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.
It’s the much-anticipated Saints vs Red Black & White first XI Twenty20 derby 4pm at the Varsity Oval today and the question on my lips is: Will it be another 97-96 Epic??
The KZN Inland Big 4 Quadrangular – or T20 Big Bash presented by PMB Varsity Cricket Club – is into its second round this week and the two sides that emerged victorious from Round 1 are going head-to-head.
Jono Cook feature image: Maritzburg College’s talented grade 11 batsman Ross Klusener has the proven BMT to score runs when it matters most.
Last time out St Charles edged Michaelhouse by 10 runs while Maritzburg College comfortably dealt with a disappointing Hilton College.
Back to the 97-96 Match.
After the long-awaited SCC v MC 50-over match was cancelled without a ball being bowled due to the inclement weather in the first term, a T20 friendly was hastily arranged for the next mutually accepted gap the following week – and what a classic it turned out to be.
Saints were bundled out for a modest 97 and Maritzburg College were cruising to victory at the back-end of the match before some magic with the ball and out in the field by the celebrated Zim duo of SCC captain and 2019 SA Schools T20 Player of the Year Wes Madhevere and his super-talented countryman Clive Madande pulled the home side’s fortunes out of the fire and spurred them to the narrowest of one-run, last-ball-of-the-match victories.
Going into this afternoon’s 4pm Big Bash the Maritzburg College lads had spent some quality time out in the middle during the weekend’s Fasken Cricket Festival hosted by St David’s Marist Inanda in Johannesburg.
But the two sets of two-day double innings matches ain’t quite T20 so it’ll be interesting to see how quickly the men in the red-black-and-white-striped first XI caps adapt to the demands of the truncated form of the game.
Saints enjoyed a comfortable win in a low-scoring 50-over encounter with visitors Northwood on Saturday and are therefore probably more finely-tuned for today’s muscle-up.
That said, a T20 local derby is anyone’s game so it’ll probably boil down to who of 2019 Coca-Cola Schools T20 National Franchise Finals silver medallists St Charles College or the gutsy well-balanced Maritzburg College squad want victory the most.
We will know for sure in just a few hours’ time.
The food and cooldrinks/coffee/cappuccino catering is good at the Varsity Oval (in the Peter Booysen Sports Park off Golf Road in Scottsville) while the cricket is sure to deliver.
Winning the toss and opting to bat could also be a game-breaker as the team batting second has to negotiate the in-between time when the setting sun and the floodlights compete for the batters’ attention.
See you there.
If not, you’re welcome to follow my live text commentary and more on the Jonathan Cook Facebook page.
Jacques van der Walt hit an unbeaten 150 and Tristan Elam 87 in a third-wicket partnership of 184 to stop a charging St Stithians on their home ground in the opening two-day Fasken St David’s Time Cricket Festival match for both sides, which ended drawn in Johannesburg.
DesDesignsDot feature image (file pic) – : Jacques van der Walt on his way to 100 vs Westlake of New Zealand on Goldstones during last year’s Oppenheimer Michaelmas Cricket Week (2 October 2018).
College lost the toss and St Stithians grabbed the opportunity to take first strike. As College first XI coach and director of cricket Kyle Nipper told KZN10.com last Thursday evening: “It was a good wicket for batting, quite flat with not much in it for the bowlers. We would also have liked to bat first.
The Saints batters progressed to 308/4 off 62.4 overs in their first innings before the Maritzburg College men went in on day one.
“Our bowlers found it tough going on a pitch that was great for batting,” said Nipper.
St Stithians opener Jodi de Sousa (41) and fellow opener Cameron Rowe (37) got the Saints away to a good start before the two other top 4 batters Liam Mostert (124 not out) and Muhammad Manack (71) propelled the innings forward.
College pacemen Mondli Khumalo (1 for 67 in 13 overs) and Sanele Mbatha (1-59 in 12) plus off-spinner Chad Fortmann (2-60 in 12.4) got the Saints wickets.
College used 8 bowlers in a bid to make a breakthrough against the strong Saints batting line-up.
“They batted really well. We had a few chances that we let slip but that’s part of the game. They capitalised on some poor bowling and punished anything loose,” was Maritzburg College coach Kyle Nipper’s summation of the Saints first innings.
It was now up to College in the afternoon on Day 1 to respond. Their first innings was in all sorts of trouble at 13 for the loss of 2 wickets before first XI captain Jacques van der Walt joined opener Tristan Elam.
Said coach Nipper after the close of Day 1: “Tristan Elam (74*) and Jacques van der Walt (44*) were superb with the bat, soaked up lots of pressure in the beginning when we were 13/2 but then shared an unbeaten 125-run partnership to get us back in the game.
