Saturday’s inclement weather put paid to the cricket and basketball fixtures between KZN10.com schools Kearsney College and Clifton College but there was a terrific first team water polo contest to wash away the blues.
Herewith a report from Kearsney:
Kearsney’s 1st water polo team played their final game of the season against Clifton on Saturday. The two sides were finalists in the recent Top 10 tournament which ended in a draw after full time and which Clifton won in the ensuing penalty shootout.
Tracey van den Aardweg feature image: Kearsney captain Tyson Andrews notched a hat-trick against Clifton on Saturday.
Expectations for this game weren’t high as Kearsney were playing their Stayers team, whereas Clifton opted to play their full team – which includes five KZN U19A players.
Both teams started tentatively, with Kearsney scoring the first goal through captain Tyson Andrews, but that was quickly cancelled out by a score from Clifton.
The teams then traded goals regularly with Kearsney goalkeeper Brett van Noordwyk keeping his team in the race with some excellent saving – and Kearsney’s Wesley Marshall scoring two superb goals to head into the break 3-3.
The 2nd chukka was tight with neither team being able to break the deadlock for the first six minutes. Kearsney’s 1st choice centre back Oscar Burgess-Barker was out through injury and things looked ominous when his stand-in, Tom Carmody, had to leave the water for medical attention after a blow to the eye.
However, that only seemed to invigorate the Kearsney Grade 9 as, once Tom returned, he had an excellent game – stealing the ball virtually at will from far more senior players.
Clifton managed to edge ahead 4-3 but that sparked a flurry of goals as Kearsney struck back with a goal from Luke Ambler-Smith followed by two counter-attack goals for Clifton to keep them 6-4 ahead at half-time.
The 3rd chukka started well for Clifton as they scored first to push them three goals clear and it was looking as if the momentum had shifted their way.
Kearsney’s Wes Marshall had different ideas though, and scored his third to give his side some hope. Clifton struck back, but Kearsney simply would not lie down and scored twice with Ambler-Smith completing his brace.
Kearsney were back in the game. Unfortunately for them, Clifton scored from a well-taken extra man to finish the chukka 9-7 ahead.
Once again the teams were deadlocked for the first half of the final chukka with Marshall coming close twice. A cheeky effort from Carmody broke the deadlock but was quickly cancelled out by another from Clifton.
Skipper Tyson Andrews netted his second to keep Kearsney in the hunt at 11-9. But Clifton were fortunate to get a penalty from a technicality and took the score to 12-9 with a minute to play. Andrews completed his hat-trick but it was in vain as Clifton ran out 12-10 winners.
Despite the loss, Kearsney can be very pleased with an excellent performance by their young team against one of the top schoolboy teams in the country.
Three of the four chukkas were drawn, and Kearsney have not scored more goals against Clifton before. It bodes well for Kearsney water polo in the years ahead.
The Michaelhouse Canoe Club have been crowned provincial inter-schools’ league champions despite being pipped into second place in Saturday’s Gotcha Dice at Camps Drift, writes Michaelhouse director of marketing Murray Witherspoon.
Ross Leslie was placed second overall in the U18 category while Reuben Baldry finished in overall third position in the U16s. The future of Michaelhouse canoeing looks good with Rob Butcher, Peter Hein, and Rupert Henderson dominating all their podium places in the U14 age group on the league table.
It was a mixed bag of first team summer sport results against old rivals Hilton College over the weekend.
First team basketball made it three from three against Hilton in 2019 with a commanding 82-65 win. In turn, Hilton College were as imperious in the pool enjoying a 9-4 win; and on the pitch, cantering to an 8-wicket victory on the Jack Hart-Davis Oval.
Depth in the open age groups is a feature of cricket at Michaelhouse with the second, third and fourth XIs recording good wins over Hilton.
The U15A clash was one of just three fixtures hampered by damp conditions on the weekend but the U15B (3 runs) and U15C (9 wickets) results both went the way of Michaelhouse. Hilton chalked up wins in both U14 age group games.
Hilton applied pressure on Michaelhouse’s basketball teams, winning three of the seven open fixtures, including a 44-21 win over Michaelhouse in the second team clash.
Hilton bagged wins in all four of the U15 matches including avenging their first-quarter loss in the U15A encounter. The House U14A lads were the only team in that age group to come away with a win (56-21) win over Hilton on the day.
The Kearsney College premier teams’ sports weekend was blue-chip basketball status and oh-so-close in the water polo final while the cricket could have been better, albeit against a Hilton College first XI that many regard as the strongest all-round team in the province and in the top echelon in the country.
Tracey van den Aardweg featured image: Tyson Andrews was named as Kearsney’s Most Valuable Player at the Northwood Stayers Tournament over the weekend.
