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!
50 years ago, in 1969 three Hilton boys along with teacher and head of the Enterprise Club Rob van Heerden set off on an epic adventure.
The boys were Jonathan Anderson, Martin Walker and John Schwikkard, and they were only 16 years old when they mapped out their cycle from Salisbury (Harare) to Cape Town.
They assembled their bikes on the platform of the train station at Salisbury (Rob quickly putting together his single speed) and set off wearing rugby shorts, T-shirts and takkies; carrying only one change of clothes, a sleeping bag, puncture repair kit and toiletries.
Feature image: Hilton’s Border 2 Beach 2019… L to R – Lyle Anderson, Simon Clayton, Struan Anderson, Gareth Myles, Pete Walker.
They stretched their budget of R1.50 per day by buying a bath at a hotel for 50c, all taking turns to bath in the water and then washing their clothes for the next day.
They slept in the homes of people they met en route – where they were treated like royalty – or slept in empty cells in prison stations… as they did on Christmas Eve in Richmond.
Relatives of then headmaster Raymond Slater put them up for a rest day in Beaufort West and they arrived, as scheduled, in Cape Town after 3 gruelling weeks of cycling, averaging 10 hours a day in the saddle – and without a single puncture!
Jonathan Anderson sadly passed away from dementia last year and his sons Struan and Lyle Anderson took up the challenge to cycle from Zimbabwe to Cape Town to honour their dad, as well as raise funds for Alzheimer’s SA to train caregivers.
Hilton College Old Boy Peter Walker (son of the late Martin Walker, who passed away in 2004 when his microlight crashed in South America during a round the world charity flight) was able to join the guys for the first two legs of the ride.
Please support these guys in their efforts by following @border2beach on Facebook and Instagram and please consider donating to their back-a-buddy fund to help their fundraising efforts.
Every R2500 equals one more trained caregiver – and the guys are aiming to raise 200K.
You can donate on the link below;
Source: Hilton College
* Rob van Heerden taught me Afrikaans at Maritzburg College in the late 1970s/early 80s and I remember an immaculately dressed gentleman with a somewhat military bearing and a strong sense of right and wrong. Underneath, it was clear that Rob had a heart of gold. He was passionate in his role as the go-to man in Maritzburg College squash. (JC)
The scene is set for the 8th annual MTN PMB High Schools Football Association Cup, to be held at Howick High from Friday to Sunday this weekend and one can argue with conviction that it’s anyone’s ballgame.
Having watched a number of the teams this year it is a lottery as to who emerge with the trophy.
The strength of the teams in Pietermaritzburg (PMB) and KZN midlands boys’ high school football is so evenly-matched this year.
The unpredictable nature of the outcomes this season means that it’s impossibly hard to determine with any semblance of accuracy, who the finalists will be, come the aftermath of the 3pm trophy match on the Howick High School turf on Sunday.
What is absolutely dead-certain as we draw close to Friday afternoon’s opening exchanges is that there are 20 schoolboy first teams with gold medals on their mind and nothing else.
Any of the usual big guns could win it, as they have all beaten each other over the course of the season. The tournament kicks off at 1pm on Friday, with the boys’ final scheduled for 3pm on Sunday.
Hilton College are the two-time defending champions and are looking to become the first side to win the trophy three times – 2017 winners, 2018 winners, 2019 winners.
They beat Maritzburg College in an excruciating penalty shootout in last year’s final and the boys of the RedBlackWhite will be pushing to go one better.
It has certainly been a trophy season for the Maritzburg College lads, having already picked up the PMB A League and the Primo League titles in 2019.
St Charles College – the most dangerous of sides – were one of last year’s semi-finalists.
Saints bowed out to Hilton in yet another agonising penalty shootout, penalties that were so masterfully managed by ace Hilton College keeper Costi Christodoulou, last year’s SA U17 soccer captain and Manchester City trialist.