“(On Day 2) we will look to get the 2 batters back in again and set up stall for a bit, then hopefully keep some wickets in hand to allow us to accelerate towards the back end of the innings and set up a first-innings lead”
Elam eventually fell for 87 (131 balls, 11 fours and 1 six). The opener, together with his skipper, had put on a match-saving 184 for the third wicket.
Van der Walt was to eventually retire hurt of his own choosing, having developed a back strain after keeping wicket and then batting for a total of well over 100 overs. The captain’s unbeaten 150 came off just 175 balls and included 19 fours and 4 sixes.
Ross Klusener (53* off 45b, 4×4, 1×6) first with his captain and then Chad Fortmann (23*) steered College to declare on 352/4 in 65 overs; Saints having used 9 bowler, as College took a 44-run first innings lead.
St Stithians have a very good attack upfront and it was Tristan Brooks (3-72 from 14 overs) and fellow opener Matthew Lieberman (1-42 off 10) who got the wickets.
“Day 2 saw (our) batsmen continue, scoring freely and with great control,” said Nipper. “After a partnership of 184, Elam fell for a well-played 87, while Van der Walt kept scoring with ease and reached his century. He would end his innings on a superb 150, retiring hurt due to a back strain.”
Nipper added: “Saints came out to bat (second innings) with their only intention to bat for the rest of the (second and last) day, which they did, to reach 235/3 with Michael King (2-18 in 5) being the pick of the bowlers. The match ended in a draw.”
Jodi de Sousa (121 off 153 balls with 10 fours and 3 sixes) and Muhammad Manack (54*, 74b, 4×4 and 1×6) were the chief St Stithians second-innings run-scorers.
College’s Fortmann picked up 1 for 42 from 10 overs to join King as the wicket-takers in Saints’ second innings.
It was certainly quality time spent in the middle for a number of the players from both sides ahead of their participation in the 60th Oppenheimer Micjhaelmas Cricket Week, which starts in Pietermaritzburg and surrounding areas on 21 September.
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With Day 1 of Maritzburg College’s 60th annual Oppenheimer Michaelmas Cricket Week just 17 short days away I was clearing out my cupboard and came upon a December 2018 feature I wrote on Mike Bechet, the outstanding SA schoolboy cricket (and hockey) coach. The upshot is that my cupboard is still not cleared up… as I spent the next hour before going to the office reading and reminiscing on a remarkable man I came across for the first time in 1981.
Here are some of the SA School Sports magazine excerpts from that fascinating interview with Bech. Can’t wait to catch up with this legendary Durban-born DHS Old Boy and Jeppe first XI coach in the iconic Kent Pavilion on Goldstones.
Feature image: Mike Bechet with one of his Maritzburg College players who have made it big on the world stage and the SA sports star who inspires him the most – David Miller – pictured here at the SA Cricket Awards Evening in 2016.
Impressive schoolboy cricket coaching credentials of Mike Bechet.
So what does Bech – the longest-serving member of the SA Schools and SA U19 selection panel – look for in a schoolboy cricketer?
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Mike Bechet is director of cricket, head of boarding and a teacher/coach at Jeppe. So Bech, the teacher/coach or professional coach dilemma?
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This year’s Coca-Cola Schools T20 National Franchise finalists St Charles College take on Michaelhouse: UKZN PMB Varsity Cricket Club’s Schools T20 Big Bash kicks off at 4pm on the PMB Varsity Cricket Oval in the Peter Booysen Sports Park off Golf Road in Scottsville this afternoon.
Let’s hope the Peter Booysen Sports Park off Golf Road draws plenty of support from the two schools’ Old Boys, parents, boys and staff – plus you the school sports enthusiast – as we’ll be basking under the Varsity Oval floodlights on a beautiful Spring evening in just a few hours’ time.
@kirstyspix feature image: Michaelhouse and KZN Inland 17 batsman Jared Meiring hits a massive six for his Zulu Kings franchise during a recent Dolphins Premier League T18 match at the City Oval in Pietermaritzburg.
Tomorrow’s 4pm Big Bash start sees 2018 Coca-Cola Schools T20 National Franchise finalists Hilton College up against long-standing rivals Maritzburg College – another schoolboy cricket clash to savour.
Several of the cricketers in today’s clash have already spent fruitful time in the middle – be it for the KZN Inland U17 squad versus Zimbabwe, for their respective teams in the Dolphins Premier League or during pre-season friendlies for their school first teams.
The 4pm Big Bash Twenty20 action continues next week – this time on the Tuesday and the Thursday – when Saints tackle Maritzburg College (4pm on 10 September) before Hilton cross swords with the busy Saints (4pm on 12 September).
Then there is a 20-day break until play resumes when Maritzburg College meet Michaelhouse (4pm on 2 October) followed by Michaelhouse vs Hilton 24 hours later (4pm on 3 October).
The third/fourth place playoff is the following week (8 October) before the grand finale title match 2 days later (10 October).
See you there!