Kearsney 1st XI 176 (Dylan Hulett 57, Louis Nel 48; Michael Booth 3/49 and a fifer for John Turner 5-37)
Hilton 1st XI 177/2 in 27 overs (Chris Meyer 65 not out, Nick Hatton 59 – for 1000 runs in a calendar year)
Hilton won by 8 wickets
Kearsney faced a formidable foe in the powerful Hilton outfit on Saturday and decided to take the bull by the horns, batting first after securing the toss. It was hoped that they could post a decent total, thereby generating some scoreboard pressure.
Kearsney enjoyed a dream start that few – if any teams – have been able to achieve against the potent Hilton pace attack. At (a scarcely believable) total of 61/1 after 5 overs- with a remarkable 48 off 30 balls from an on-fire Louis Nel – Kearsney could not have even imagined such a commanding position to be in.
However, the sheer pace of Hilton captain and genuine all-rounder Michael Booth (3/52) and head boy John Turner (5/37) was a game-changing factor. The tight leg-spin bowling of Colby Dyer also played a major role on a flat deck, which ultimately restricting free scoring.
Louis Nel’s upfront batting blitzkrieg aside, a patient, workmanlike 57 from the cricket-maturing Dylan Hulett was the only other significant contribution from what ultimately became a Kearsney innings under siege from what is arguably the best all-round bowling attack in SA first XI schoolboy cricket.
The Hilton bowling/fielding/catching pressure seldom lets a team off the hook – apart from the occasional unplayable Jaffa deliveries, wickets also fall due to injudicious shot selection brought about by the unrelenting pressure, and wickets also fall at crucial phases of the opponents’ innings.
Set a target of 177 in 45 overs, Hilton set about their task with intent and got the necessary runs with 108 balls still left in the bank.
Outstanding knocks from a long overdue Chris Meyer (65*) who has threatened many a time this season only to undo the initial great work, and grade 10 Nick Hatton (59) raced the Hiltonians across the line with a basketful of overs to spare.
It was yet another impressive Hilton display of batting, bowling and fielding… and this consistent Hilton side underlined once again why they are regarded as one of the top all-round cricket teams in the country.
* In this just his first year in the Hilton College first XI, Nick Hatton’s half-century saw the grade 10 go past the milestone 1 000 runs in a calendar year.
And with Hilton’s last first XI contest of 2019 still to come – the marquee Hilton/Michaelhouse match on Hilton’s Jack Hart-Davis Oval on Saturday, November 9 – allow us cricketing purists the hope that Nick’s rich vein of form continues.
Kearsney beat Hilton 57-39
Kearsney hosted Hilton College in the penultimate basketball game of the 2019 season for the schools’ premier teams. It started with a fast and furious exchange of baskets before the pace seemed to fizzle as the teams adjusted to the noisy fans and began to execute their game plans.
In the first quarter, Hilton had the best of the early exchanges; with Kearsney steadying the ship and applying better defensive pressure in the latter stage. Kearsney were able to score some easy baskets off Hilton’s defensive lapses in concentration, the first quarter ending 12-6 in Kearsney’s favour.
The second quarter saw a resurgence from Hilton, who seemed energised by the crowd, while Kearsney were unable to respond on defensive or offensive ends. Hilton won the second quarter 12-11 and played their best basketball of the match.
Kearsney regrouped at halftime, coming out focused to take command of the match in winning both the third (17-9) and fourth (17-12) quarters.
The fourth quarter saw a number of injuries to key Kearsney players, forcing them to rely on bench players to see out the game.
Kearsney’s depth of players has been one of their strengths this season and this was proved again in a match that was brutal at times because of the physicality as well as the sweltering heat.
It was not Kearsney’s best performance to date, but they managed to regroup and play with more intensity in the second half. Kearsney won the match 57-39, continuing their impressive win record at home.
Kearsney: Max Hastings-Brown (24 points, 18 rebounds); Oludolapo Morakinyo (7 points); Samkelo Jiyane and Aaron Smith (6 points each)
Hilton: Kwanda Mkhize (11 points); Johan van der Merwe (8 points)
Kearsney played in the Northwood Knights Stayers Tournament over the weekend. Buoyed by their recent success in making the Top 10 final, they were keen to gauge if the Stayers could live up to the high standards set by the 2019 first team.
Kearsney made a good start on Friday, beating the Invitational and Glenwood teams 12-5 and 10-7, setting them up for Saturday games against their opponents from the Top 10 quarter-final (Maritzburg College) and final (Clifton).
A convincing performance against Maritzburg College in the morning saw Kearsney run out 10-6 winners; followed by a well-disciplined 7-3 win against Clifton College, who were missing several players. This put Kearsney on course to play the hosts in the semis.
Clifton managed to set up a re-match with Kearsney for the quarter-final. Clifton were more up to the task this time and pushed Kearsney all the way. In the end, however, Kearsney were too strong and booked their place in the final by completing their double over Clifton 7-5 to go with the earlier 7-3.
The final was between Kearsney and Reddam Helderburg, who had cruised through their matches, winning each by six or more goals.
