The Kearsney College premier teams’ sports weekend was blue-chip basketball status and oh-so-close in the water polo final while the cricket could have been better, albeit against a Hilton College first XI that many regard as the strongest all-round team in the province and in the top echelon in the country.
Tracey van den Aardweg featured image: Tyson Andrews was named as Kearsney’s Most Valuable Player at the Northwood Stayers Tournament over the weekend.
Kearsney 1st XI 176 (Dylan Hulett 57, Louis Nel 48; Michael Booth 3/49 and a fifer for John Turner 5-37)
Hilton 1st XI 177/2 in 27 overs (Chris Meyer 65 not out, Nick Hatton 59 – for 1000 runs in a calendar year)
Hilton won by 8 wickets
Kearsney faced a formidable foe in the powerful Hilton outfit on Saturday and decided to take the bull by the horns, batting first after securing the toss. It was hoped that they could post a decent total, thereby generating some scoreboard pressure.
Kearsney enjoyed a dream start that few – if any teams – have been able to achieve against the potent Hilton pace attack. At (a scarcely believable) total of 61/1 after 5 overs- with a remarkable 48 off 30 balls from an on-fire Louis Nel – Kearsney could not have even imagined such a commanding position to be in.
However, the sheer pace of Hilton captain and genuine all-rounder Michael Booth (3/52) and head boy John Turner (5/37) was a game-changing factor. The tight leg-spin bowling of Colby Dyer also played a major role on a flat deck, which ultimately restricting free scoring.
Louis Nel’s upfront batting blitzkrieg aside, a patient, workmanlike 57 from the cricket-maturing Dylan Hulett was the only other significant contribution from what ultimately became a Kearsney innings under siege from what is arguably the best all-round bowling attack in SA first XI schoolboy cricket.
The Hilton bowling/fielding/catching pressure seldom lets a team off the hook – apart from the occasional unplayable Jaffa deliveries, wickets also fall due to injudicious shot selection brought about by the unrelenting pressure, and wickets also fall at crucial phases of the opponents’ innings.
Set a target of 177 in 45 overs, Hilton set about their task with intent and got the necessary runs with 108 balls still left in the bank.
Outstanding knocks from a long overdue Chris Meyer (65*) who has threatened many a time this season only to undo the initial great work, and grade 10 Nick Hatton (59) raced the Hiltonians across the line with a basketful of overs to spare.
It was yet another impressive Hilton display of batting, bowling and fielding… and this consistent Hilton side underlined once again why they are regarded as one of the top all-round cricket teams in the country.
* In this just his first year in the Hilton College first XI, Nick Hatton’s half-century saw the grade 10 go past the milestone 1 000 runs in a calendar year.
And with Hilton’s last first XI contest of 2019 still to come – the marquee Hilton/Michaelhouse match on Hilton’s Jack Hart-Davis Oval on Saturday, November 9 – allow us cricketing purists the hope that Nick’s rich vein of form continues.
Kearsney beat Hilton 57-39
Kearsney hosted Hilton College in the penultimate basketball game of the 2019 season for the schools’ premier teams. It started with a fast and furious exchange of baskets before the pace seemed to fizzle as the teams adjusted to the noisy fans and began to execute their game plans.
In the first quarter, Hilton had the best of the early exchanges; with Kearsney steadying the ship and applying better defensive pressure in the latter stage. Kearsney were able to score some easy baskets off Hilton’s defensive lapses in concentration, the first quarter ending 12-6 in Kearsney’s favour.
The second quarter saw a resurgence from Hilton, who seemed energised by the crowd, while Kearsney were unable to respond on defensive or offensive ends. Hilton won the second quarter 12-11 and played their best basketball of the match.
Kearsney regrouped at halftime, coming out focused to take command of the match in winning both the third (17-9) and fourth (17-12) quarters.
The fourth quarter saw a number of injuries to key Kearsney players, forcing them to rely on bench players to see out the game.
Kearsney’s depth of players has been one of their strengths this season and this was proved again in a match that was brutal at times because of the physicality as well as the sweltering heat.
It was not Kearsney’s best performance to date, but they managed to regroup and play with more intensity in the second half. Kearsney won the match 57-39, continuing their impressive win record at home.
Kearsney: Max Hastings-Brown (24 points, 18 rebounds); Oludolapo Morakinyo (7 points); Samkelo Jiyane and Aaron Smith (6 points each)
Hilton: Kwanda Mkhize (11 points); Johan van der Merwe (8 points)
Kearsney played in the Northwood Knights Stayers Tournament over the weekend. Buoyed by their recent success in making the Top 10 final, they were keen to gauge if the Stayers could live up to the high standards set by the 2019 first team.
Kearsney made a good start on Friday, beating the Invitational and Glenwood teams 12-5 and 10-7, setting them up for Saturday games against their opponents from the Top 10 quarter-final (Maritzburg College) and final (Clifton).
A convincing performance against Maritzburg College in the morning saw Kearsney run out 10-6 winners; followed by a well-disciplined 7-3 win against Clifton College, who were missing several players. This put Kearsney on course to play the hosts in the semis.
Clifton managed to set up a re-match with Kearsney for the quarter-final. Clifton were more up to the task this time and pushed Kearsney all the way. In the end, however, Kearsney were too strong and booked their place in the final by completing their double over Clifton 7-5 to go with the earlier 7-3.
The final was between Kearsney and Reddam Helderburg, who had cruised through their matches, winning each by six or more goals.
Kearsney may have been underdogs, but after a tense 1st chukka which ended 2-2, they raced to a 4-2 lead in the 2nd. The 3rd chukka saw Kearsney lose their discipline, allowing Reddam back into the game and to get ahead 5-4.
The last chukka was hard-fought, with Kearsney striking back to even things out. Shortly thereafter, Reddam scored a brace of extra-man goals. Kearsney were creating chances but couldn’t convert.
A good Kearsney long shot helped keep the pressure on Reddam, but it was too little, too late and Reddam held on for a 7-6 win.
* Kearsney College’s Brett van Noordwyk was named Best Goalkeeper of the Northwood Stayers Tournament while Kearsney captain Tyson Andrews (both grade 11) was named as his team’s Most Valuable Player (MVP).
Their excellent performances – and that of the team – suggests that Kearsney College water polo is in safe hands.