The Maritzburg College first XI have an active schedule of 17 fixtures ahead of them over the next 64 days, starting with the annual 50-over match with the Maritzburg College Old Boys XI on Goldstones tomorrow (31 August) and ending on November 2.
The team list of what is a powerful Maritzburg College Old Boys XI has just been released (1.55pm) to KZN10.com by Maritzburg College director of cricket Kyle Nipper and is as follows:
Maritzburg College Old Boys XI
The Maritzburg College first XI Class of 2019 will play 2 two-day double innings matches, 4 Twenty20 matches and 11 matches in the 50-over format.
Featured image: Maritzburg College first XI captain Jacques van der Walt.
The T20 matches form part of the much-anticipated (4pm start) day/night T20 Big Bash League (hosted and presented by the UKZN PMB Cricket Club) that also includes the Hilton College, Michaelhouse and St Charles College first XI’s (more about that in an upcoming article).
So, the next 64 days are certainly something to look forward to for captain Jacques van der Walt and the Maritzburg College team. Check out the fixtures below.
MARITZBURG COLLEGE FIRST XI FIXTURES
31 Aug vs Old Boys (Goldstones)
3 Sept T20 Big Bash vs Hilton (4pm at Peter Booysen Sports Park, UKZN PMB)
Fasken Time Cricket Festival (hosted by St David’s Marist Inanda)
(two 2-day double innings matches – max 105 overs first innings)
5/6 Sept vs St Stithian’s College (St Stithians Main Oval)
7/8 Sept vs St John’s College (SJC’s Burger Field in Houghton)
10 Sept T20 Big Bash vs St Charles College (4pm at UKZN PMB)
14 Sept vs Westville (Bowden’s)
60th Oppenheimer Michaelmas Cricket Week (all on Goldstones)
21st Sept vs PBHS
22nd vs Grey College
23rd vs St Alban’s College
24th vs Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool (Affies)
2 Oct T20 Big Bash vs Michaelhouse (4pm at UKZN PMB)
5 Oct vs DHS (Theobald’s)
* 8 Oct (possible) T20 Big Bash 3rd/4th place playoff (4pm at UKZN PMB)
* 19 Oct (possible) T20 Big Bash final (4pm at UKZN PMB)
12 Oct vs Northwood (Robin Smith Oval)
19 Oct vs Hilton (Jack Hart-Davis Oval at Hilton)
26 Oct vs St Charles (Goldstones)
2 Nov vs Clifton College (Goldstones)
A man for all seasons, Hilton College 2018 wicketkeeper/batsman (SA Schools B & Dolphins U19) and ace first XV scrumhalf (KZN Sharks Craven Week) is catching the attention on the cricket fields of England.
On 29 April– Gazza scored 109 in his first club game in the UK.
On Tuesday– Gareth Schreuder hit an unbeaten half-century on trial for Surrey in a rain dogged scheduled three-day Second XI Championship match against Kent at Canterbury’s Polo Fields.
The 19-year old batsman/wicketkeeper hit a patient 53 not out leading Surrey out of trouble at 99-4 to 213-5 by stumps on a delayed opening day.
Day two was completely washed out by heavy rain and any play today appears unlikely.
A highly talented sportsman from Hilton College, Schreuder played for the KZN Dolphins team which won the SA U19 provincial championships in South Africa in January, having been selected to play for South Africa Colts against SA Schools following a successful Coca-Cola Khaya Majola Week in Cape Town before Christmas.
In the December 16-20 event last year, Gazza – a high-quality top-order batter – got very few opportunities to bat – such were the nature of the rules.
Here’s what I wrote around August last year, in a KZN10.com Gazza feature – it tells you much about Gareth Schreuder the person:
The X-Factor of Hilton College’s Gareth Schreuder
HILTON College and Sharks U18 scrumhalf Gareth Schreuder can never be accused of not believing in himself – it’s not arrogance, it’s an indestructible self-belief that will take him very far in life whatever the future holds.
Left out of the KZN Sharks U18 Craven Week team and the Sharks U18 Academy Week side, his omission disappointed many – not least the bundle of energy and rugby skill that is the irrepressible Schreuder – but fate found fortune – sadly at the expense of SA Schools 2017 scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse of Glenwood (ligament in the Maritzburg College end-second term game on Dixons) – and the Hilton number 9 took his chance.
KZN10.com contacted the HC first XV talisman and asked him about the season plus the upcoming cricket third-fourth term that holds much in store for the hugely talented wicketkeeper batsman.
Gareth, let’s first talk rugby – and more recently, Craven Week: It was terribly sad for Jaden, who is a wonderful scrumhalf – in my book you and Jaden were the standout number 9’s in KZN schoolboy rugby this year – but after the intense disappointment of Craven and Academy omission, was it difficult to keep your spirits up, particularly as you had given everything in the successful Hilton cause on Gilfillan Field and further afield?