Kearsney may have been underdogs, but after a tense 1st chukka which ended 2-2, they raced to a 4-2 lead in the 2nd. The 3rd chukka saw Kearsney lose their discipline, allowing Reddam back into the game and to get ahead 5-4.
The last chukka was hard-fought, with Kearsney striking back to even things out. Shortly thereafter, Reddam scored a brace of extra-man goals. Kearsney were creating chances but couldn’t convert.
A good Kearsney long shot helped keep the pressure on Reddam, but it was too little, too late and Reddam held on for a 7-6 win.
* Kearsney College’s Brett van Noordwyk was named Best Goalkeeper of the Northwood Stayers Tournament while Kearsney captain Tyson Andrews (both grade 11) was named as his team’s Most Valuable Player (MVP).
Their excellent performances – and that of the team – suggests that Kearsney College water polo is in safe hands.
Maritzburg College’s cricket, basketball and water polo teams were in action this weekend with most of the fixtures at home against St Charles College.
College’s cricket teams won 9 of the 15 matches played over the weekend most of which were against St Charles, although 5 of the games were abandoned due to lightning.
1st XI team report (Kyle Nipper)
The Maritzburg College 1st XI lost the toss and were asked to bowl. College dominated the start of the game – some brilliant fast bowling from openers Mondli Khumalo and Andile Simelane reducing St Charles to 19/3.
Featured pic: Maritzburg College’s last first XI match of the year.
St Charles then made a recovery through a superb partnership of close to 150 between Jason Login and captain Wes Madhevere before a one-handed diving Kent Goedeke catch got the breakthrough.
At 166/4 St Charles were in a commanding position but the College bowlers then pegged things back with great control to eventually dismiss Saints for 205 with seamer Sanele Mbatha finishing 3/24.
The College chase got off to a good start with openers Tristan Elam and Andrew Todd scoring quickly and freely, getting College to 71 without loss before Elam got out. A few partnerships got College into a strong position at 139/4, needing 67 runs in 14 overs before rain interrupted the game and brought it to an end with no result.
Summary of Results
|3rd||won by 6 wickets (Gace 61*)|
|4th||won by 4 wickets (Engelbrecht 71)|
|5th||won by 72 runs|
|6th||won by 81 runs (Schultz 70*)|
|15A||match abandoned(Jacobs 60*)|
|15B||match abandoned (Murray 81, De Bilo 69)|
|15C||won by 22 runs (Hamilton 52)|
|15D||won by 6 wickets|
|14A||match abandoned (Armstrong 5/23)|
|14B||won by 7 wickets|
|14C||lost by 40 runs|
|14D||won by 22 runs|
|14E||won by 53 runs|
Basketball’s 17 games were mostly against St Charles with College winning 14 of the games with great crowd support, especially of the 1st team game.
1st team report (Jenny Orchard)
The stage was set for a very exciting encounter as St Charles were ready to avenge their first term defeat. St Charles made their intentions clear in the first quarter with fast breaks and successful baskets and they soon built up a 10-point lead with College trailing 3-13 at the end of the first period.
College then played as a team and passed the ball around to create more opportunities and the boys started finding their feet, attacking the baskets and became comfortable with their shooting.
Tapelo Mthombeni got his stroke on form and ended up as College’s top scorer. After he shot the first 3-pointer College players came back with fire, ending the quarter with a one-point difference.
The game was now on with St Charles realising that things were not going to be as easy as they had hoped. College team fouls came into play and this had a detrimental effect on the lead that College had gained.
Despite the vociferous encouragement from the College supporters, St Charles managed to win the game with free throws.
Of the 17 matches against St Charles, College won 14 and lost 3.
Summary of Results
|1st||St Charles||54 – 58||Lost|
|2nd||St Charles||32 – 44||Lost|
|3rd||St Charles||36 – 24||Won|
|4th||St Charles||26 – 27||Lost|
|5th||St Charles||18 – 17||Won|
|16A||St Charles||30 – 19||Won|
|16B||St Charles||51 – 27||Won|
|16C||St Charles||20 – 18||Won|
|16D||St Charles||20 – 16||Won|
|15A||St Charles||58 – 36||Won|
|15B||St Charles||23 – 15||Won|
|15C||St Charles||31 – 9||Won|
|15D||St Charles||46 – 6||Won|
|14A||St Charles||21 – 14||Won|
|14B||St Charles||28 – 17||Won|
|14C||St Charles||29 – 13||Won|
|14D||St Charles||34 – 2||Won|
|SUMMARY vs SCC|
The College 1st team participated in the Northwood Stayers tournament over the weekend.
The other College water polo teams played St Charles, with College winning all four of the games.
1st team report (Darren Sherriff)
College were in a preliminary round Group that consisted of Glenwood, Clifton, Kearsney and an Invitational team.
College 1st team’s first game was against Glenwood, which was a slow start for the RedBlackWhite, having to fight back from being 1-0 down in the first chukka. College then played well and came out victors 7-3.