Haythorne made up the 2018 semi-final quartet. And like the French rugby team, one never knows which Haythorne brand of football will turn up on the day – it can be inspirational stuff that feeds off the moment, or it can be rather disappointing.
Of some of the other teams, Carter are never to be trifled with in Cup football while I personally have a great deal of time for the Michaelhouse team.
Terrific strikers, a solid pair of central defenders, intelligent distributors of the ball – and the most committed of captains in goalkeeper Noah Stanger, the Men of House are, in my opinion, in with a very real chance to wrest the trophy away from their Hilton rivals.
Alex have had a rather disappointing season to date and will no doubt be thirsting to prove a point, as will first-time entrants Eastwood, who won the PMB B League this year and will want to show that they thoroughly deserve their promotion to The Big Show.
Last year was my first taste of MTN PMB FA Cup football and it was a fabulous eye-opener.
The Howick High School set-up is great and the organisation of what is an extremely time-pressured schedule by Uraisha Haswell and her team is second to none.
From humble beginnings, this tournament has become the most popular and most intensely-fought-for accolade in the Pietermaritzburg and KZN midlands region.
This year, there are a total of 36 teams participating: the 20 boys’ teams, as mentioned earlier, and 16 girls’ teams.
In the girls section, Edendale Technical College have ruled the roost of late and are two-time defending champs but they were pushed all the way in last year’s final by hosts Howick, who will be determined to lift the trophy for the first time, on home soil.
Ixopo and Carter will also expect to be in the final stages – or perhaps there could be a surprise from the likes of GHS or from the spirited Kokstad College girls.
It’s been a long wait.
Now the waiting is over.
Soccer season has been in full flow as most KZN10 schools have played a number of inter schools fixtures.
This weekend however was a midterm break of sorts as only Michaelhouse and Hilton College competed against each other.
Results vs Michaelhouse
KZN10 also had 3 school head to St Davids Marist Inanda for their 17th annual challenge cup namely Hilton College, Clifton School and Michaelhouse.
There were mixed results over the weekend as the 1st and U15A teams competed. The stand out performance came from the Hilton College U15A who came a credible 4th out of 16 teams.
St Davids Marist Inanda Challenge Cup Results
Hilton College 1st
Hilton College U15A
|St Johns College||1||~||0|
|St Davids Marist||0||~||1|
|St Peters College||2||~||1|
|St Stithians Coollege||2||~||1|
Clifton School 1st
Clifton School U15A
|St Johns College||0||~||4|
The stage is set for yet another thrilling chapter in the long history of Michaelhouse/Hilton College hockey derbies. Come Saturday’s 11.20am push-back, the Aitkens Astro arena will be jam-packed.
Chanting, cheering Hilton and Michaelhouse boys supporting their schoolmates as well as scores of moms dads brothers sisters grandparents aunties and uncles – and hundreds of Old Boys of these two exceptional education institutions – will have their eyes glued to the turf.
This Martin Ashworth feature photo shows 2018 Michaelhouse captain Mubeezi Lubinga (left) first to congratulate 4-goal Ben (10) Rebeck in last year’s Aitkens Astro fixture.
The Aitkens Astro match in early May last year will go down as one of the most exciting and extraordinary encounters yet seen.
Hilton were the favourites – and proved as much in the opening chukka, during which they were all over the Men of House.
Yet the consequent Hilton College reward that should have reflected on the electronic scoreboard didn’t materialise…
Hilton could have been 2 or even 3 goals to the good in those fateful first 15 minutes – and that might have blown Men of House captain Mubeezi Lubinga and Co. out the ballpark…
If Hilton go 2 or 3 goals up, it is very seldom in modern times that the Boys in Black and White afford an opponent the privilege of getting even a foothold back into the game.
Then followed, on that Magical 2018 May-the-5th Day, one of those extraordinary sporting sequences that every schoolboy dreams of.
