It was decided by someone, somewhere, a few years ago that the Khaya Majola Week should revert to being a festival, with no overall winner in the end.

That’s what it was for many years until, in 1995, it became a limited-overs knockout tournament, in two sections with cross-pool playoffs, semi-finals and a final, a winner’s trophy, and classification games all the way down to last position.

All the good reasons why they ran it that way then apparently disappeared and it was decreed that the week would follow the philosophy of the rugby Craven Week – that there is no winner and that the two teams that play the best rugby (cricket, in this case) will meet in the so called “main game” on the final day of the week.

At the Craven Week, for years now, no-one is buying the friendly, no winners or losers line, and the victorious team in the main game is called the champion team.

The same goes at this week, really. Gauteng were called the defending champions, coming in, and they will be going home from Michaelhouse without the title after failing to make the final. Before this they won six out of seven main games and won five of them.

I’ve always rather liked the Corinthian spirit in sport, but even I have to confess that times have changed and that, these days, no-one’s really interested in a competition where there is no winner.

So, why not go all the way and bring back the cup? One reason, I suppose, is that the Khaya Majola Week features all thee formats of cricket: declaration games, T20s and 50-a-side limited overs.

That’s to let the players express themselves in different ways and it would be impossible to arrive at official finalists at the end of a mixed week like that.

Still, however they got there, and official or not, we have deserving finalists this year in Eastern Province and Western Province, and no-one who was here would argue that they don’t richly deserve to be in the big game today.

The scores from day 4 of the week are:
Western Province 243/5 (Daniel Smith 87, Lehan Botha 64, Guy Sheena 30*, Thembani Ngcizela 25*; Jack Lees 3/33); Gauteng 241 (Cameron Rowe 61, Heinrigh Pieterse 57, Nick Halstead-Cleak 39, Emmanuel Motswiri 32; Siya Plaatjie 4/29). Western Province won by two runs.

Eastern Province 239/8 (Nicholas Keevy 102*, Jade Smith 51, Tiaan van Vuuren 31; Merrick Brett 3/28, Zeeshan Ismail 3/48); Northerns 181 (Daniel van der Merwe 44*, Hanu Viljoen 38, Wasi Mushwana 33; Siphesihle Madlongolwana 3/20, Nicholas Keevy 3/49). Eastern Province won by 58 runs.

North West 215 (Van Zyl Smit 45, Jannie Claassens 44, Christopher de Freitas 35; Thulani Chiliza 4/16); KwaZulu-Natal 216/6 (Gareth Beavan 69, Jeremy Martins 57, Francis Moran 26; Julian Marais 1/16). KwaZulu-Natal won by four wickets.

KwaZulu-Natal Inland 146 (Jaques van der Walt 49, Michael Booth 25; Michael Kershaw 2/12, Lerato Nqoyi 2/18, Reeza Alexander 2/27); Free State 147/9 (Marco de Kock 85, Extras 22; Mondli Khumalo 5/35, Michael Booth 2/13). Free State won by one wicket.

Boland 244/6 (Ruan Terblanche 108*, Andrew Whaits 53, Ruben Senekal 44; Saahil Khan 2/35, Baadal Parag 2/47); Easterns 166 (Leander Lubbe 54, Neil Bothma 35; Gillad Oved 3/34, Juan Wilson 2/20, Anele Matya 2/39). Boland won by 78 runs.

Mpumalanga 169 (Zuan Swart 45, Lerato Mokoena 28; Heath Richards 4/19, Mesuli Vuba 3/17, Kevin de Kock 2/41); South Western Districts 131 (Tristan Reid 37; Akhulile Makatu 4/35, Anij Nagar 3/14, Zuan Swart 3/37). Mpumalanga won by 38 runs.

Namibia 138 (JC Balt 28, Extras 27; Tiaan Enslin 5/23, Prince Ngobeni 2/22); Limpopo 139/9 (Nhlamulo Mboweni 48*, Extras 29; Ettienne Beukes 3/31, Divan la Cock 2/20). Limpopo won by nine wickets.

Border 150 (Nonelela Yikha 68*; Michael Jantjies 3/33, Boitumelo Melesi 2/20, Orapeleng Mtlhoaring 2/24, Elrich Cloete 2/29); Northern Cape 151/5 (Orapeleng Mtlhoaring 42; Akhona Ratyana 2/23). Northern Cape won by five wickets.

Thursday, 19 December 2019

An unparalleled cricket nursery

The 26th High Schools cricket week since the unification of South African Cricket in 1994, is being played in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands this week, although the tournament has been running, in various guises, since 1940.

It has never been hosted by the KZN Inland union before, but it has been in this part of the country before, most recently in 2013 when Kearsney College was the venue and KZN Coastal the host province. That week will be remembered as the one at which Kagiso Rabada announced himself and, five years later he was the number one bowler in the world. South Africa won the 2014 ICC under-19 World Cup, with the majority of the players in their ranks, having appeared at the Khaya Majola Week the year before. Rabada was the undoubted star of the week, along with Aiden Markram who, ironically, did not play in the Khaya Majola Week.