In the next game the RedBlackWhite played Clifton in a tightly-contested match winning 5-3.
In the third pool game College played Kearsney- and it was not the best RedBlackWhite performance with the team going down 5-10. The last pool game was against the Invitational team and College won 7-2.
This put our boys up against Westville in the cross-pool playoff. College pulled off a very tightly contested match 4-3 before meeting Reddam Highlands in the semi-finals, which saw #RedBlackWhite have a really slow start to the game and then trying to play catch-up from being 4-0 down in the first chukka.
College fought back but it was not enough and lost 5-9. In College’s final game, the team played Clifton again and were able to keep the opposition at bay by winning 4-2, placing 3rd in the tournament.
Summary of Results
|College vs Glenwood:7 -3||won|
|College vs Clifton : 5 – 3||won|
|College vs Kearsney: 5 -10||lost|
|College vs Invitational: 7 – 2||won|
|College vs Westville: 4 – 3||lost|
|College vs Highlands: 5 – 9||lost|
|College vs Clifton: 4-2||won|
|College finished 3rd|
College vs St Charles
|2nd||St Charles||8 – 2||Won||Makhathini||4 x 5 playing|
|3rd||St Charles||13 – 2||Won||Warr||4 x 5 playing|
|15A||St Charles||12 – 4||Won||Sutherland||4 x 5 playing|
|14A||St Charles||12 – 7||Won||Waters||4 x 5 playing|
In the SA Combined Schools U19 semi-final penalty shootout against Cape North A at Bedfordview the KZN A goalkeeper Thandolwethu “Ollie” Zondi saved 3 spot-kicks for his province to win 3-2 on penalties.
In the KZN A vs KZN B final, at 4-4 in the penalty shootout, Ollie Zondi saved KZN B’s 5th penalty before bouncing back up to score the winning penalty himself! For KZN A to win the SA Combined Schools soccer title 5-4 on penalties.
Feature image: Ollie Zondi before his goalkeeping heroics in the heart-stopping penalty shoot on Goldstones when Maritzburg College regained the Raw Cup from DHS.
That eye-catching penalty-stopping ability, particularly in a penalty shootout, the most critical stage of a match which has gone that route, with the outcome resting on the (goal)line (if you’ll pardon the pun), plus Ollie’s goalkeeping prowess and imperious “ownership” of “his” piece of real estate, the big box, in regulation play, were key factors in the selectors’ decision to pick Ollie for the SA Combined Schools U19 team as well as naming him Goalkeeper of the Tournament.
‘Whilst others dream of scoring goals, I am that different guy, who dreams of saving them’
Ollie, the Maritzburg College first soccer team goalkeeper was also superb in the penalty shootouts that clinched the PMB High Schools Football Association second term MTN League final – and he did it again on Goldstones for the Red, Black and White to take the Raw Cup, the oldest KZN inter-school sports trophy, away from arch-rivals and Cowie Cup winners DHS, arguably the best first team outfit in the province.
So, he’s “not too shabby” hey Nige…?! So, Maritzburg College director of soccer and #RedBlackWhite first team head coach Daniel Haswell, what’s your assessment of Ollie the goalkeeper?
“My opinion of Ollie the goalkeeper? That’s easy, Jono. A lot of players say they want to play professionally and so on but what sets Ollie apart is that he focused first on training and improving. I’ve never seen a goalkeeper so dedicated to training, he trains like an absolute beast!
“And, Jono, we never made it easy for him; in fact we purposely make it tough because that is the way to test the boys – to see if they have what it takes. Their attitude to training is so important.
“Here I must credit Maritzburg College specialist goalkeeper coach Caniggia Garaba for his training regimen. Sometimes I would look at our GK’s diving at practice on the unforgiving AB Jackson field and shake my head. I got the goalkeepers gym mats and said, ‘Please guys, use these to land on!’.
“An important factor is that Ollie had Luyanda Mawela, also a fine Maritzburg College goalkeeper, constantly pushing him to perform.
“We called Ollie and Luyanda the ‘Goalkeepers’ Union’ because they always supported each other, whichever one was playing, and they would back each other when we [the first team squad and coaching staff] would banter them with comments like, ‘Oh, the goalkeepers are training in the shade again’ or hiding when we were doing conditioning testing.
“The truth of the matter is that no-one trained harder than Ollie – and his performances as well as his impressive physique are proof of that.
“Jono, I also want to add that Ollie saved an incredible 17 out of 50 penalties. It is an incredible penalty-save percentage. If a school first team’s goalkeeper – given the format of many of the competitions we play in at this level – is stopping 1 out of every 3 penalties taken, this gives that team a massive advantage.
“As mentioned, penalty shootouts are an important part of football – especially at schools level with all our cup competitions. They cannot simply be regarded as a ‘lottery’ or ‘pure luck’.