Michaelhouse’s grade 11 striker and penalty corner drag-flick ace Ben Rebeck flashed four goals into the back of the Hilton net…
The 4-2 Michaelhouse win had turned into the classic scenario of the underdogs upsetting the fancied in a head-to-head one-off battle where previous form and reputation means very little on the day.
Hilton duly won the return match last year – and once more in the first match this year.
And once again Hilton will be strongly favoured to emerge victorious come 12.30pm or so tomorrow when the last sound of the siren rings out after what is sure to 60 action-packed minutes of KZN10 schoolboy hockey.
Ben Rebeck is captain of Michaelhouse this year, while his KZN Inland team-mate of this year and last year, John Turner, leads Hilton from his goalkeeper position.
Of concern to the supporters of Michaelhouse is that their first team have proved to be vulnerable in the midfield at times this year.
There was no better evidence than in the crazy Kearsney College turnaround in the Aitkens Astro match earlier this season when a three-goal blitz in the second half owed much to the fact that the Men of House had lost control of the middle of the park.
Hilton have a very good midfield, with playmaker Cameron Pearce of immense value to his side.
Blessed with great vision – and skilful in retaining possession when under pressure – Pearce is able to hold up the ball in order to give his team-mates time to pour through, or release it quickly and accurately when the chance is on.
In Cameron Pearce and Ben Rebeck, Hilton and Michaelhouse have two outstanding exponents of the penalty corner drag-flick.
But the set-piece strike success or not depends to a marked degree on the speed and accuracy of the corner injection pass as well as the skill of the trapper in “teeing up” the ideal vantage point for the ace flickers to best display their net-busting & backboard-slamming prowess .
Both sides aim to play fast, attacking hockey while also paying due respect to the defensive element to the game.
The respective game plans devised by the coaches Devon van der Merwe and Darryn Gallagher (Hilton) and Richard Snowden and Grant von Mayer (Michaelhouse) will also be fascinating to witness.
The team who best understand what is required of them tactically will be best-placed to make the correct decisions in the various areas of the pitch.
A top KZN10 schoolboy hockey match is an exceptionally fast-paced, exciting spectacle in which defence can turn into counter-attack in the blink of an eye.
Who reads the game best over the 60 minutes on KZN10.com Super Saturday and who creates the higher percentage of quality space for their team-mates will likely take the best options in the moment.
Let’s hope that it’s going to be a free-flowing game where flair and the opportunistic moment is well-rewarded.
See you there.
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.
In breaking news yesterday, Hilton College Old Boy and former Cell C Sharks centre Tristan Blewett (22) has been invited to try out for National Football League (NFL) side the New Orleans Saints.
American Football is of course big-money massive in the USA.
“It’s too good a story, I can’t tell you,” New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton said about his surprise invitation to Blewett.
“If I told you a local artist texted me about this rugby player…
“Here’s what you have to understand,” explained Saints coach Payton:
“When someone sends you something about a player, obviously that happens a lot.
“If it’s a College (university) player, I might forward it to Jeff Ireland. If it is a pro player I will forward it to Terry Fontenot.
“When someone’s recommendation comes, you go about the process every time.
“Knowing that there might be 44 out of 44 (players) where there’s nothing… but then the 45th one…
“It was an email, a text forwarded. It is easy to work out a player who’s right here. That was kind of it,” Saints coach Payton added.
An American Football League try-out – a chance to play in the NFL – was definitely not on the Tristan Blewett radar, but now that the chance has presented itself, he’s going to give it a full go.
“When I first came over with my coach, I was joking about it, saying, ‘I am going to live here to play American football’, and then two weeks ago – when I got the call – we both laughed like, “It has actually happened!’
“I told my mom a day or two ago, but I think no one back home really knows much about (American) football – and neither do I. So I think, as I learn, I’ll sort of explain it to them.”
On Tuesday in the USA: Tristan Blewett, who plays outside centre for the NOLA Gold rugby franchise, discusses his mini-camp try-out with the New Orleans Saints NFL (professional American football) franchise team.
