8 May 2020 – The Covid-19 lockdown has been a shocking blow from the viewpoint of winter sports in schools, especially for learners in matric, set for one last hurrah, as the stars of their various teams, writes KZN10.com’s Brad Morgan. For Westville Boys’ High hockey captain, Ethan Matkovich, it’s meant missing out on an opportunity to follow up on a brilliant 2019 season, both individually and from the standpoint of the side.
Last year, Westville went undefeated, beating some of the top teams in the country, including Jeppe, whom many had considered to be number one before they met the KZN side, giving Westville a legitimate claim to the top spot.
Although he was in grade 11 at the time, Ethan was one of the key players in the Westville line-up, which was reflected in his selection for the KZN Coastal team and then the SA under-18 hockey squad.
Just before the lockdown began, that achievement was recognised when Ethan received his merit tie [a level above an honours’ award, given to boys who receive national honours] from Westville, along with Luke James (SA gymnastics) and Troy Botha (SA softball).
Westville vs Kearsney match report 2019
Westville vs Hilton match report 2019
There was uncertainty when schools closed early as to what it would mean for the winter sports’ season. Now, sadly, it has become clear: all schools’ hockey and rugby matches and inter-provincial tournaments have been cancelled.
“It is obviously something no one expected, or even thought this could ever happen. It is really tough,” Ethan said on Thursday.
“I think of all the build-up that we did, and all the training from last year that we haven’t been able to use. It’s a big shock for everybody. I was certainly expecting a lot of big things this year. Unfortunately it didn’t pan out and we’ve just got to try and find a way forward.”
Cleaning things up at the back, Westville hockey captain and centre half, Ethan Matkovich.
“It has been quite frustrating,” Director of Hockey, Cameron Mackay, said in a phone call. “I think it is more frustrating for the boys, especially for the matric boys who have gone through five years, always waiting for their matric year.
“Hopefully we can do something for the boys before the end of the year. It has been frustrating to be unable to do anything. I like to get onto the turf as much as possible, so it’s been tough.”
“There’s a couple of guys who have been in the system for a number of years. Keegan McCallum was injured last year, so he didn’t get to IPT, so this was his year to make up for that, but it’s tough because the guys have worked hard to get fit and get to where they are.”
There were many fans of hockey who were looking forward to seeing Westville in action this season, and they were not just supporters of the school. After their outstanding exploits of 2019, many wanted to see what kind of follow-up Westville would produce.
Mackay explained the make-up of the 2020 team: “We lost quite a few matrics from last year, but we still had Ethan. Our back four and goalkeeper were all gone, except for Ethan, then we kept two of our three starting midfielders, and we still had half of the forwards. We lost quite a few guys, but the grade tens coming through are quite decent as well. We had a good side for this year.”
It is worth noting the strength in midfield and up front because if there is one shortcoming in South African hockey, generally speaking, it is finishing. Then, having a general at the back, controlling matters, like Ethan Matkovich, goes a long way to providing a reliable and effective defensive unit.
“We have always had a philosophy at Westville of managing our back four the best we possibly can,” Mackay said, “and creating that platform first and then going forward from there. It’s been a good system in the last few years.
Always calm and composed, and a leader, Ethan Matkovich.
“A guy like Ethan is a blessing. He is just so controlled at the back. He controls the tempo of the game and he has a really good head on his shoulders.
“He keeps it simple and does the simple stuff better than anyone else, which is quite a strange thing to see in schoolboy hockey. You look for that at under-21 level, sometimes not even then. He has the maturity of a man at the back, which is cool.”
For Ethan, it is about leadership. He’s been a captain throughout his school career, in every team he has played in, excepting when he made teams as a player a year younger than the other boys.
Captaincy has always been a positive force in his sporting achievements, he said: I think it helps my game. It gives me more responsibility, which means I can’t lower my standards. I enjoy it.”
Like Westville’s approach to hockey, his leadership style is not flashy, it’s more of a blue-collar thing, getting down to work and setting the example. The word that keeps coming up is “simple”.
“We just have to keep things simple. The simple things are most often the things that win you games. Always work hard. You can’t beat hard work.
“We know, as Westville, we don’t have those flashy players and the ‘best players’, but we, as a team, will work harder than anyone else. We’re happy to play our way and do the hard work. If we win by one or we win by 10, we’re still winning the game.”
The Westville 1st XI of 2019 celebrate an undefeated season after a 3-1 victory over Kearsney College. Ethan Matkovich is on the left. (Photo: Highway Mail, https://highwaymail.co.za/)
That outlook is reflected in coach Cameron Mackay’s overall programme for Westville hockey. “We’ve set quite a good platform for ourselves where the kids are learning the same thing from grade eight,” he said.