“So we looked at how we could get an advantage out of them. Ollie and (fellow keeper) Luyanda Mawela worked hard at agility and the mental aspect of it and also watching other teams, to see where and how they preferred to take penalties.”
Ok coach Dan, you’ve certainly established Ollie’s credentials as a goalkeeper and a person, so let’s hear Ollie’s story up close and personal.
“Hi Ollie, do you feel this Player of the Tournament award is recognition for the hard work you have put into your goalkeeping this year?”
“Yes, sir. I feel that a lot of hard work at training, on and off the field, plus a lot of help from my coaches and teammates has led me to winning this award.”
“Ollie, so what is it about football that attracted you to the game?
“Sir, I grew up in a family that always loved the sport. The 2010 FIFA World Cup being hosted in South Africa made me realise how big the sport of football was, and I instantly wanted to be part of it. How people from across the world came together to watch the World Cup really attracted me.”
And like the sure-footed shot-stopper he is, Ollie’s response was immediate when asked who have had the biggest influence on his soccer career so far.
“Mr Justin Tocknell was my first-ever coach; he introduced me to goalkeeping and also built my foundation in terms of establishing and setting personal goals. Mr Mba Mlotshwa, a Pelham Senior Primary School teacher and soccer coach, also made a big impression on me.
“At high school Mr Dan Haswell, our Maritzburg College first team head coach, trusted in me and my talent – even after me first playing rugby!
“Mr Haswell took me in and personally got me a goalkeeper coach, Mr Caniggia Garaba, who really started from basics and helped me up my game. Mr Haswell exposed me to a soccer-friendly environment and helped me understand many elements of the game.
“Putting all these parts together has enabled me to play for the Maritzburg College first team for 2 years and to play in 60 first team games. This has taught me that the whole team has put their trust in me to be their last man, so I should also trust each of them in their particular roles.”
Ollie is clear as to what his personal goals in football are, both in the short- and long-term
“My goal is to see myself playing for clubs that are recognised on a national level, to play for teams I grew up watching and supporting, and also to move on to represent my country if possible.”
Ollie, the Maritzburg College first team season this year, what have been the highlights and your disappointments?
“The first team this year was not only a team but a brotherhood. The respect and support the boys gave one another was simply outstanding, so it’s no coincidence that we won 3 trophies. On a personal level, I feel good that I kept 12 clean sheets and saved 17 penalties.
“A major disappointment was not being able to earn my 50th cap for the first team on Maritzburg College Reunion Day, due to unforeseen circumstances.”
Ollie is also chuffed that Maritzburg College has started awarding soccer scholarships. “This will definitely enhance the quality of football at the school.”
After attending Pelham Senior Primary School, Ollie was again sure-footed in taking the next step.
“I chose Maritzburg College due to me seeing how the boys of the school carried themselves. And the school’s name. The great academics and sports were also very influential in my decision.
“Maritzburg College as a school, I would say, is the best in the world. As I said, the academia is one of the best in the country and the sport produces some of our country’s greatest sportsmen.
So Ollie, what has football and goalkeeping taught you about yourself and about life?
“Football as a sport showed me that in order to achieve a certain goal, you need to put in loads of work, be patient, be committed and you also need the help of others to achieve it.
“Goalkeeping showed me that people trust you, and sometimes more than you trust yourself! Your team-mates and coaching staff believe in you, put their beliefs in you, so you need to believe in yourself, too, and also believe in them.”
Ollie’s favourite player is Atletico Madrid and Slovenia goalkeeper Jan Oblak.
“For me, Jan Oblak is the best goalkeeper in the world, yet at the same time he is so humble. He is so down-to-earth, but when it’s game time he lets his talent do the talking. His ability in goals really amazes me.
“Jan Oblak is from a country like mine, that doesn’t have the greatest soccer side compared to the other great footballing countries, but he didn’t let that get in the way of him playing for one of the great teams in Spain and the world.”
To see Ollie Zondi on a soccer pitch, it always struck me that it was akin to watching a great performer on stage. By his engaging persona and sheer presence, Ollie “owns” his team’s penalty area, making it crystal clear to opposition strikers that he’s the boss-man and they’d better be very aware of the statement he’s making.
So I should have known the answer as to what would he like to do or be outside of football!
“I would like to be in the entertainment industry. To be a presenter or an actor. I really love this industry.”
I think we’ve established by now that goalkeeping is Ollie’s preferred position on a soccer pitch.
“I love goalkeeping because whilst others dream of scoring goals, I am that different guy, who dreams of saving them. I feel that a keeper not only keeps his team from conceding a lot of goals, but also keeps his team’s hopes up. If your team trusts you in goals, that’s half of their worries gone and allows them to focus more on scoring.”
So how much time does Ollie put in to improving his football?
“I work whenever I get time to. Most of the time it’s at least 4 times a week. Soccer is the only sport I participate in. In the off-season I will rest more and work at most twice a week.”