Tristan gets a big plus from New Orleans-based Maritzburg College Old Boy Benjamin Haswell:
“Tristan has been a credit to his family and his country over here in New Orleans, with his stellar play (for the New Orleans Gold rugby union team) — and that South African gentlemanly humbleness has made him a fan favourite.
“Tristan’s come a long way since turning out for the Impi at Maritzburg Varsity!”
Johannesburg-born and Durban raised, Tristan represented the Sharks before a brief stay with the Kings in PE in 2018.
Tristan signed a two-year contract with the New Orleans Gold rugby union team towards the end of last year, where he has excelled in the USA Major League and captured the attention of both rugby union and influential American Football personalities.
COMMENTS FROM NEW ORLEANS SAINTS FANS
about Hilton College Old Boy Tristan Blewett:
Howard Jackson – “So what position this guy supposed to play?”
Chance Cooper – “They’re playing him as a DB, and punt returner.”
Geoffrey Ormsby – “He’ll definitely show people how to properly tackle!!”
DaPinkBubble – “I sure hope so; I still have nightmares of how bad the defence used to be at tackling…”
Eddie Scott – “Kicker or punter.”
Cash Money Gee – “Probably won’t drop a pass!”
Jerry Cave – “Give him the ball, you’ll see!”
Rafael Delgadillo – “He’ll most likely play… as a returner and a gunner. Though playing at running back will not be out of the question.
Gerardo Aguilera – “Running back or line backer.”
KZN10.com says – “Well, there is a lot of interest in Tristan but some confusion amongst New Orleans Saints fans as to what position Tristan is likely to play!
“The best of KZN10.com wishes to you Tristan!”
A final comment – this one from John Enslin: “Good luck young man… living the dream.”
It’s Michaelhouse vs Hilton College on Saturday – here are the 1996/97 matches in the words of 96/97 Michaelhouse head boy first XV flank and captain Ben Parham, when Men of House won 3 from 3. Hopefully many of you will share this with like-minded friends.
Feature image: Captain Ben Parham and the magnificent Michaelhouse first XV of 1997.
“Jono, it’s good to hear from you after many years… and what a privilege it is to be asked to reminisce about such a special and influential time of my life.
“Andy Vincent (Vinno) took over the first team coaching role in 1995. And was a fierce competitor and expected the same of his squad.
“Vinno played in-form players over historical performance, and was not afraid to let you know if your game was not up to scratch.
“He created a squad that would do absolutely anything for each other… He created ‘brothers-in-arms’.
“1996 was the Michaelhouse centenary year, and the boys were tasked with making it a highlight in the school’s history.
“Rugby was the showpony, and the pressure was on House to overturn a record 6 straight defeats against Hilton College, spanning from 1993-1995.
“If there is one rule about the Hilton/Michaelhouse sporting derbies, it is that there is no such thing as an underdog.
“Names on paper mean absolutely nothing on this occasion, because love, passion and a desire to be swamped by 500 like-minded ‘brothers’ is far stronger than a player with exceptional skill and flair.”
1996 Michaelhouse first XV
1) Henk Diederichs
2) Luke Flemington
3) Mike Fell
4) Wayne Lister-James
5) Brian Dalton
6) Richard Parks
7) Ben Parham
8) Gary Laue
9) JP Coppez
10) Andrew Caldwell
11) Simon Bridges / Euan Dixon-Smith
12) Justin Sage / Simon Bothner
13) Dino Papadopoulos
14) James Le Cordeur
15) Choppies (Emile) Marais
“In June 1996, Michaelhouse were the form team, coming into the match at Hilton’s Gilfillan Field on the back of 18 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss… However, three of our most experienced players were not available for selection, but as mentioned, during a derby, history and form mean nothing.
“It was a day of big boots and tough forward battles in what was a hard-fought match, and neither team managed to open a gap on the scoreboard.