“We might not always get the best kids [talent] in the province. We get a good type of kid, hard workers. We get good hockey players, too. But then you also have good cricketers who are good at hockey, and good soccer players who are good at hockey.”
“We have good depth, and we end up with kids who maybe didn’t come to Westville as hockey players, but they end up loving the sport.
“We set out a programme a few years ago – Sharmin Naidoo and I – where we put together a full programme that we wanted the boys to learn from under-14 to under-18, so all of our coaches spoke the same language. We kept it as simple as possible and we tried to make the philosophy that we will just do the basics better than anyone else, as opposed to trying to be really flamboyant and doing different things while allowing our coaches to do their own thing. I think that has been our biggest strength.”
In action in the famous black and white of the KwaZulu-Natal Coastal team.
It’s a no-frills approach, but it works very well. Ethan said: “Hard work is key. We hear from other players, at provincial tournaments, or at provincial training, they say they are a little intimidated to play us. Not because of the fancy stuff we do, but because we are always pressing and coming at them hard. I think that is shown in all aspects of the school. In academics, we generally have people in the top 10 percent of the province. In all sports, we generally have a group of boys performing at the top provincial level.”
As far as hockey is concerned, since Ethan has been at Westville Boys’ High (having attended Westville Pre-Primary, Westville Junior Primary, and Westville Senior Primary) the school has always been a top 10 team in South Africa. While he might not have the opportunity to continue that superb record this season with the school, there is at least some light on the hockey horizon for him.
Ethan is a member of the national under-18 squad and had been set to play for the side at the under-21 Inter-Provincial Tournament (IPT) this year. That opportunity has passed, but there is still a big event set for next year.
“We received an email the other day [from the South African Hockey Association], saying that for the under-18 squad they’re going to try and create contact time between the squad and the staff of those groups. They’ll try and do some video calls and mental training, speaking about a way forward.
“The Junior World Cup happens at the end of next year and hopefully a few of us will be able to go on that tour. They’re trying to be proactive, to connect with us, and making sure we’re okay. I assume they’re going to be doing this soon and showing us a way forward.”
The Westville hockey team, meanwhile, has not been idle. “We are trying to stay positive as a group,” Ethan said. “We are doing some fitness challenges and posting them on our WhatsApp group. Obviously everyone is hurting from this.
“We do simple stuff, like seeing how many push-ups you can do in a certain amount of time, a few silly things like that to keep us going.”
Besides being an outstanding hockey player, Ethan is also a top cricketer and has received his provincial colours in the sport. He is, naturally, captain of Westville, a player with a good head on his shoulders, and a composed batsman who plays with enviable fluency.
Ethan Matkovich on his way to an unbeaten fifty, which saw Westville to a hard-fought victory over DHS in the first term. (Photo: Brad Morgan)
The first term, he admitted, was an up and down time for the 1st XI, a very talented side on paper which, too often, found different players firing at different times and seldom together. In some games the bowling was on song, in others it was the batting, but, as happens in cricket, form can be a fleeting thing and the margins between winning and losing can be extremely fine.
Ethan was at his unruffled best in a win over DHS, leading his team from 50 for 5, chasing 146 to win, to victory without the loss of another wicket on a pitch that had some turn and an outfield that was very heavy, a fact that was reflected in the DHS innings which produced only two fours.
“We had a really good side on paper, but we battled to win the key moments in games,” Ethan said. But, with only four matric boys in the line-up, Westville was always a competitive team, which suggests good things are on the horizon, with lessons learnt from a challenging season set to become valuable assets. And the example set by the skipper is one of the biggest among them.
One thing that one can be pretty sure about, Ethan Matkovich will continue to lead, in good times, in bad times, when challenges are fun, when challenges are daunting, even in this unprecedented time. With that approach, whether the hockey season or any semblance of one happens this year, it is surely not the last we will hear about his sporting exploits.
KZN10.com website and social media wishes Maritzburg College Old Boy (Class of 2000) Brad Robinson everything of the best for the SA Masters Open Bowls Championships at Wingate Park Country Club in Pretoria today through Sunday.
KZN10.com caught up with Brad in Pretoria and asked this former Maritzburg College 2nd XI and UKZN Pietermaritzburg 1st XI cricketer (9 handicap golfer) to tell us more.
“Thanks Jono, yes I have fond memories of my 5 years at Maritzburg College.
