Affies: 65 (Goldstones); Jeppe: 83* (Goldstones); Hudson Park: 85 (Goldstones); St Andrews Grahamstown: 24 (Eston).
That was Maritzburg College grade 9 (standard 7) boy Bradley Hope’s 2014 – and only – Oppenheimer Michaelmas Cricket Week
Then 100 not out in Brad’s last match for the Maritzburg College first XI, on Goldstones, vs Glenwood, who had the outstanding schoolboy Andile Phehlukwayo in their side.
Feature image: Grade 9, Maritzburg College first XI, 2014: Bradley Hope, an elegant batsman beyond his years.
That was Bradley Hope in 2014 – in grade 9 – before he moved to Australia with his family.
And it’s just 12 days away from the 59th edition of the longest-running invitation schoolboy cricket week in the country.
The 2018 Oppenheimer Michaelmas Cricket Week sees its sponsor, Jonathan Oppenheimer, backing the week in order to keep costs down, for the 15th consecutive year.
Back to Brad: We will never know the extent to which Bradley Hope might have re-written the record books at Maritzburg College had he completed his remaining three school years at the Red Black and White.
Beginning grade 10 at Christ Church Grammar School in 2015, Durban Prep boy Brad has continued climbing the cricket ladder. More about that later.
Brad’s four knocks at the 2014 Oppenheimer Michaelmas Cricket Week as a recently-turned 15-year-old will stay with me a long time, as will his 100* in his last match on Goldstones.
An elegant batsman with a textbook technique, and an outstanding swing and seam bowler at brisk pace, Brad also had a cricket brain far beyond his years.
Content to play himself in, 12-plus deliveries with just a run or two to his name would – before you knew it – translate into an 80 in 60 or 70 balls – an array of shots straight out of the MCC coaching manual.
So when virtually all boys his age in top-tier cricket schools were playing U15 cricket, Brad Hope scored 257 Oppenheimer Michaelmas Cricket Week runs for the Maritzburg College first XI – against Affies, Jeppe, Hudson Park and St Andrews College Grahamstown – at an average of 86 per innings.
And that 100 not out in a losing cause against a rampant Phehlukwayo-driven Glenwood, who won that day, was in my book the best knock of them all.
Over to Bradley Hope from Perth:
“Hi Jon, yes I played in Michaelmas in 2014 and can remember nearly the whole Maritzburg College first XI; Lwandiswa Zuma, Sohail Mahmoud, Denham Shepstone, David Small, Jean de Wet, Matthew Dicks to name a few.
“The coach was Mr Mike Smith. He helped me massively with the mental side of the game and preparing me for cricket beyond school.”
Brad, what was special about Oppenheimer Michaelmas Cricket Week?
“It was pretty cool having all the teams staying at College and getting to talk to guys from other schools you wouldn’t normally speak to. It was also really good to play 4 games in 4 days against top schools from other provinces.
“Maritzburg College was special because of the passion everyone has for the school and the bond you create with the other boys because you spend so much time with each other.”
Brad finished his secondary education in 2017 at Christ Church Grammar School and is now at the University of Western Australia reading for a Bachelor of Commerce degree.
Brad, how is your cricketing journey going in Australia?
“It’s been going really well. School cricket isn’t as important as it is in South Africa. It’s all about club cricket.
“Australia has been great so far, it took a bit of getting used but once we settled down it’s been good. The biggest thing I miss is spending time with family.
“I’ve been really lucky to have played for the Western Australia senior second XI, the Australia U19 team and I also got a rookie contract for the Perth Scorchers in The Big Bash League (the Australian Professional Twenty20 cricket league).
“And recently I went with the (Western Australia Sheffield Shield) Warriors squad on their pre-season camp to Brisbane.”
Phew. Keep it up Brad, we’re all backing you to wear the Aussie Baggy Green cap one day soon.