That fact emphasises the importance of the Khaya Majola Week as a nursery of international cricketers, while making the important point that missing selection at this level is not the end of the world for a young cricketer.

That said, the record shows that the majority of Protea players in the various formats of the game who have been capped since 1994 played at the week and just about every one of the team currently in action against England appeared there.

In all 91 graduates of the week have gone on the represent the country including the most recent crop - Anrich Nortje, George Linde, Zubayr Hamza, Bjorn Fortuin, Senuran Muthusamy, Sinethemba Qeshile and Lutho Sipamla.

Whereas the majority of South African Schools players have come from a relatively small number of schools – the top three are Grey High School (24), Grey College (16) and King Edward VII School (15) – the picture is changing as Cricket South Africa’s efforts to transform the sport and provide opportunities to all players begin to bear fruit.

The talent development pipeline has been widened though the establishment of Regional Performance Centres (RPCs) and Development Hubs in rural areas and through the designation of schools where potential has been identified but who are struggling as CSA Focus Schools who receive assistance from the association.

Players emerging from those structures are being picked up by the mainstream cricketing schools and are being offered bursaries, and are being included in CSA’s talent acceleration programmes.

East London’s Hudson Park High School is a Focus School that is making an impact. Nine SA Schools players have come from the school since 2014, putting them 9th on the list of schools producing SA Schools caps. Sinethemba Qeshile, selected for the Proteas T20 team in 2019, is a product of the school.

There are graduates of the talent acceleration programme in many of the teams who are in action in the Midlands this year and, no doubt, a few of them are destined for higher honours.

The full list of Proteas players who have come through the Khaya Majola Week since 1994 is:

1 Neil McKenzie, 2 Zander de Bruyn, 3 Mark Boucher, 4 Nantie Hayward, 5 Makhaya Ntini, 6 David Terbrugge, 7 Loots Bosman, 8 Victor Mpitsang, 9 Boeta Dippenaar, 10 Johan van der Wath, 11 Jacques Rudolph, 12 Mfuneko Ngam, 13 Justin Ontong, 14 Robin Peterson, 15 Jon Kent, 16 Albie Morkel, 17 Graeme Smith, 18 Johan Botha, 19 Monde Zondeki, 20 Ashwen Prince, 21 Thami Tsolekile, 22 Johan Louw, 23 Justin Kemp, 24 Alviro Petersen, 25 Garnett Kruger, 26 Andre Nel, 27 Dewald Pretorius, 28 Friedel De Wet, 29 Dale Steyn, 30 Hashim Amla, 31 JP Duminy, 32 AB de Villiers, 34 Morne Morkel, 35 Ryan McLaren, 36 Rory Kleinveldt, 37 Vernon Philander, 38 Morne Van Wyk, 39 Andrew Puttick, 40 Richard Levi, 41 Faf du Plessis, 42 Colin Ingram, 43 Roelof Van der Merwe, 44 Vaughn Van Jaarsveld, 45 Imraan Kahn, 46 Wayne Parnell, 47 Rusty Theron, 48 Lonwabo Tsotsobe, 49 David Miller, 50 Dean Elgar, 51 Kyle Abbott, 52 Quinton de Kock, 53 Henry Davids, 54 Marchant de Lange, 55 Aaron Phangiso, 56 Farhaan Berhadien, 57 Dewald Pretorius, 58 Stiaan Van Zyl, 59 Dane Piedt, 60 Bueran Hendricks, 61 Rilee Rossouw, 62 Simon Harmer, 63 David Wiese, 64 Mthokozi Shezi, 65 Reeza Hendricks, 66 Kagiso Rabada, 67 Dane Villas, 68 Temba Bavuma, 69 Eddie Leie, 70 Chris Morris, 71 Tabriaz Shamsi, 72 Andile Phuhlukwayo, 73 Keshav Maharaj, 74 Dwaune Pretorius, 75 Heino Kuhn, 76 Dane Paterson, 77 Duanne Olivier, 78 Magasilo Moshele, 79 Jon Jon Smuts, 80 Lungi Ngidi, 81 Theunis de Bruyn, 82 Wiaan Mulder, 83 Khaya Zondo, 84 Gihahn Cloete, 85 Rassie Van Dussen, 86 Anrich Nortje, 87 George Linde, 88 Zubayr Hamza, 89 Bjorn Fortuin, 90 Senuran Muthusamy, 91 Sinethemba Qeshile, Lutho Sipamla.
Day three of the Khaya Majola Week sees each team play two T20 matches. The summarised scorecards of Wednesday’s clashes are:

Morning games

Gauteng 166/5 (Heinrigh Pieterse 65, Jack Lees 43, Michael Copeland 39*); Easterns 130/8 (Neil Bothma 50, WP Myburgh 36*; Heinrigh Pieterse 3/24). Gauteng won by 36 runs.