“Yes it was very difficult and I really felt for Jaden who is an amazing player and sportsman [Jaden is also the Glenwood first XI cricket captain]. It was hard to keep my spirits high as I did give everything for Hilton but in the end I was very glad to get the call-up.
“It made me happy that all my hard work had finally paid off and now I could get provincial colours for a sport that I had worked very hard in and put a lot of time and effort into.”
So what was the Craven Week experience like?
“Our first two games were a great start. We played very exciting rugby even when the conditions were extremely tough. My personal standout moment was beating the Free State Cheetahs as it was a big game, a very tough game and to beat the boys from Grey College was a huge plus.
“Dylan Pretorius was my flyhalf, a very talented player who was a joy to play with. He read the game very well, which took pressure off me to help make some crucial decisions.
“Playing in the last match of Craven Week is an honour that we as a team had achieved. It was always going to be a tough ask in that final match against Western Province and the conditions we had to play in did not help us at all.
“It is hard to even explain the conditions, it was so slippery underfoot it almost felt like you were playing on an ice-rink. WP were definitely the better team on the day.”
The thrill of playing at Craven Week is something that very few schoolboy rugby players get to experience. What were the biggest takeaways for you?
“The atmosphere was electrifying, the crowds, it was an absolute privilege to be able to be part of it. The players that I was playing with and against; it was really at the top level of schoolboy rugby in SA and I am so grateful that I got this amazing opportunity.”
Going back to the domestic school season, one of the highlights for me was seeing you, Gareth, and Jaden of Glenwood, producing great scrumhalf performances. Your ability to read the game, choose the right options and implement them with your repertoire of skills – your tactical kicking game, your service to your flyhalf from the base of the scrums and lineouts, your ability to break the line – what would you say were your and Hilton’s best matches against the KZN sides?
“As a team I think the two most remarkable games were holding our lines in the encounter against Kearsney away from home, which meant a lot to the boys, and beating Maritzburg College on Goldstones. To win on Goldstones is something that few Hilton College first teams have achieved and it is something that the team will never forget.
“Personally, I believe the best game that I had was the one against College on Goldstones. It was a day when everything worked, I got a few good bounces and the team had a really good game, which made me look even better.”
The double over long-time friendly (off the field yes!) foes Michaelhouse – I watched both, what a thrill those occasions are – the 200th match on Graeme Gilfillan Field at Hilton that marked the number of times Hilton and Michaelhouse firsts have met – I videoed you and the boys as you came out of the change room and prepared to take the field through the tunnel in front of an audience of thousands – and the landmark last match of celebrated World Cup final referee Craig Joubert – you were as usual revving the boys up, you gave my smartphone a wink you looked so relaxed – do you love the big occasion?
“I absolutely love the big stage! The more people the better; I always want to take the kick in the last minute to win a game in front of thousands of people, I love the pressure and I think I can be a player that plays better under pressure conditions.”
From what I have seen, your goal kicking this year has been phenomenal. You seem so confident, so collected in lining up the kick, the focus, the concentration – how do you block out the moment and its match implications and just get on with slotting the ball between the posts?
“I think I ended up with a kicking conversion rate of 87% over the season. When I line up a kick I imagine two walls from me to the posts and block everything else out.”
Has confidence always been with you? Those backyard games in your early years, what is it about the Gareth Schreuder make-up that gives the impression, whether you are larking about playing touch with mates or on the Big Stage, it’s one and the same?
“I just love playing sport; that is where I get my most enjoyment and happiness. I wish I could say the same about the classroom!
“But yes, I would say that confidence has always been with me. I personally believe that if you don’t back yourself then nobody else will – and that is something I have believed in since I was a young boy playing in the backyard.”
You definitely are a team man – I would guess probably the life and soul on and off the field. Do you love the team aspect, the camaraderie of team sport that at the same time gives you the freedom to express your individuality?
“It is always the team first, no matter what. I love being in the team environment. From sitting eating lunch together and talking nonsense to giving it everything on a Saturday, I absolutely love every moment being with the team.”
Moving on to your cricket now, I was beyond impressed with your wicket-keeping skills in the first school term – an economy of movement, great feet, safe-as-houses-hands – I don’t think I saw you drop a throw-in, a catch behind, a stumping, anything.
Hilton College first XI have an outstanding bowling attack of depth and variety – off-spinner Michael Sclanders, leg-spinner and captain James Ritchie, the young leg-spinner Colby Dyer, the left-arm orthodox Michael Frost, the seam of Tom Dixon, the at-times extreme pace of Michael Booth and John Turner – that’s a lot to deal with, yet you seemed to handle whatever wicketkeeping challenge presented with uncommon aplomb.
But especially the spinners, do you love standing up to probably the best, most varied spin attack in SA schoolboy cricket?