“Jono, the SA Masters Open competition consists of the top 16 bowlers in the country, of whom 12 or so have represented the Proteas while the others are, like me, members of the SA Gold Squad.”
Brad (36) knows who will be super-keen to see him when he returns to his hometown – 18-month-old Mason Neil (Neil is the name of Brad’s well-known late dad) and baby brother the 8-week-old Cole.
Methinks Brad’s wife Rezelle will be as much relieved as she will be pleased to see her hubby after 4 days flying solo with these two pocket rockets.
I don’t follow bowls very closely, though I certainly recognise some of these stellar names in SA bowls:
#Gerry Baker, 5 times SA Masters winner
#Jason Evans, last year’s winner
#Billy Radloff (2018 winner)
#KZN’s Wayne Ritmuller (2017 and 2018 SA National Singles title winner)
#The other KZN bowler in the Masters is Wayne Roberts
Wayne Ritmuller beat Brad in the 2017 SA National Singles final.
The SA Singles and SA Masters Open are different competitions.
So, how does Brad see the Masters?
“Jono, the SA Masters Open is an intense, gruelling and hugely competitive event, but the camaraderie is always there.”
Divided into 2 sections of 8 players each, the bowlers each play 3 matches today, 3 more tomorrow, and then 1 on Sunday morning, before the winners of each section meet in the final at around lunchtime Sunday for the opportunity to be crowned the 2020 SA Masters Open champion.
“There is no bronze medal match for the section runners-up; they each get a bronze medal,” says Brad.
“The reasoning behind that is to ensure that all the focus is on the final.”
Too right! That is the way it should be in all sports. Surely there isn’t a sports lover on the planet who wants bronze medal matches anymore?
“This will be my 5th SA Masters Open and my 3rd in a row,” says Brad. “I played in 2 SA Masters 7 and 8 years ago, then wasn’t selected for 4 years.”
Pietermaritzburg-based Brad, who started playing competitive bowls at the age of 11, is a chartered accountant and senior manager at Price Waterhouse Coopers.
So what’s it like at Wingate Country Club in Pretoria, Brad?
“Jono, it’s a great setting here at Wingate; 6 greens catering for the 16 SA Masters Open bowlers, the same number in the equivalent ladies’ competition; then the SA Masters Under-30’s – that’s 12 bowlers in each of the male and female competitions – and finally the Over-60’s SA Masters Veterans, which is 12 men and 12 women, so it’s going to be pretty busy.”
#Apart from the KZN names squaring up in the SA Masters Open, there are also a number of KZN bowlers in the other competitions; such as Durban’s Bronwyn Webber in the SA Masters Open Ladies, Pietermaritzburg’s Sean Lightfoot and Kholwani “Kwa” Khanyile in the Under-30’s, and, of course, the KZN capital’s well-known Laylon Howard in the Over-60’s.
Scott Fraser – formerly of PMB, now Cape Town – is also in the U30’s showdown.
Best wishes to all.
Please search on Facebook for the @KZN10com page and click on the “like” icon or click on the KZN10.com Facebook icon right here on the KZN10.com website homepage for further updates as well as upcoming features on the 10 Schools (from north to south in the KwaZulu-Natal province’s geographical region, they are Michaelhouse, Hilton, Maritzburg College, St Charles, Kearsney, Westville, Glenwood, DHS, Clifton and Northwood) in the 6 major team sports (rugby, cricket, hockey, water polo, basketball and soccer) as well as more sports.
Follow Brad Robinson’s daily results here
(sections, names, times, opponents)
(links take you to each section and category)
Michaelhouse and Maritzburg College clashed in a inter schools fixture which resulted in teams playing to a pulsating 1-1 draw.
College came into the fixture on a great run of form having beaten highly fancied Kingsway of Amanzimtoti the day before. The absence of inspirational keeper, Thandolwethu Zondi, and talismanic striker, Tariq Whiteman, could slow down the visitors.
Michaelhouse started the game like a house on fire and immediately stamped their authority on proceedings. Luc Pousson being instrumental as he bossed the midfield in the opening stages as James Gush had two great scoring opportunities in the opening quarter. Shortly after College keeper, Luyanda Mawela, again saved College by blocking a Thabo Dlamini shot.
After being totally outplayed for most of the half the visitors finally strung some passes together resulting in their best chance of the match as a Monty Dorlly effort crashed in to the cross bar. In a flash the ball was moved up field for fleet-of-foot Thabo Dlamini to coolly slot the opening goal away. 1-0 to the hosts and well deserved for their dominant 1st half performace.