“The flyhalves, Andrew Caldwell (MHS) and Grant Gove (Hilton) used their big boots to alleviate the pressure as soon as one team charged into the other team’s 22-metre area.
“Hilton took an 8-3 lead into half-time and Vinno didn’t need to say too much to us. We knew we had a mountain to climb, but we knew what to do. The forward pack, from prop to number 8, covered the pitch and rumbled forward.
“Mike Fell, steered by Wayne Lister-James, crossed the line from a maul. Justin Sage converted to give Michaelhouse a slender 10-8 lead with 20 minutes to play.
“Each team took advantage of a penalty and even though Hilton pressed hard for a try in the dying moments, Michaelhouse narrowly held out for a 13-11 victory… and the hoodoo was broken.
“It was game-on for the August return match at Meadows. Unfortunately the match was never to be… Hilton came down with a very serious flu bug which affected most of the school and the return derby was cancelled.
1997 Michaelhouse first XV
1) Marc Larsen / Gavin Erasmus
2) Thomas Modinger
3) Alex Akron
4) Guy Slater
5) John Delport
6) Angus Martyn
7) Ben Parham
8) Barry Jacobsz
9) John Harris
10) James Carmichael
11) Jackal Tshikosi
12) Attie Geldenhuys
13) Simon Greyvensteyn
14) James Le Cordeur
15) Jason McCormick
“The Michaelhouse 1997 team grabbed the baton from day one.
“This team ‘gelled’ like no other team that I had been part of. These were big characters and with some incredible individual skill.
“We came into the first Hilton Michaelhouse match on Meadows in a confident mood – on the back of 19 wins and 1 very narrow loss (19-20) away against Maritzburg College.
“We had scored over 700 points and only conceded 220 points. This team did not need to ask for directions to the try-line.
“The first match in 1997 was an open game.
“Both teams spread the ball wide and it was beautiful open running rugby. John Harris, Jackal Tshikosi, Barry Jacobsz and Simon Greyvensteyn all shone, and Michaelhouse grabbed a 32-24 victory.
“The August return match was at Hilton’s Gilfillan Field. There was a buzz around the school all week as this the first-ever televised Hilton Michaelhouse derby.
The spirit in the camp was high and confidence was reaching complacency levels. There was a very large crowd engulfing Gilfillan. It was a quiet first 10 minutes with too many errors.
“Hilton’s left wing, Muzi Tembe, scored the opener after flying around the outside; this after fullback Andrew Richmond joined the line and created an overlap.
“I pulled the team together but did not have to say much.
“Just a quiet reminder about how much this meant. It was our very last match in the Red & White… selfishly; this one was for ‘us’!
Soon after that, fullback Jason McCormick took a gap created by outside centre Simon Greyvensteyn. McCormick let winger James Le Cordeur loose down the right and he popped it back inside for flanker Angus Martyn to score.
James Carmichael popped it over for a slender 7-5 half time lead. We knew we had a lot left in the tank. The final 30 minutes of our Michaelhouse rugby careers was memorable.
We scored another two tries, myself and James Le Cordeur going over in the right-hand corner, both very well converted by James Carmichael.
“Our flyhalf Carmichael added another penalty and Michaelhouse closed out the match 24-5.
“The Hilton Michaelhouse derby days were not easy.
“The Hilton and Michaelhouse players spent a lot of time together at several events and became good friends off the field, but on the field, with pride at stake, those friendships were put on hold.
“To this day I still have some very close friends who wore the Fleur de Lys while we donned the St Michael’s cross with equal pride.
“I’m still in contact with most of my team-mates from those days. I still treasure my Michaelhouse days like no other period of my life. The bonds and friendships forged during that time are life-long.
“I may not chat to my school friends on a weekly basis as I live in Abu Dhabi, but I have regular contact with them via social media and I see them when we visit South Africa.
“There is something so powerful about the friendship and support bonds forged at an all-boys boarding school, which are almost totally unexplainable to someone who has never experienced it.