“Yes, the Hilton College first XI spinners make it look easy for me. They are very, very good spinners and personally I would not want to walk out and face them.”
What is it about keeping wicket that you enjoy most?
“I just love being in the action in all the time, sitting under the trees and at cow corner is not something that I have an interest in, I always want to be close to the action and be able to make a difference and have that X-Factor.”
It has indeed been a pleasure to watch the X-Factor that is Gareth Schreuder the cricketer this year. Two examples that immediately spring to mind are the two catches and two stumpings against Michaelhouse in the KZN Inland final of the Coke T20 competition, plus the spring-heeled running between the wickets and adept ball placement in scoring 49 off 32 balls to beat Clifton College in the Coke T20 Dolphins franchise final.
When I look back at the remarkable improvement in Hilton College first XI cricket, one question worth asking is to what extent has this been due to coach Dale Benkenstein?
“Mr Benkenstein has a huge influence on all us players. He is a major role model to us, so we all look up to him for advice. He comes with great energy and experience, which he passes on to us. His knowledge has helped us be successful as a team.
“On a personal level, Mr Benkenstein has played a huge role in my cricket, not only with my skills but also the mental side to cricket and how I could get better and benefit myself.”
Gareth, you obviously have high hopes for KZN Inland cricket selection, and with it the opportunity to play in the Khaya Majola Week in December – is making SA Schools your big dream as your illustrious school career closes out?
“Yes, most certainly it is. Playing for SA Schools is something that I have dreamt about since the days of playing cricket down the passage with my mom shouting at us to not break the windows.”
And what of the Gareth Schreuder sporting future? Have you got plans or is it all in the possible options stage and still time to make a final decision?
“I haven’t made my final decision quite yet as I have a choice, but most of all I really hope that I can make a good choice and make sport my job.”
I have met your dad Greg at Hilton cricket and rugby matches this year. What struck me is his enthusiasm and passion for sport. Greg is a brilliant photographer too. What does his support mean to you?
“My dad is a huge role model to me and if it wasn’t for him I definitely wouldn’t be the sportsman I am today. The support he has given me has been remarkable and I truly am so grateful for all he has done for me.”
Finally, what is it about Hilton College, what has the school taught you and what will you take with you, as you venture beyond the playing fields of Hart-Davis Oval and Graeme Gilfillan Field, not to forget the classroom and general school life?
“Hilton has taught me many lessons but an important one is that you learn to understand people a lot better, as you are always with them at the school.”
Thanks Gareth, I hope I have covered all the bases.
KZN10.com is a massive fan of the Schreuder X-Factor. Best wishes for this year and beyond.
Thinking back on last week’s announcement to a large gathering of Saints boys in the school chapel that St Charles College had appointed Morne van Wyk as Cricket Specialist from the first of July, it set me musing about the Q and A session prior to the announcement and what I – and the boys – had learnt from it.
Jono Cook feature image: Morne van Wyk and St Charles College first XI captain Wesley Madhevere outside the chapel after the announcement.
Saints head of sport Rowan Irons asked a number of interesting questions, among them this vastly experienced cricketer’s thoughts on the Proteas’ chances at the World Cup, and Morne obliged with a set of thought-provoking answers. And I learnt further, this time on Morne’s appointment, in the impromptu video piece Morne did with me shortly afterwards.
With the Cricket World Cup on the go right now, as I type, host nation England setting South Africa a target of 312 in the tournament’s opening match at Lord’s, it’s apt to start this piece at the end of the Q&A, when Rowan asked Morne for his opinion on the chances of the Proteas doing something they’ve never done before.
“I think it is different for the South African team this time, as there are not excessive expectations on them to win it. Dave Miller said to me that the players are not feeling the pressure.
“Another plus is that it is a long tournament and our Proteas can grow into the tournament. What is vital is to peak at the right time.
“It is a very open World Cup; there are 6 or 7 sides that can take it. Sides like Afghanistan can upset the fancied sides and throw the tournament wide open, but getting to the knockout stage is paramount.”
Morne said to the boys in the Saints chapel that he had made his first-class debut for Free State while in Grade 12 at Grey College. “It was a dream come true, a special moment.”
“Another big moment was when I made my debut for South Africa in 2003 at Lord’s, a fantastic memory.”
Rowan then made the point that Morne found a special home in the white-ball format of the game.
“Yes, I remember playing at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on a drop-in pitch against India,” said Morne. “I was in-form but still a bit surprised at my call-up. Before I knew it, I had got a nice score, it was a great experience.”
“My knock against the West Indies in Durban towards the end of my international career – I thought it was my last game for South Africa and after a nervous start in the T20 I got to a comfortable place and made the magical three figures for SA… definitely a highlight.”
Rowan then asked Morne for his thoughts on the early specialisation by a schoolboy in a particular sports code.
Morne first outlined his personal experience.