College needed to raise the tempo in the second half, and that they did, as they pressured the Michaelhouse midfield. A sustained period resulted in College Striker, Nhlakanipho Khubeka, being brought down in the area. Captain Cool, Lwazi Zondi, wasted no time in slotting the penalty passed Michaelhouse keeper, Noah Stanger making the scores 1-1.
It was game on as the teams entered the last quarter of the match with the action being fast and frenetic as the teams moved up and down the pitch. Both goalmouths witnessed mad scrambled clearances as the two teams searched for the winner.
The game ended in a stalemate as the ref blew his whistle on a thoroughly entertaining match. Credit to College for the way they played particularly after they were reduced to 10 men after a sending off of one of their players.
Michaelhouse next head to the St Davids challenge cup with a nicely balanced team anchored by their man at the back Noah Stanger. College can finally have a break after a busy last few weeks
Michaelhouse: 1 (Thabo Dlamini)
Maritzburg College 1 (Lwazi Zondi)
Michaelhouse: 1 Noah Stanger (c), 3 Luc Pousson, 8 Nick Crampton, 5 Michael Bradford, 6 Mugabi Lubinga, 2 James Gush, 7 Gareth Kemp, 4 Michael Ross, 13 Alex Vermeulen, 9 Thabo Dlamini (vc)
18 Matthew Craigie-Stevenson
Head coach Ryan van Wyk
College: 16 Luyanda Mawela, 2 Monty Dorlly, 12 Zusiphe Gxarisa, 3 Nhlakanipho Phenyane, 5 Nqululeko Zondo, 13 Theo Hlatswayo,8 Bayanda Gumbi, 10 Lwazi Zondi (c), 14 Chad Desplace, 7 Nhlakanipho Khubeka (vc), 11 Nqibelelo Msiya
4 Riley Naidoo
9 Billy Brooks
There is an African proverb that says, ‘when elephants fight the only thing that suffers is the grass’. This will be so true when these two rugby giants collide on Goldstones on Saturday Afternoon. Fortunately, the only thing that will suffer will be the grass and nothing else. The hallowed ground of the red, black and white is a little more forgiving these days so come sun down tomorrow the field will most certainly bear the marks of a ferocious battle.
College come into the game with a 5 match winning streak after early season wobbles and seem to have settled on the right combinations. The inconsistency which has marked this Westville season took another twist last week as they lost to Hilton College at home in another game they had all the rights to win.
In Westville, College face a very similar team to Northwood, a brutal pack and some lighting quick backs. The key is, can the College loose forwards get around the park quick enough to plug all the holes that the likes of Westville fullback, Mbaso Nonki, may exploit.
Not that we need reminding just how dangerous they can be but here is the match winning try between Westville and Affies from just two weeks ago:
Against Northwood, College were caught a bit flat footed against the pace of Makhaza at the back. If College are going to play field position the rugby axiom of ‘a kick up field is only as good as its chase” comes into play.
There are intriguing match ups all the way through the teams. In the forwards it should be a titanic struggle for supremacy.
A player to keep an eye out for is Kgopotso Matlena of Westville in the second row. The Academy week player had a brilliant game against Hilton and has got great hands for a lock and is extremely agile. The question is can he do enough of the work in the trenches to affect play.
Opposite Matlena, is uncompromising Wandile Hlope for College. The Craven week lock may not move as well as Matlena but his brute strength in defence and general work in the tight lose sets him apart.
For College they will look for play maker Nzimande to control the game and spark their back line. A running flyhalf if ever there was one, the question that will need answering is, can he get College to play rugby in the right parts of the field? For all his great abilities he does lack that extra 10-20 metres of distance in his touch finders which could give Westville the platform to attack from.
Then there is the midfield battle between Mambo Mkhize of Westville and Kekana of College. Mkhize is a powerful ball runner, who more often than not, draws two and sometimes three defenders as he attacks the line.
The one weakness in his game at this stage of his rugby development is that his pass off either hand isn’t particularly convincing. He has perfected the art of the ‘Sonny Bill’ type pass out of a tackle so if he can free his arms he is capable of keeping the play moving.
Kekana is the rock of defence in the midfield between the two play makers Nzimande and Simemane and his role has certainly bought a little more balance to the College back line.
It is sure to be a great match as these two schools clash and we at KZN10 cannot wait.
Kickoff times : 1st 15:00
Elsewhere in the province, DHS take on Voortrekker in Durban whilst Clifton College play the DHS 2nd team on stagger. DHS should be to strong with Academy week player, Darren Booysen, sure to set Van Heerdens alight with his dynamic running.