Northerns 184/5 (Simeon de Bruyn 78, Hanu Viljoen 40; Nathan Wolff 1/18); Border 126/3 (Stuart Els 41, Watson Challen 35, Emihle Mgoqi 22*; Zeeshan Ismail 1/10). Northerns won by 58 runs.

KwaZulu-Natal 138/9 (Cade Carmichael 34, Jeremy Martins 24; Tyrese Karelse 3/13, Kevin de Kock 2/21); South Western Districts 140/6 (Heath Richards 48, Tyrese Karelse 36; Jeremy Martins 3/11). South Western Districts won by four wickets.

Eastern Province 125/6 (Sonwabile Tshona 40, Aiden Meyer 27, James Mullins 26; Nicol Loftie-Eaton 2/21); Namibia 85/9 (Ramon Wilmot 25, Dian Neethling 21; Aiden Meyer 4/7, Siphesihle Madlongolwana 3/11). Eastern Province won by 40 runs.

KwaZulu-Natal Inland 152/4 (Andile Simelane 45, Nicholas Hatten 42, Jaques van der Walt 38*); Northern Cape 112/6 (Foster Lubbe 31, Orapeleng Mtlhoaring 25, Boitumelo Melesi 24; Michael Frost 2/17). KwaZulu-Natal Inland won by 40 runs.

Boland 128/4 (Ruan Terblanche 53*, Andrew Whaits 30, Ruben Senekal 23; Jannie Claassens 2/15); North West 129/2 (Estiaan Schonveldt 71*, Phemelo Sepati 34; Achille Cloete 1/11). North West won by eight wickets.

Mpumalanga 92 (Wali Vayani 32; Ruan Cronjé 3/8, Pheko Moletsane 3/11, Aphiwe Nqwani 3/22); Free State 96/2 (Reeza Alexander 50*, Corné Viljoen 25; Akhulile Makatu 1/20). Free State won by eight wickets.

Limpopo 57 (Nhlamulo Mboweni 30; Raees Carr 4/8); Western Province 58/1 (Isma-eel Prince 19; Dewald Dumon 1/8). Western Province won by nine wickets.

Afternoon games

Boland 157/3 (Andrew Whaits 65, Ruben Senekal 46*, Juan Wilson 29*; Mauritius Ngupita 1/16); Namibia 110/8 (Dian Neethling 32, Divan la Cock 22, Nicol Loftie-Eaton 20; Anele Matya 3/18, Gillad Oved 2/28). Boland won by 47 runs.

Free State 136/5 (Pheko Moletsane 32*, Aphiwe Nqwani 28, Marco de Kock 24; Badaal Parag 2/25, Nsizwa Motsogi 2/27); Easterns 88/6 (Leander Lubbe 37; Brian Thaele 1/11, Michael Kershaw 1/13). Easterns won by four wickets (D/L-method).

Gauteng 138/9 (Cameron Rowe 36, Heinrigh Pieterse 33; Slindile Radebe 2/19, Zuan Swart 2/22, Jacques Vosloo 2/30); Mpumalanga 72/6 (Wali Vayani 20, Neil Henning 20; Lucky Nhleko 3/18). Gauteng won by 23 runs (D/L-method).

KwaZulu-Natal Inland 107/8 (Nicholas Hatten 50, Andile Zondi 29; Kevin de Kock 4/23, Heath Richards 3/6); South Western Districts 76/2 (Jhedli van Briesies 31, Lleyton Avontuur 30; Mondli Khumalo 1/10). KwaZulu-Natal Inland won by seven runs (D/L-method).

Limpopo 76 (Thomas Mayes 22; Christiaan Oberholzer 5/22, Kagiso Ngwenya 4/15); Northerns 77/1 (Jordan Hermann 35*, Christiaan Oberholzer 31; Ricardo Booysen 1/13). Northerns won by nine wickets.

North West 124/7 (Christopher de Freitas 58, Francois Viviers 21*; Tiaan van Vuuren 2/21); Eastern Province 125/2 (Nicholas Keevy 59*, Luke Beaufort 36; Odirile Modikoane 1/20). Eastern Province won by eight wickets.

Border 130/7 (Stuart Els 30, Butsha Mfazwe 29, Emihle Mgoqi 28; Ali Shaik 2/21, Guy Sheena 2/24); Western Province 61/1 (Jonathan Bird 27*; Nathan Wolff 1/18). Western Province won by nine wickets (D/L-method).

Northern Cape 131/6 (Erlank Barnard 74*, Foster Lubbe 23; Jordan Hendrikse 2/29); KwaZulu-Natal 113/8 (Jeremy Martins 44, Cade Carmichael 23; Boitumelo Melesi 2/8, Michael Jantjies 2/15). KwaZulu-Natal won by two wickets (D/L-method).