Ollie, is there anything else you’d like to add?
“I really would like to add my appreciation and gratitude to my God Almighty, who I believe is at the centre of everything in my life and football. “
Ollie, thank you so much for your patience and time, it’s been an absolute pleasure getting to know you.
“Thank you too sir for showing such an interest in me and coming to watch our games when you could.”
Ok, let’s a last word from Ollie Zondi’s coach, Dan Haswell: – So Dan, does the Ollie Zondi persona change into something else off the field?
“Definitely not, Jono. Off the field, Ollie is an absolute gem as well. He is a great team unifier with the way he talks, and he is always leading the team in songs before and after games.
“Ollie’s got a great future ahead of him, either as a goalkeeper or whatever he chooses to do, because he is a fine young man with a great heart – and the type of boy that we are proud of at Maritzburg College.
A well-known coach at a top-end KZN10 school who also has experience overseas, has this to say about the controversial school sport rankings:
“Hi Jono, the ranking system has created an environment in SA school sport that prioritises winning over development, understanding of the game and sportsmanship.
“I have seen coaches at top sports schools in SA actively promoting cheating on subtle levels; as well as refs and umpires manipulating their favoured team’s winning opportunities… and all to be ranked higher.
“I called a school sports ranking organisation and asked them to explain how they work it out – and it blew my mind.
“It’s based on the previous year’s ranking position for starters! Hogwash!
“Certain coaches in various sports codes at schools in SA will rely on a handful of boys to get the WIN instead of to create a learning environment – in other words, to use winning, losing and the highs and lows to help nurture our young talent to be bigger and better human beings.
“I could go on and on about how the performance of a team and the successes of the processes and culture put in place far outweigh a coach or a team, a boy, a parent or Old Boy walking around saying, ‘We won!’.
“The real question is not, did you win, it’s did you play well?
“The ranking system is fundamentally damaging to coaching, and the players!”
Ever since their introduction by school sport websites, school sports rankings, especially rugby and cricket but across the board now, have drawn massive interest. And massive criticism.
One schoolboy rugby fan told me:
“Rankings should have no place in the schoolboy game, it’s tantamount to child abuse as it puts huge pressure on the boys, albeit subconsciously one might hope, by their coaches to perform.
“There is also pressure heaped on the players by their schoolmates, parents and Old Boys, whether it is chiding them for slipping in the rankings or what is a dangerous case of over-inflating fragile teenage egos by lauding them if their team (and, by extension, the boy’s prowess) is placed high on the rankings.
“What is also very very sad is that so many of my rugger mates take these rankings as Gospel truth, yet it’s surely obvious to these guys, who have a great depth of understanding of the sport as well as a passionate love of schoolboy rugger, especially our great KZN rugger schools, that by their very nature, these so-called rankings are flawed from the word go.
“Why do I say this? It’s very simple. You can’t measure teams unless they all play each other home and away in the same year.
“On top of that, some schools play dozens of matches a year, many of them against weak opposition, which guarantees easy ranking points, while other school first teams play far less matches but against much stronger opposition.
“It’s a bloody farce, yet schools do this on purpose as they use these rankings as massive marketing tools in order to attract the cream of the primary schools’ talent, and with the added carrot of sports scholarships and sports bursaries.
“The sports scholarships and bursaries is another animal that is wrecking the natural balance in our schools.
“Unscrupulous parents even play one school against another in bidding wars so they can squeeze out the biggest amount of tin – and yet again it’s a case of using unsuspecting kids as financial tools for reasons that having nothing to do with the kids’ welfare in the long run.
“Jono I could go on and on, so one last word from me: These are teenage boys – and I see it’s now rapidly infecting our talented young girls – these boys and girls might have precocious talent but; emotionally their talent doesn’t yet match their fragile self-esteem and self-confidence.
“Yet before you know it these kids are blown up as superstars – and the big crowds in the thousands that come to watch schoolboy rugby in particular, just inflate the supposition that they are going to earn millions as soon as they enter senior sport, but the reality is that that most of them will be playing in front of a man and his dog after school.”
“And what happens? They give up playing and join the varsity pub crowd.
“Jono, I’ve said enough for the moment, and your asking my opinion has put me in a bad mood before my day has even started!
“Seriously, Jono, I’m glad you asked because you’ve given me a platform to vent my frustrations as a father, an Old Boy and a passionate schoolboy sports lover.
“Rankings are a cancer, but how does one get rid of them before they do even more damage?”
I asked another passionate schoolboy sports lover, who is a high school parent, and probably the most balanced bloke I know, what his thoughts were.
He was in a rush but his carefully considered opinion is one that I respect, and that goes for just about anything and everything.
“Jono, to be very honest I like the ranking system. I could elaborate further when I have some time.”
So, two opposing views.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS TOPIC?
I’d love to know.
Kearsney College have had an outstanding weekend of sporting results in cricket, basketball, water polo and a squash tour to the Western Cape.