Northwood head out of the province to take on St Benedicts College. The Knights have enjoyed the comforts of home or 4 weeks now and have delivered some great performances and leave with a 3 from 4 record. This should be a weekend where Northwood take the spoils ably lead by Craven week flank and team Captain Sasko Ndlovu.
School Rugby Results
A quick glance at an overview of this weekends school rugby results. From nice bounce back wins to last gasp winners we have it all here.
Northwood Vs Westville
Shrugged off last weeks disappointment(featured Picture(C) Northwood)
|Paarl Boys High||7||~||55||0||~||24||14||~||33||0||~||22|
Michaelhouse Vs DHS
|Maritzburg College 9th||48||~||7|
|Maritzburg College 10th||7||~||26|
Kearsney College Vs Maritzburg College
|Maritzburg College U16D||0||~||24|
|Maritzburg College U16E||0||~||50|
|Maritzburg College U15D||10||~||24|
|Maritzburg College U15E||0||~||55|
|Maritzburg College U14D||29||~||12|
|Maritzburg College U14F||19||~||30|
Hilton College Vs Alexandra High
|Alexandra High 1st||50||~||0|
|Alexandra High U16A||25||~||29|
|Alexandra High U15 A||0||~||30|
|Alexandra High U14A||54||~||0|
Clifton College Vs Pionier Hoer Skool
Rugby takes center stage
Yesterday marked the start of the 2nd term for the government schools and would traditionally have signaled the beginning of the winter sports season with rugby boots getting the full on Dubbin Treatment and jerseys readied.
Of course much has changed over the last 20 odd years, but with the calendars of the private and government schools being particularly at odds with each other this year, much rugby has already been played. One notable observation has been that Hilton College’s and Glenwood’s 1st teams have played 5 matches already as opposed to Maritzburg College’s 2.
It has, nonetheless, been a busy holiday overall with many of the KZN10 schools taking part in festivals all over the country from U14 all the way up to 1st team with some really encouraging performances from the schools. And to think the Easter festivals are still 2 weeks away! Its no wonder preseason starts in September.
With that said, most of you would have probably been kept up to date on your schools latest results but here at KZN10 we like to know whats happening in all the schools. So just to get everyone up to speed as to what has happened in the last month I’ll post a summary of the results of the KZN10 schools 1st teams.
9 March: Martizburg College
For the casual observer this may have come as a shock, but the Knights were organized, executed their game plan effectively and made the most of their opportunities.
21 March: Grey High School(Grey Festival)
23 March: Selborne College(Grey Festival)
An absolute heart breaker for the Knights as they lost in the last movement of the game. Credit must go to the Selborne kicker as he nailed a tricky conversion to win the game. Tough going Knights! See the sequence below.
Incidentally the player who scored the winning try for Selborne, Jarrod Taylor, is a awesome player who should be in the reckoning for a SA Schools cap. At the recent World Schools Festival he was simply outstanding.
04 March: Port Shepstone
09 March: Richards Bay
13 March: Amanzimtoti High School
16 March: Michaelhouse 2nd
An encouraging sign for Clifton is that on this day their lower age group A teams played the Michaelhouse B teams on stagger and won their matches fairly comfortably.
09 March: Hilton College
21 March: Framesby(Grey festival)
23 March: Grey High School(Grey Festival)
9 March: Glenwood
Glenwood Rugby Festival:
Piet Potgieter: 19-12
16 March: Hilton College
23 March: St Charles College
9 March: Westville
21 March: KES(Wynberg Rugby Festival)
Mar 23: San Isidro Rugby Club-Argentina(Wynberg Rugby Festival)
Mar 26: John McGlashan-New Zealand(World Schools Festival)
Highlights from the game, clip is about 10 minutes long
Mar29: Asia Pacific Dragons (World Schools Festival)
9 March: Northwood
23 March: Noord Kaap
16 March: St Charles College
23 March: Hilton College
St Charles College
16 March: Michaelhouse
9 March: DHS
16 March: Kearsney College
23 March: Michaelhouse
27 March: USA Schools XV
30 March: Italian All Stars
This weekend promises to be an action packed one with Glenwood hosting Maritzburg College on Dixons and DHS hosting Westville on Van Heerdens. Both DHS and Glenwood have made these compulsory fixtures for their boys so the atmosphere should be electric at both venues. For those that can’t make the Glenwood/Maritzburg College game it will be televised live on Supersport as part of their Premier Schools coverage, kick off is 13:55.