“Spending every waking moment together makes you open your mind and heart to the needs of those around you.
“With that bond comes the passion displayed across all events in which the boys represent the school, be it sport, music, academics or stage productions… and Michaelhouse was certainly no exception.”
Thanks Ben. I felt like I was at the matches! Your detailed memory of those matches all of 22 and 23 years ago is quite remarkable.
It is what I have noticed when asking similar questions to Old Boys of the KZN10 schools. And such detail pays homage to the fortunate few who are so privileged to be part of something so special.
Wonderful to hear from you and may the best team win on Meadows Saturday, the arena of which you have so many unforgettable memories.
There have been a number of exciting KZN10 schools’ first team hockey matches this season, but the Clifton College 4-3 at Hilton stakes a big claim to be the pick of the bunch.
RenateMonty feature photo: Clifton first team and title-winning KZN Coastal mentor Keegan Pearce is a tactician of note.
Here is Clifton head coach Keegan Pearce’s thoughts on the match, a match which I personally would never have predicted could go the Durban team’s way.
“Coming into Saturday’s fixture with Hilton, Jono, it certainly was daunting playing away against such a well-structured and tactically astute Hilton College team.
“The odds were certainly against us and we needed a good start to give ourselves an opportunity to win. The first 20 minutes seemed like a whirlwind. We scored 3 goals inside the first 15 minutes.
“We targeted the counter-attacks, and a key part of our game was to move the ball on early.
“We capitalised on what, at times, was loose marking and we connected passes superbly to get behind the defensive line almost every attacking play. This allowed us to gain entry into the attacking 23-metre area and also make circle entries, and 3 goals was the result.”
A combination of turnovers and counter-attacks from deep plus space in the Hilton midfield led to field goals by Clifton’s Justin Wood, Spencer Klue and Luke Wilson. But could underdogs Clifton maintain such incredible momentum?
Yes indeed. Here’s Keegan:
“We scored a 4th goal in the 2nd chukka to go 4-0 up and that really cemented our lead in the second half.”
With a Hilton player on the receiving end of an umpire’s green card at a point during the second chukka, Clifton pocketed their second deflection goal, Daryl Lotter emulating the same scoring manner of Justin Wood’s opening goal in this high-octane clash.
Remarkably, the rampant Clifton combination nearly went 5-0 up just 5 minutes from halftime after sterling work by John Munford, but the Daryl Lotter effort shaved the wrong side of the left post.
Back to Clifton head coach Keegan Pearce:
“Then we were complacent and conceded a penalty corner in the last 10 seconds of the 2nd chukka.”
The penalty corner stemmed from an inspired drive and Hilton College’s skilful playmaker and drag-flick king Cameron Pearce made no error in flashing the ball into the left side of the goals.
Despite Clifton being a remarkable 4-1 up going into the second half, this match was by no means over, as the classy Hilton College team had a good 30 minutes in which to overhaul the Durban side’s impressive, but not unbeatable, 3-goal margin.
Here’s Clifton coach Keegan Pearce:
“With nothing to lose, Hilton put everything they had into the last 30 minutes and pressed us so well that the cracks started to show!
“We defended deep for long periods, and naturally but unfortunately we adopted a defend-at-all-costs mindset. It meant our build-up was rushed and too direct, and Hilton capitalised on that to win a few penalty corners and scored a great goal from a strong flick.”
As KZN10.com reporter at pitch-side, ZekeO, commented in his match report, “Up stepped that man (Cameron) Pearce whose drag flick exploded the back of the Clifton net… 4-2 is how the (third) chukka ended.”
Back to Clifton mentor Keegan Pearce:
“We played out to a 4-2 lead until the last few minutes, when again some great pressing and brilliant intercepting from Hilton saw them score to make it 4-3.”