“I played rugby, cricket and tennis during my Prep School days,” said Morne.
“Then in grade 8 at high school (Grey College) I’d come off two Craven Weeks (Morne played provincial cricket, rugby and tennis during his grade 6 and 7 years) but heard that Jonty Rhodes played hockey.
“As I wanted to emulate Jonty and play cricket for South Africa, I decided to switch to hockey (Morne made the SA U16 squad during his high school years) and to this day I still play hockey.”
Then, directing his response more specifically towards the predominantly Saints Senior School boys packed into the chapel, Morne said he felt it was important that the boys didn’t choose a particular sport over a group of sports too soon.
“Looking back, I found I was able to adapt aspects of what I had learnt in tennis and hockey and apply them to my cricket, but I think there comes a time when you do naturally lean towards specialising in the particular sport of your choice.”
Not a wicketkeeper from the outset of his cricket journey, Morne’s natural balls skills and multiple sports code experiences at junior level stood him in good stead when called upon to be a gloveman for Free State in his early twenties
My interpretation of Morne’s words is that the time for a schoolboy to begin focusing on one sport comes about organically; there is a point in your life that it kind of happens on its own – it is not forced, or imposed, or engineered – it just happens through circumstance (like making your first-class cricket debut in matric, the Morne van Wyk sports specialisation path had begun).
For another boy it might be making a KZN Coastal or KZN Inland U18 team in his matric year; that might be the time when the boy’s thoughts should turn to focusing on the sport he has gained the highest recognition for.
Rowan then asked Morne for his viewpoint on the dynamics of a team.
“A team is like a school – everyone should feel that they are part of a family,” said Morne. “There must be mutual respect between the older, more experienced players and the young guys – that is non-negotiable.
“Upholding team values trumps sporting victories but if you have the first, often you get the second.”
If one looks at the successes of the Springboks in winning the 1995 and 2007 Rugby World Cups, the “team as family” concept appeared to be a major factor in their lifting the William Webb Ellis trophy aloft in Johannesburg and Paris respectively.
St Charles head of sport Rowan Irons mentioned that Morne played professional cricket for over 20 years, so Jono did a bit of homework.
South Africa, Dolphins, Eagles, Free State, Kolkata Knight Riders, KZN Coastal, Quetta Gladiators… that’s seven first-class cricket teams over two decades.
That’s a lot of cricket contracts – around five, so wicketkeeper batsman Morne knows the feeling of needing to put quality runs on the scoreboard and keep with precision behind the wicket – and lead a side well in his captaincy roles… or else… hard-earned contracts can dissolve pretty quickly.
So what advice could Morne give to schoolboys keen on making it in professional sport?
“It is very much a performance-related environment,” said Morne, who is a youthful 40-year-old. “Often the contracts you sign are for no longer than one or two years so the pressure on you to perform is great.”
A total of 605 first-class cricket matches across all formats of the game in a career spanning 23 years tells one of the durability, longevity and character of the man.
“Just remember that while your career is important, you will do best if you remind yourself that it’s not everything in life. That certainly took the feeling of pressure away from me.”
The Bloemfontein-born Morne is a serving Christian and his faith has been a rock in good times and not-so-good. Once again, my takeaway was that looking at the bigger picture rather than a specific incident is the way to go.
Morne’s broad advice to Prep and Senior School boys as far as their sport is concerned?
“Do your best, lay strong foundations, forge friendships and have fun.”
Soon after the conclusion of the Q&A, the Principal of the 5 Schools in 1 College, Mr Allen van Blerk, announced that Morne van Wyk had been the unanimous choice of the selection panel as St Charles College’s new Cricket Specialist.
The school and Morne both feel that they have found the right “fit”.
The St Charles College term “Cricket Specialist” is essentially what other schools describe as the director of cricket.
Among Morne’s more interesting match-ups when the KZN10 cricket season resumes later this year is when Saints take on Northwood, where his younger brother, Divan, is director of cricket.
Mutual respect, cricket as a family, and the bigger picture.
KZN10.com wishes Morne van Wyk and St Charles College cricket everything of the best.
In a massive statement of intent, St Charles College have welcomed cricket legend Mornè van Wyk into the SCC family. The highly celebrated stalwart of the game takes up the position as the schools Cricket Specialist beginning 1 July.
St Charles College continued to strengthen its commitment to developing cricket in the region with its announcement that Mornè van Wyk, former Protea, Dolphins captain and highly respected cricket icon, will join the College as the Cricket Specialist from 1 July 2019.
In a record that has blown away any ceilings on what is possible, Saints cricket had an exceptional year winning 21 matches in a row – an incredible feat in the sport of cricket. The run included claiming the crown at the Inland and Dolphins T20 championships. Their cricketing skill to took them all the way to the final of the CSA T20 Coca-Cola competition in March this year where they lost to St Stithians College from Gauteng. Their excellent run was built on great coaching, team work-ethic, commitment and respect.
