Michaelhouse loonies, Maritzburg College, the Baines House boys & more

Saturday: Michaelhouse vs Maritzburg College – Memories in the making

AT 3pm Saturday, 2 June 2018 the Michaelhouse first XV face Maritzburg College on Meadows.

KZN10.com asked Will Hardie to dig deep in the fog-enshrouded mists of time about his match.

“Hi Jono, the score was 25-6 on Goldstones back in 1985. Old Boys​D​ay on Goldstones at College.

The Michaelhouse loonies (didn’t ask Will if that was a typo on his part but I asked myself: ‘Self, why you want to tamper with such an appropriate term for a loose forward trio? It is so appropriate for the DHS loose trio – Chris Farrant, Shaun Cross et al – who terrorised you (me) back in the day.”

Featured image: The 1985 Michaelhouse first XV

Ahem, enough of that… Let’s get back to Will’s tale:


Will Hardie is Meadows airborne, Sean Stringer sweeps, Bruce Herbert and Simon Camerer support;


“The Michaelhouse loonies were number 8 Rich Firth, flanks Simon Camerer and Wayne Witherspoon (capt and head boy). I had moved to lock for the ’85 season. Our packs were actually similar size – their captain was lock Arve Arntzen – but the difference was the Maritzburg College backline – Joel Stransky, Shaun Glover, Jem Thompson, Kevin Smith, Vos … Except we did have flyhalf/fullback Victor Anderson (Natal Schools ‘84 and ‘85) and scrumhalf James Wilson (also Nat Schools ‘84 – and ‘85, I think) which did help our cause a little.”

* Will’s son Chris, the regular House inside centre and first XI top-order batsman, hurt his back last week and will miss out on a match that every MHS matric boy wishes to play in, in his last school year.

The Michaelhouse first XV of 1985 played 18 won 11 lost 7 points for 263 against 222.​ “The closing games involved more of the consistency we were looking for. It was great fun,” says Will.​

“This great bunch is now spread far and wide,” says Victor Anderson – a brilliant schoolboy sportsman. “Gordon Paterson – he was our legendary rugby coach in U14A and 1st team – incidentally, who started his coaching/teaching career at Maritzburg College and was a bit of a chip off the old block of the now legendary Skonk Nicholson) and Rich Pithey are in the Land of the Long White Cloud (New Zealand), I am in London and the rest, as far as I know, are all over South Africa.”


Flyhalf whizz kid Victor Anderson has a pot at the posts, in the MHS first XV Class of 85’s last match on Meadows… a 36-9 win over a St Andrews Grahamstown team that experienced a tough time with injuries.
Victor Anderson… “It looks like the three Baines House (Firth, Hardie and Stringer) boys with their hands on their hips are discussing whose picnic they’re going to plunder after the game. Actually, this was a mid-week game which meant it was straight back to the Memorial Hall for supper.”
Sean Stringer says: “Dead right! But with the number of cars in the background it looks like we were in for slim pickings.”


​Mike Jeffery, Kurt Paetzold and Nick Van Beeck are sadly no longer with us but will no doubt be watching the match action on Meadows from up above with great nostalgia and memories of special times with special mates.

​Thanks Will, Victor, Sean… Great memories.

For the House first XV Class of 2018 the memories of tomorrow’s match will, just like those of their 85 predecessors, linger for 33 years and longer. In the Year 20051 they’ll no doubt remember tomorrow’s match with the same clarity as Will and Co recall the happening of 1985.

That is the true magic of KZN10 schoolboy sport.

Date: 2 June 2018

Venue: Meadows

Kick-off: 3pm

​Michaelhouse first XV vs Maritzburg College​

  1. Andrew Holt
  2. Mpho Mthethwa
  3. Brandon Jewell
  4. Dan Dillon
  5. Seun Afolayan
  6. Christian Opperman (capt)
  7. Torin Mecklenborg
  8. James Kiln
  9. Lance Reynolds
  • Luc Pousson
  • Toby Versfeld
  • Thamsanqa Zakwe
  • Dane Fisher (vice-capt)
  • Michael Gomes
  • Michael Brownlee
  • Matthew Holt (sub)
  • Liam Friend (sub)
  • Luke Taylor (sub)
  • James Armstrong (sub)
  • Andrew Daly (sub)
  • Liam England (sub)
  • Philip Thomas (sub)



  1. Jono Cook on 2 Jun 2018 at 6:32 pm

    That has got to be one of the best rugby tales I’ve ever read

    Peter Nicholson, Chris Ellis I’m definitely borrowing this.