As KZN10.com reporter Zeke put it: “In the 59th minute (Stephan) Liebenberg guided a bullet cross into the back of the net, making the score 4-3. With a minute to go the tension was palpable as the Clifton boys tried to hold onto the ball.”
Clifton coach Keegan Pearce praised his boys for hanging on so well in that emotion-charged final minute to seal a memorable 4-3 victory.
Head coach Devon van der Merwe’s Hilton College lads will be looking to end off their successful season on a high note when they visit Aitken’s Astro in Balgowan this Saturday morning and a match-up with captain Ben Rebeck’s buoyant Michaelhouse side, who on Pape’s Astro last Saturday were the first Men of House in 19 years to beat Maritzburg College in their own backyard.
Hilton won this year’s first encounter with Michaelhouse in what was an at-times acrimonious affair, so let’s hope that the 15 June KZN10.com Super Saturday Feature Match will be free of undue tension and full of sparkling schoolboy hockey.
In 2018 the annual two-match Hilton/Michaelhouse series was shared 1 apiece, the Aitken’s Astro match a personal triumph for Ben Rebeck who nailed all 4 of the Men of House’s goals in the Michaelhouse victory.
Hilton College entered their match against Clifton College as clear favourites as they hosted the boys from Durban on a crisp but clear winters day. An inspired 1st half of hockey from the visitors was just enough to beat a 2nd half revival from the hosts, 4-3.
The match started with Hilton playing their customary brand of attacking hockey whilst employing an aggressive man to man in defence.
Clifton absorbed all the early pressure and were the first team to score. A Hilton turnover led to a breakout and a speculative cross was met by Justin Wood to score a deflected goal in the 6 minute. 1-0, and a dream start to Clifton.
In the 9th minute things got even better, another breakout from Clifton, and a brilliant timed deflected pass from Matt Strauss found Spencer Klue open in the D, who calmly slid the ball past the Hilton keeper, John Turner, to make the score 2-0.
The visitors weren’t done, either. Hilton were guilty of leaving far to much space in the midfield, space which the Clifton links and forwards ruthlessly exploited. A surging counter attack had Clifton again bearing down on the Hilton goal and some slick movement between Lotter and Stauss found Luke Wilson open to neatly tuck the ball in the goal. 3-0 in the 13th minute.
That ended a whirlwind chukka with many in the stands scarcely believing what they had just witnessed but all very aware that there was still 45 minutes of hockey ahead.
The 2nd chukka had more of a settled pattern of play as the midfield battle intensified between Cameron Pearce and Branson Bertasso, as each took opportunities to try and impose their will on the game. Pearce was his usual self as it sometimes took multiple defenders to halt his forward progress.
Hilton continued pressing up the field in man to man coverage leaving space for Bertasso, Munford and Strauss to work as they ran onto passes from the back.
Cliftons 4th goal in the 23rd minute came after a Hilton green card and a change in defensive formation. With a man down there was just a little more space for Jonathan Munro to smash a ball at goal from the top of the D. Through the crowd of bodies and hockey sticks the ball somehow found the end of Daryl Lotters stick who deflected the ball past Turner. 4-0 to the visitors it couldn’t get any better, could it?
In the 25th minute it almost was. Clifton had a great opportunity to make it 5 in the half, and surely seal the game in 2 chukkas, as a strong Munford breakout opened up space for Lotter. Turner did a great job of closing down the angle for Lotter whose push shot rolled agonisingly past the left upright.
The question was with time running down could Clifton keep a clean sheet or could Hilton, at least, get 1 goal back before the half? With time running down a lively run by Hiltons, Stephan Liebenberg, caused panic in the Clifton defence.
In the scramble Clifton were penalised for deliberately pushing the ball over the back line. PC to Hilton with 20 seconds remaining in the half. Pearce who had already had one of his efforts saved made no mistake this time as he beat keeper, Rajcoomar, to his left ending the 1st half 4-1 to the visitors.
After the game Keegan Pearce, coach of the Clifton College 1st side, had this to say regarding the opening half.