In our coverage of the saints incredible run our man Jonanthan Cook had a chance to chat to Murray Cole-Edwards about what makes this particular group so strong
Mornè’s decision to join the St Charles College family was based on the mutual vision to build strong values in schoolboy sport and to pay attention to sound coaching that leads to growth for each player.
Mornès family values and genuine sincerity made him tailor made for the position and was confirmed as he moved about the St Charles College sports fields. “I am absolutely thrilled to become part of the St Charles family. My interaction and experience with members of staff so far has made it clear that the values and ethos of the College are alive, lived and vibrant.” said Morne’
Mornè’s cricketing credentials in first class cricket and firm personal base made him an overwhelming first choice candidate for the position. Having been team-mates with Dolphins star batsman and St Charles College Old Boy, Sarel Erwee, Mornè has first hand knowledge of the character of men the College seeks to prepare for the world.
Rowan Irons, Head of St Charles College Sport, endorsed this new relationship: “We welcome Mornè to the Saints family at an exciting point in our school’s history. Right off the bat there has been a solid connection because he aligns fully with our values-based approach. We look forward to having his expertise, passion and leadership at the heart of our cricket programme.”
Principal, Allen van Blerk, expressed quiet excitement referring to the balance that Mornè’s appointment would bring to cricket in the Midlands region.
This is great news from Harwin rd, and we look forward to seeing St Charles College reach even greater heights in the future.
The St Charles College first XI were the only KZN side to win all three matches at the hugely successful 2019 edition of the St Alban’s College Independent Schools Festival in Pretoria last weekend.
These are heady times for Saints cricket. Indeed it is arguably the most momentous time in the history of this highly regarded education institution’s sporting arm – most certainly in the cricket sports code – since its inception all those years ago in 1875.
The Coca-Cola Schools T20 National Franchise Finals are from March 15 to 17 at Tuks in Pretoria and for the first time a St Charles College first XI will be at The Big Show, and in Jono’s opinion have a very real chance of making the Gold Medal Match and a tilt at the SA T20 trophy.
The more-recent Journey to ISCF (it actually began 3 years ago when the nucleus of this side entered he first XI arena) had its inception last Wednesday during the Coca-Cola Schools T20 Dolphins Franchise Final when the evening at the PMB Oval heralded a comprehensive 38-run win over KZN Coastal champs Westville.
The KZN Inland winners were simply electrifying in the title showdown, be it batting, bowling or fielding.
Saints’ differentiators are a match-winning spin trio, Ka-Boom blast-offs at the top of the batting order, brilliant running between the wickets and a – in my many years – never-before seen ability to effect direct run outs from any position and every possible angle.
Talismanic captain Wessly Madhevere won yet another man-of-the-match accolade.
A bus trip to Pretoria that began before dawn Thursday was long and tedious but the Saints led by 2019 ICC U19 World Cup Joint Player of the Tournament Wessly Madhevere quickly settled down and proceeded to take their record number of wins in succession to a new high of 16 victories from 16 starts.
KZN10.com asked Saints head coach Murray Cole-Edwardes, who is also the Head of Middle School, to tell us more:
“Thanks Jono, always good to talk cricket with you. Yes, after last Wednesday night’s heroic efforts against Westville in the final of the Coca-Cola Dolphins Franchise T20 tournament, the Saints XI were quick to dismiss any rumours of tiredness and complacency.
“The boys quickly applied their minds to the festival where they were set up for three testing encounters against challenging opposition. With rain delays on the Thursday, the 2-day game against St Andrew’s Bloemfontein was reduced to a single-innings game on the Friday.”
Jono says: Given that Friday allowed for a minimum 120 overs (20 overs or more in the last hour) there was still a lot of cricket to play in the match.
Back to Murray: “As mentioned, Thursday’s cricket never got off the ground, so Friday morning Saints won the toss and chose to bat, expecting to bat out their allotted overs.
“The Saints had to work incredibly hard on a difficult wicket at Cornwall Hill College and managed to accumulate 161 in 59 overs.
“Under exceptionally trying circumstances, this was probably our most accomplished batting performance of the season, Clive Madande and Wes Madhevere, scoring 38 and 36 respectively.
“In reply, St Andrew’s School Bloemfontein never came close to reaching the target of 162. Our tall opening bowler Kian Channon was in irresistible form up front and finished with figures of 5 for 17, earning his first bowling accolade for the 1st XI.
“At one stage St Andrew’s Bloem were 6 wickets for 5 runs… Channon was simply unplayable, hitting his areas on every delivery.
“Day 3 saw the scheduled 50-over match reduced to a Saturday afternoon T20 – the incredible wind and rain the night before was something else.”