With the private schools still on holiday 3 of them will be heading down to the Kingswood 125th festival. There are some potentially good match ups for our KZN10 schools particularly against St Andrews College who will play both Hilton and Kearsney. Clifton round out the trio of schools and should have a stern test from Graeme College.
St Andrews had a good set of results at the Grey High Festival so we will definitely keep an eye out as to how our schools fair.
So if you are in and around the Durban go and support the boys.
Thats all from me till next time,
Water Polo was also in action over this last weekend with all the KZN10 schools competing against each other.
Clifton VS Northwood
Clifton started the year off with a bang scoring a staggering 109 goals whilst conceding only 27. With 7 wins and 1 loss the bragging rights for this week belong to Clifton. Next up for the Northwood 1st team is a trip to Bloemfontein to take part in Itec Grey College 1st team water polo tournament whilst the rest of the school takes on HIlton College at home. Clifton head to Kearsney College
Glenwood VS Saint Charles
Glenwood water polo fared a little better than their Basketball counterparts by winning 2 drawing 1 and losing 1 against Saint Charles. It is worth noting that Saint Charles did not play the Glenwood 1st team. Next up for Glenwood is a battle of the blue bloods as they head to the Chad Le Clos aquatics centre to take on powerhouse Westville Boys who have swept aside Maritzburg College and Michaelhouse the last 2 weekends. Saint Charles take the short trip across the city to take College.
Kearsney VS DHS
A dominant display from Kearnsey as they won 4 lost 1 to DHS on the day, conceding only 15 goals but putting 59 goals past DHS. Next up for DHS is a trip to Michaelhouse, whilst Kearsney can look forward to Clifton College playing them at home.
Michaelhouse VS Westville
Michaelhouse showed some promise as their U14’s had some convincing wins. Overall on the day Michaelhouse won 4 and lost 5. Next up for Michaelhouse is DHS at home whilst Westville hosts Glenwood in midweek fixture on the 22 January 2019.
Hilton College VS Maritzburg College
Hilton showed once again that they are class act of the Midlands KZN10 schools with convincing day against College. Winning 4 drawing 4 and losing 1 doesn’t do justice to their dominance as their wins came with a combined score of 59 to 6. Next up for Hilton College is the long trip to Stellenbosch to take part in the Paul Roos festivall whilst the school takes on Northwood at home. College next host Saint Charles College
Westville VS Glenwood
Westville again highlighted their status as a water polo powerhouse with a convincing afternoon against visitors Glenwood. Westville on the day played 8 won 7 and lost 1, with an average wining margin of 11 goals to 3, indicating just how dominant they were from top to bottom.
APPROACHING it, doing it, the right way… every time.
SA Schools hockey player, Maritzburg College first XI cricket captain, prominent school leader and noted academic Andre Bradford is one of those quietly efficient boys who gets on with the job with the minimum of fuss and produces the goods.
Feature image: WALKING TALL – Andre Bradford… SA Schools.
KZN10.com wanted to find out more – So Andre, what was your overall impression of last month’s SA U18 vs Oz U17 Schoolboys series, what you learnt from it about yourself as a player, was there a good vibe between the teams, the atmosphere during the matches?
“I will never forget the surreal feeling I experienced walking onto the field on the first night, lining up, singing the national anthem…
“It was an amazing opportunity and a great honour to be a part of an SA Schools team but it’s even better to be able to participate for that team against another country. Playing against Australia was an experience that I will never forget, and I think it is a good initiative to improve schoolboy hockey in South Africa.
“With the matches being held during the U16 iWYZE Old Mutual Boys and Girls Hockey Nationals – and so much hype about the series beforehand – the crowds on all three nights were bigger than I have ever played in front of and the atmosphere was electric.
“The series was hard-fought, challenged me to my limits and taught me lots of lessons – on and off the field. I learnt so much in training from our head coach Mr Devon van der Merwe as well as Mr Krinesan Moodley (St Alban’s College director of sport and Northern Blues men’s head coach) – and just being able to play and train with the best schoolboy players in the country improved my game.
“The vibe between the two teams was friendly and the games were played in good spirit. The two teams had a few opportunities to get to know each other and I’m sure some of those friendships will live long after the series. Overall, I thought the whole series was a huge positive for me personally and for schoolboy hockey in South Africa and I feel privileged to have been a part of it.”
And what about Andre’s favourite 2018 iWYZE Old Mutual Hockey Nationals match in KZN Inland colours? Where, as mentioned, KZN Inland were silver medallists to a very smart KZN Coastal team piloted by head coach Keegan Pierce (Clifton College director of hockey) and captain Guy Morgan (Kearsney College).