‘I think that what we were very good at was playing on the counter. They committed to many numbers at times, just because its their attacking style, and we just set up some great combination passes and got behind their lines which ultimately led to us scoring 4 goals in 25 minutes which was brilliant.’
Brilliant indeed and with only 30 minutes to play Hilton College Coach, Devon Van der Merwe, needed to make some adjustments.
The 2nd half a decidedly different feel to it as Hilton committed more numbers into the midfield and crammed the passing lanes. Keegan breaks it down for us.
’From an out letting perspective, they pushed extra numbers on the overload and we struggled to adapt.’
At times Clifton were guilty of just trying to be to clever with the ball when the the more prudent option would be to get the ball out of the red zone by any means necessary.
Hilton were camped in the Clifton third and in the 34th minute a strike from Liebenberg was well saved by Rajcoomar. Suubi Mugerwa-Sekawabe started putting his mark on the game as he directed the Hilton attack down the left and right channels as sprayed passes to eager runners.
Clifton defended valiantly as they threw themselves across the astro keeping the skilful Hilton players at bay. In the 42nd minute it seemed that the dam wall may be showing a few cracks. A racking slap stick pass from Sekwawabe earned Hilton a PC.
Up stepped that man Pearce whose drag flick exploded the back of the Clifton net making it a brace for the burly midfielder. 4-2 is how the chukka ended, but Hilton were quite clearly in the drivers seat at this stage.
With the the start of the 4th chukka Hilton ,again, increased the pressure by man marking the Clifton players. With the Clifton midfield and strikers seeming to tire a little there just didn’t seem to be the same kind of space for the backs and midfielders to operate in.
In the 49th minute came another Hilton PC with Pearce once again taking the flick forcing a great save from Rajcoomar. It was all Hilton as the probed and prodded trying to get to the by line. In the 53rd minute Rajcoomar was again the Clifton saviour as the keeper first saved a shot from Pearce and the follow up from Liebenberg.
The pressure on the Clifton goal seemed relentless, but just it looked like they would break the Clifton boys would rally and clear the danger.
Clifton escaped up field and in the 55th minute and earned a precious PC of their own. Munford, showing great strength on the ball, was dragged to the ground buy a Hilton defender far outside the D. The PC didn’t yield any fruits but it had moved play into the Hilton defensive third.
A Strauss reverse stick strike beat Turner to the left to make it 5-2 to the visitors? No, the umpire blew his whistle for an third party obstruction on Clifton. That certainly would have sealed it, but on we played as the time continued ticking down.
Back came Hilton as they searched desperately for their third goal and in the 59th minute Leibenberg guided a bullet cross into the back of the net making the score 4-3. With a minute to go the tension was palpable as the Clifton boys tried to hold onto the ball. Mercifully time ran out with the Clifton in control and, more importantly, holding a 4-3 advantage over the top ranked school in the country.
Keegan had this to say,
‘in the last chukka they went 10 v 10 against us which made it very hard for us to get connections which is what we thrived on in the 1st half. They were great interceptors and won some proper balls so it was tough for us to get forward.’
When asked about the season as a whole and his teams performance on Saturday.
‘I think our biggest problem is that we have so many junior boys, so we have only 3 matrics, so its very hard to find consistency as boys have up and down games as teenagers do… I think we have gotten better and better which is to be expected if the boys put in the hard work.
I just think today we just capitalised and scored the goals where in the first five our six games we just didn’t score enough goals. If you not going to score goals you not going to win matches.’
Thank you Keegan for your time and what a great way for Clifton to end their 2019 season with a win over Hilton College away from home. Next up for Hilton is a trip to frenemies, Michaelhouse.
Hilton College 3(1)
Goals: Cameron Pearce x 2, Stephan Liebenberg
Clifton College 4(4)
Goals: Spencer Klue, Luke Wilson, Justin Wood, Daryl Lotter