Jono: Numerous veterans of the unpredictability of Highveld weather said this particular example was extreme – even by their standards, apropos the testimony to passion, organisational skill and faculty to think on their feet that was ISCF heads Craig Hoyer and Krinesan Moodley in pivoting at quick-speed to dilute the effect of three unplayable fields by condensing the day’s scheduled 50-over fare into the T20 format on the available grounds, thus ensuring that every side got a game in.
Murray: “So everything was set up nicely for a crunch game against hosts St Alban’s, in front of distinguish guests.”
Indeed, many parents and boys stayed on after the morning T20s to watch what was expected to be a cracker – the 2018 Titans champs vs the 2019 Dolphins go-to boys.
“St Charles College were asked to bowl first and were superb with the ball; our outstanding leg-spinner Jason Login doing the damage with figures of 3 for 19 in 4.
“However, for the first time this year our fielding was sub-standard and allowed St Alban’s to reach a modest but defendable target.
“Be that as it may, the Saints boys would have been content to chase 117 off 20 overs if you had offered it to them before the game.”
Jono: St Albans kingpin, stylish left-hander Jordan Proudfoot, was looking in imperious form and his demise in the 40s signalled an ultimately fatal fault in the host side’s momentum.
Jono again: Masterblaster Clive Madande has been in remarkable, match-winning form for Saints this year, be it with the bat, ball, in the field and even behind the stumps, which occurred for a period during the St Andrew’s Bloem game. Sans protective leg-guards, groin protector or helmet, Clive proceeded to produce a top-class wicketkeeping display.
Let’s get back to Murray.
“Clive began the innings in scintillating fashion and continued his magnificent form, scoring 54 in Saints reaching 80/0 in 10 overs.”
Jono again: That left 38 off 60 with 10 wickets in hand. A doddle, surely? But St Albans thought otherwise.
Inspired by a probing spell of Jordan Proudfoot off-spin, Saints PMB became rushed in looking to finish the off the match and their fans went through many an anxious moment that is not reflected in the 5-wicket outcome.
That said, the Clive Madande gem was the kick-blast that set the Saints win up, and a quick-fire 23 by skipper Wes Madhevere sealed the 5-wicket St Charles College victory in an encounter much appreciated by the large, festive crowd.
The final game of the festival was the T20 against St David’s on their home turf. On a blistering hot morning, Saints won the toss and chose to bat. Again, Madande was in top form, scoring 43, and was ably supported by Humphrey van der Merwe, who made 23.
Once again St Charles raced to 80/1 after 10 overs. With 9 wickets in hand and oodles of batting to come, the remaining 60 balls were perfectly set up for Saints to launch for a total around the 180-200 mark.
Unfortunately the Saints never capitalised on this start and only managed to score 136.
However, the Saints bowlers, now renowned for their spin attack, squeezed the St David’s batsman and, in truth, the contest was over as soon as that dynamic Saints spin trio of Madande, Login and Madhevere were introduced.
Murray: “Jason Login was again the pick of the bowlers, with 3 wickets. He continues his good form with bat and ball and highlights his position as one of the leading cricketers in the province.”
Jono says Amen to that. The Login Factor is becoming a thorn in the side of every opposition.
St Charles College head coach Murray Cole-Edwardes leads from the front. Communication is clear, discipline paramount and the observance of cricket etiquette non-negotiable.
Mention must also be made of the massive contribution that the widely regarded Saints first XI assistant coach Lucky Dladla has made to this team.
Ever-observant, nothing gets past Lucky’s knowledgeable cricket brain. The Murray-Lucky link is a winning combination.
“It has been a privilege to coach these boys this year. 16 consecutive wins against top opposition is testament to all the hard work the team have put into training sessions.
“They have remained humble and after each victory, worked harder. For us, it has all become about the team.”
“Our highest accolade at this wonderful St Alban’s-hosted-and-organised festival came on the Saturday afternoon, against St Albans.
The hospitality team said the St Charles College boys were their favourites because of their humility and manners. There can be no higher praise.
“On behalf of the 1st XI we would like to thank the St Charles College community for their support. We endeavour every match to make the Saints Family proud. We would also like to thank St Alban’s College for being such welcoming and able hosts.”
SAINTS AT ISCF IN PRETORIA
Wessly Madhevere (capt)
Humphrey van der Merwe
Head coach: Murray Cole-Edwardes
Assistant coach: Lucky Dladla
“It is going to be an important few weeks as the team prepare for the Coca-Cola T20 Challenge National Franchise Finals at Tuks in Pretoria, the matches taking place on Friday 15th, Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th March.”
Jono says: Thank you Murray for your insight into the Saints first XI success story. KZN10.com wishes you continued success this coming Saturday, 2 Match at Kearsney College, where you join the hosts, Northwood and a Development XI in a T20 Quadrangular.
KZN10.com will be there. Fortune favours the braveheart.