“My favourite match… probably the semi-final against (defending champions) Western Province. In previous years I have played against Province and on all three occasions I have lost. Being a semi-final, it was always going to be a big game. I think what made it so special was the fact that we defended so well and were able to take our chances at crucial moments. Beating Province for the first time will always be memorable.”
In that match, KZN Inland head coach Matt Fairweather (Hilton College) devised the perfect game plan. It was in KZN10.com’s opinion one of the most flawless schoolboy hockey team performances seen in decades of watching stick-and-ball schoolboy classics.
On a nuts-and-bolts issue, Andre
Bradford also performed the vital role of penalty corner injection trapper for Maritzburg College and KZN Inland – and when necessary for SA Schools.
Andre’s thoughts on the set-piece technicalities? “It’s really important to have a quick, accurate push because with a good stop it allows the flicker much more time at the top of the D, thus giving the flicker the chance to pick any spot on the goal. With a slow or inaccurate push and stop, often the first wave will run the flicker down, and not allow them to get a flick off.”
It’s a no-brainer that achieving SA Schools selection doesn’t just happen. It’s the schoolboy hockey player’s most coveted prize… many years of toil on training pitches have already been banked in learning, then honing, skills/tactical/technical knowledge before implementing the full package come big-match time, thereby catching the national selectors’ attention.
“I started playing hockey when I was 7 years old. Paul Gonlag was a big influence in my primary school years, encouraging me to use my talent and work hard.”
* A soldier of the game in KZN Inland, Eston Primary’s Paul Gonlag has nurtured some astonishing young talent both at his school and in provincial U13 sides – the sight of now SA men’s striker Tevin Kok, probably the smallest boy at that particular U13 Hockey Nationals, wielding his hockey wand like a wizard (mixed metaphor? You be the judge) on Papes will remain forever-etched in my bank of hockey memories. Let’s get back to Andre before I wander off in a fairy-tale of memories.
“In high school, Mr Swart, Mr (Kyle) Emerson (MC and KZN Inland U16A head coach) and Mr (Devon) van der Merwe (then MC hockey director, now Hilton College first team and SA Schools’ coach), pushed me and improved my technical ability immensely.
“Also having been coached this year by the likes of Mr Coombes (MC) and Mr Fairweather (KZN Inland), I learnt a lot about what it takes to play at the top levels because they are experienced at the highest level.”
On the domestic front – the following number of paragraphs illustrates what it means for a boy to represent his school:
Saturday, 4 August was The Big Show… Andre and the boys’ last match in a Red Army shirt… their last match on Fortress Pape’s Astro… Maritzburg College Reunion Saturday… an expectant crowd, many seeing their only alma mater match of the year… wanting to assure those Old Boys, in the flesh, that Maritzburg College hockey was maintaining its heritage of excellence – and it couldn’t have been scripted any better than what happened for real.
The Red Army put on a stunning first half… totally in keeping with the illustrious traditions of MC first team hockey. A good KES side, who were shaded 2-1 in the Johannesburg leg of this biannual fixture, were subjected to a 4-0 blitzkrieg in the first 30 minutes. The grizzled Old Boys, most still a little fragile from the festivities the night before, were impressed… an adjective that actually doesn’t do justice to their assessment.
“The first KES match in Johannesburg (4 May) was a tough one, having travelled up there the day before. It is never easy against a dogged KES team. I think the first game came down to us taking our chances in a tight game. I am sure KES came to Pape’s with lots of motivation to try and turn that around. They are a team that never give up and play with a lot of heart.”
Indeed, once KES had absorbed the 4-0 first-half rout, they were much better after the changeover, but the end-game score was 5-0. You don’t allow any Red Army side a four-goal lead.
“The College boys were extremely motivated – Reunion Day, the watching Old Boys, final game of the season, the very last game for the Grade 12’s. It was an emotional one for all of us. Having said that, it was important that we all focused on doing our job – and then savoured the moment when it was all over.
“We are so fortunate to have been involved in such a professional hockey programme at College. I have trained under a series of great coaches on Pape’s. The past two years, playing for 1st team, have grown me enormously as a player and the two years are packed with good memories.
“Despite the 5-0 and the excellent team performance, it was to an extent a sad moment when the final whistle went and the realisation hit that I would never again be able to pull the shirt on and play for the Red Army.
“I will always be grateful for the opportunity I was given to represent College and will cherish the memories for the rest of my life.”