In addition, there are also three provincial cricket selections.
Tracey van den Aardweg feature image: Kearsney captain Josh Muller’s team were involved in an unforgettable KZN Top 10 final with the giants of water polo Clifton College.
Kearsney won the toss on a flat track and chose to bowl first to extract any early morning seam and bounce. It was soon evident that big totals would be the order of the day, yet there was also something in it for bowlers willing to toil hard.
Glenwood made steady progress despite losing wickets regularly. C Laycock (70) and M Halstead (41) were the pick of their batters. A 72-run partnership between L Moran and R Naidoo at the tail enabled Glenwood to finish on a formidable 250.
Excellent figures from Kearsney’s Matthew Murray (4/26) and Jared Brien (4/28) on the batter-friendly pitch ensured that Glenwood did not get 300.
Kearsney, a bowler light, set out to chase down the 250, backing themselves to do so with the extra batter. They did not start well, but with the classy Cade Carmichael in at the halfway mark, things looked positive.
Needing 160 off the last 25, with wickets in hand, it promised to be a riveting finish. And so, it was. Kearsney made 251/8 in the 48th over with two wickets in hand, thereby winning a very tense contest which ebbed and waned throughout. Carmichael (94), Chase Kelly (52) and Thomas Constable (31*) were the main contributors.
A substantial crowd witnessed an impressive run chase and the fierce competition between the two sides, interspersed with excellent individual performances, underlined why schoolboy sport is still a major drawcard.
Glenwood 1st X1 250/8 (Laycock 60, Halstead 41; Brien 4/28 Murray 4/26)
Kearsney 1st X1 254/8 (Carmichael 94, Kelly 52, Constable 31 n.o.)
Kearsney won by 2 wickets
Kearsney 1st team’s game against Glenwood was a decidedly one-sided match, with Kearsney coming away victors 116-11.
Kearsney played well from the start and the hapless Glenwood team were unable to prevent their opponents from scoring. The defensive intensity of the Kearsney team also forced a number of turnovers from the Glenwood team, which they were able to convert to easy baskets.
Oludolapo Morakinyo (20 points, 4 assists, 4 steals), Siyabonga Mpontshane (18 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists), Ryan Wimbush (18 points), Max-Hastings Brown (10 points, 9 rebounds), Lefa Motshele and Michael Delport (10 points)
Kearsney 1st team reached the final of the U19 KZN Top 10 water polo tournament held at Clifton over the weekend, eventually losing to the hosts on sudden death penalties after a 6-6 score at full time.
Kearsney beat Reddam and DHS, losing their next pool match against Clifton 5-4 in an extremely hard-fought affair. They then had to dig deep to beat Michaelhouse.
Kearsney showed good discipline to win Sunday’s quarter final against Maritzburg College 7-5; putting them into the semi-final where they beat Hilton.
Kearsney started well, racing to a 3-goal lead. Hilton fought back but Kearsney stayed ahead with a disciplined defence. The final few minutes were tense with a couple of errors costing Kearsney goals, but they had done enough earlier and held out for a very satisfying 7-6 win.
The final started similarly, with Kearsney playing a controlled first chukka and going 2 ahead through Luc le Clezio and Ox Carmody.
Clifton pulled one back but that was cancelled out the next attack by a scorcher from Wesley Marshall. Clifton’s superior fitness started to tell in the 3rd chukka with two goals in consecutive attacks. Kearsney looked to be struggling but Le Clezio put in a long-range goal to keep them in front.
The 4th chukka was incredibly tense as Clifton’s relentless counter attacks started to pay off, and they scored two goals to edge ahead. Superb defensive efforts from Josh Muller and goalkeeper Brett van Noordwyk kept Kearsney in the game.
Tyson Andrews then netted his first goal, despite Clifton’s full attention to even the scores at 4-4 with 2½ mins to go. As the clock wound down it seemed no-one would break the deadlock, but with 14 secs left, Andrews scored a magnificent backshot to send Kearsney into raptures.
There was still more drama. Clifton called a timeout with 14 secs of the game left, using a new rule which allows the goalkeeper over the halfway line. The Clifton goalkeeper swam the ball up and, with Kearsney having to mark the other players, scored with a stunning shot to equalise at the buzzer.
The game then went to penalties with both teams scoring 4 and missing 1, after which it went to sudden death. Unfortunately for Kearsney, the fairy-tale ending was not to be, as they missed their 1st penalty to hand Clifton the title again.
Ox Carmody received his 100th 1st team cap for the Michaelhouse match.
Kearsney 1st squash team travelled to Cape Town to play in the annual Wynberg Stayers Festival over the weekend, and returned unbeaten, with Kamo Bikwane and Luke van Eeden both being undefeated through the festival.
The festival draws some of the top boys’ teams from around the country. Teams attending comprise boys from Grades 8-11, making it a great pre-season opportunity to prepare for the 2020 season.