  2. Peter Nicholson on 2 Jun 2018 at 11:20 am

    As autumn arrives and rugby season begins, I have taken to reminiscing about great rugby matches I have watched. One such match was played between the Michaelhouse sixth team and probably the Maritzburg College eighth or ninth team. This match took place at Michaelhouse in the early eighties.

    At that time Michaelhouse had six senior teams and the glorious sixth was a sort of sick parade team rather like a spare gang that you find on a mine. My eldest son, Guy, who was asthmatic and very short-sighted, was a flank in the team which also included diabetics and two boys with limps because of short legs. It would have been nice if one of the boys had had a short right leg and the other a short left leg as it would have balanced the scrum but they both had short right legs. This meant that the scrum had a tendency to wheel to the left. Some of the team were non-smokers.

    Two fat boys with hardly a muscle between them were the props and a thin beanstalk of a chap was our line out specialist although his maximum jump was an estimated six inches.
    The Captain of the glorious sixth was Mark, a farmer’s son from Richmond, who for some reason was called Jack and only had one eye. He commanded his eager and restless team from the position of scrumhalf. The man in charge of this collection was the Afrikaans master, Etienne De Villiers. Over the years he had become more English than the English. He would dress in a flat country hunting cap, tweed jacket, paisley tie, calvary twill trousers and brogue shoes and sit on a shooting stick on the sidelines. With the beautiful autumnal oaks of Michaelhouse in the background he would holler frightfully jolly exhortations to his wheezing pack. It would look like a scene from the Old Berkshire Hunt with the scrum gently steaming in the rising mists of Balgowan.

    The match against Maritzburg College was the most feared as they were “the” rugby school, so a plan had to be hatched. It was the first year that black pupils were admitted to Michaelhouse under the Shell/BP scholarship scheme and there was a Zulu by the name of Madlala, who although he had never played rugby before, could run like the wind. The plan was to get the ball out from the scrum to Madlala on the wing without it being dropped or kicked forward or the centres falling over. The final step was to get Madlala to catch it and run in the right direction. Even in practices it never seemed to get there. If something hadn’t happened to it going along the line before it got to Johnson, the outside centre, Madlala was so fast he was usually way ahead of the line and the ball shot behind him into touch.

    I used to watch these practices with Graham Witherspoon, a farmer from Willowgrange, and we would put on a crowd effect of two with Etienne gesticulating with his walking stick in the background. On the day Maritzburg College marched onto the pitch with military precision. Our lads sort of fell onto it in bits and pieces and warmed up by throwing the ball to each other and dropping it. Things didn’t go to well from the start and the points mounted up to about 25 to nil at half time.

    Guy and the asthmatics were able to get to the scrums but had to lean against them to get their breaths back. Pumps were squirted, the fat boys arrived and the Maritzburg scrum waited patiently for the glorious sixth to regroup.
    The second half proceeded inexorably in annihilation mode as the score crept up to 35 to nil with about five minutes to the final whistle.
    It was then that our scrum managed to heel the ball to one-eyed Jack, who sent it off down the line and miraculously everyone caught it and passed it on until Johnson, the outside centre, tossed it wildly up in the air to Madlala. We held our breath and saw that Madlala had caught it and set off, wide-eyed, like a 747 with its flaps down , for the right hand corner post. It was then that he noticed the whole of the Maritzburg team crossing the field to descend on him. At that moment, I assume Madlala felt a certain disquiet because he came to a shuddering halt and executed a perfect 180 degree turn and proceeded back towards our line pursued by 15 large school boys.
    He was picking up speed all the time and to our amazement, started to curve around behind the remnants of our pack who were scattered across the field in disarray. He accelerated like Michael Schumacher on a final lap and headed for the far left corner flag. There was a final adrenaline filled stretch with Madlala curving outwards and schoolboys diving in his wake and he winged it over the far line for a glorious try. The roar from the crowd of three was deafening.

    By Chris Ellis

    • Jacques van Schoor on 3 Jun 2018 at 11:45 am

      Deeply grateful for this piece of joy captured in a genial way. You had my wife and me chuckling at random all morning.

    • Keith Sorensen ( ALEX 6ths 1967 ) on 4 Jun 2018 at 10:40 am

      Proof that English teachers do have an extraordinary ability to excite the imagination where underlying truths can be presented in such a manner so as to become embedded in ones right creative brain and memorized for easy recall when called upon to enhance any schoolboy rugby story !

  3. Jono Cook on 2 Jun 2018 at 9:53 am

    Here’s to a great game today.

Leave a Reply