Beat Kingswood College 6-0
Beat SACS 4-2
Beat St Johns College 3-3 (won on games count)
Beat York High School, George 6-0
Beat St Stithians 5-1
PROVINCIAL SELECTIONS: CRICKET
Kearsney has three players selected for KZN Coastal cricket teams.
U18: Jordan Bamber and Cade Carmichael (still U17)
U17: Joshua Stocks
The Maritzburg College first XV are set to take on Eltham College at 8pm (SA time) in the first match of their tour to England and Wales.
This tour update is brought to you by official tour operators, the Howick-based Bundu Bashers Travel.
desdot photography feature image of (from left) Kaide Morsink, head coach Cameron Fraser,Kent Goedeke and Payton Elliot putting the final touches together in the tour party’s last training session on Goldstones before flying out on Saturday evening.
Here’s what head coach Cameron Fraser told KZN10.com earlier today.
“The flight was tiring, a bit strenuous, we arrived in England just after 2pm yesterday and proceeded to Eltham College where the boys were hosted out, and we had a training session this morning.
“Their side was unbeaten last year and obviously their side today has a lot of juniors, like us; they played a match on Saturday, their third of the English season.
“Our players are in a transition phase, they have been playing cricket and water polo, we have had to make do and had two training sessions per week.
“The weather here has been a bit drizzly, but it’s dried up now, so just overcast and cool.
“The boys have been in good spirits, and started playing touch rugby virtually the moment we arrived, apart from a few having a touch of gastro, while our blindside flank Brannon Webster has been feeling nauseous and won’t be in the starting XV; Chris van Heerden takes his place.
“The boys are looking forward to playing in front of what we believe will be quite a large contingent of Old Boys, and it’s an amazing opportunity for them to show what Maritzburg College rugby is all about on the international stage.
“We have requested that rolling subs be allowed, so we will be able to call on the entire number of our tour players if needs be – that’s why we have 10 on the bench.”
MARITZBURG COLLEGE STARTING XV vs ELTHAM COLLEGE
It is a significant milestone as the Oppenheimer Michaelmas Cricket Week, so splendidly hosted as always by Maritzburg College, celebrates its 60th birthday from September 21 to 24 during this year’s festival of all that is great in South African schools cricket.
So many participating first XI schoolboy cricketers, coaches and managers have mentioned that these four special days are the highlight of their cricket year.
And it is to the camaraderie of this gathering of schoolboy cricketers, coaches, managers, umpires and spectators that long-time sponsor Jonathan Oppenheimer always refers in his annual message.
DAY 1 AND DAY 2 FIXTURES
One of the central precepts in making Michaelmas such a kaleidoscope of memories is the team of people who run the festival, headed by Maritzburg College deputy headmaster, co-curricular, Brandon Swart and co-curricular administrator Stacey Emerson.
The festival runs like clockwork – or as close as you can get, given the vagaries of the weather and suchlike.
Camaraderie aside, the standard gets higher and higher every year and the quality of the contests gets tougher and tougher, but while results are important there is one longer-lasting durable that never changes – the spirit that is so palpably evident in the exchanges between the boys, coaches, managers, umpires and unfailingly diligent festival support staff.
DAY 3 AND DAY 4 FIXTURES
It is also a unique cricket event in that all 10 of the KwaZulu-Natal province’s leading schoolboy first XIs are represented in one festival.
Hosts Maritzburg College and – in no particular order – Clifton College, Durban High School (DHS), Glenwood, Hilton College, Kearsney College, Michaelhouse, Northwood, St Charles College and Westville all play against some of the very best schoolboy cricket first XIs in the country.
The school first XIs from outside KZN taking part in this year’s 60th Oppenheimer Michaelmas Cricket Week are, in no particular order, St Stithians College, Pretoria Boys’ High School (PBHS), Grey College, King Edward VII School (KES), St David’s Marist Inanda, St Albans College, St John’s College, Jeppe, St Andrews College (Grahamstown), Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool (Affies), Hudson Park (East London)
and – in terms of the decades that the likes of KES have been at Michaelmas, a relatively new and invaluable addition in the form of the Cricket South Africa Talent Acceleration Programme XI (colloquially know as CSA TAP) a side that has taken the honours against the long-standing Michaelmas teams on numerous occasions.
Of much import, too, is the quality of cricketers that have passed through the Week who have gone on to great things.
Ali Bacher and Graeme Smith (KES), Kepler Wessels and Hansie Cronje (Grey College), AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis (Affies), and Hashim Amla (DHS) are some of the Michaelmas cricketers over the past 60 years whose post-school careers have led them to become SA national team captains.
And just some of the Michaelmas cricketers who have gone on to reach the pinnacle of the game and delight audiences around the world include Barry Richards (DHS), David Miller, Kevin Pietersen and Jonty Rhodes (Maritzburg College) and Quinton de Kock (KES).
Just 8 days to go and we are into Day 1.