KZN10: Andre, apart from your hockey achievements, your cricketing and academic prowess has also been notable. As the Maritzburg College first XI cricket captain, wicketkeeper and top-order batsman, plus a deputy head prefect, as well as one of the school’s leading grade 12 academics, do you find the responsibility puts a strain on you or brings out the best?
Andre: Definitely brings out the best in me. I’ve always been really busy and I find I do better under pressure. There are times when I struggle with it all but I always seem to find a way through it.
KZN10: You obviously have an extremely busy schedule as far as sport, academics and student leadership is concerned, how do you manage your time in order to do justice to all these activities plus have some leisure time?
AB: I don’t procrastinate much, so when I do something, I do it properly and don’t waste time. I also organise everything in advance so I can see where I’ll need to apply myself more. This allows me to have enough time for everything and be able to do it to the best of my ability.
KZN10: You played a key role in the 2018 Maritzburg College first hockey team’s successful year – and in the excellent KZN Inland team that did everything but win the iWYZE Old Mutual Boys U18 Hockey Nationals on Pape’s Astro at Maritzburg College last month, what is it about your hockey that has enabled you to add value to your teams?
“I am a midfielder but I’m also able to play at the back. I find myself most comfortable playing a deep centre mid (a deep blocker) position because I enjoy distributing. In this role I was able to do this more often than not – and being quite a defensive player, I was able to add value to the defensive unit of both my school and provincial team.”
In your hockey, cricket careers so far, what representative teams/squads have you played/been selected for? Provincial and SA.
“In cricket, KZN Inland U17 (last year), in hockey, KZN Inland U14A, U16B, U16A, U18B, U18A, and SA U16B, and SA U18A.”
There you have the evidence of a sportsman’s consistency over time and progression up the ladder, one step-up, followed by another.
Braderz made his Red Army first team hockey debut at the beginning of last year and as of the last match of the season, the 5-0 defeat of KES on Maritzburg College Old Boys Day Saturday, 4 August, was not far off 50 appearances. So how has his game improved over the two years?
“I have come a long way since my Red Army debut, developed a lot mentally and technically. In my first few games I really struggled with the speed and intensity but gradually got used to it and able to keep up with it. I’ve become a lot more confident in my ability and feel much more comfortable on the Astro.”
* Dylan Coombes, in his first year as Maritzburg College director of hockey and first team head coach, has completed a wonderful season in which the school’s depth and quality of hockey across the age-groups has ensured a remarkable win/loss percentage.
So Braderz, which has been your most memorable Red Army match?
“It has to be Westville last year. We played at home and won 8-2. Mr Swart, who was our coach and is now the deputy headmaster, co-curricular, always spoke about ebbs and flows of sports – and this was definitely the highest point of our season.
“As I mentioned, we played on our home pitch, Pape’s Astro, and everything just seemed to fall into place – we took the majority of our chances and controlled possession for very long periods of the game. It was a very strong Westville side at the time and that’s what made it such a memorable victory.”
Westville versus Red Army is always a massive contest. A couple of years ago, the 2015 Maritzburg College Reunion Saturday, outstanding Westville captain Ryan Bradfield led his side to a memorable win over yet another very good Red Army squad.
As I write, I vividly recall the disappointment etched on the faces of that particular MC first side as they trooped off Pape’s. Andre and his grade 12’s of the Red Army Class of 2018 are indeed fortunate to have experienced a diametrically different outcome to their red-letter day.
And this year, at Westville, director of hockey and first team coach Cam Mackay’s posse of high-calibre players scored one of the rare 2018 victories over College’s star-studded Red Army, so Andre’s favourite game – placed in all these contexts – indicates just how well coach Brandon Swart and his Red Army’s plans came together in the 8-2 of 2017.
And on the cricket front?
“I started playing cricket at the end of my grade 10 year, in 2016, I think I have approximately 46 caps for the 1st team. When I first started out I was very weak and didn’t understand my game very well. With all the coaching and experience, though, I have developed good game plans and now am able to bat longer periods and absorb pressure better. I have also developed lots on the mental side of cricket and feel I am a lot more positive than when I first started.”
In first XI cricket terms, the match Braderz signals as extra-special can also be placed in context of the calibre of the opposition. St Stithians College cricket, under the direction of Wim Jansen, have held sway in South African schoolboy cricket over a number of cricket seasons in these early years of the 21st Century.
“Yes, my most memorable first XI cricket match has to be beating St Stithians on the first day of Oppenheimer Michaelmas Cricket Week last year on Goldstones.
“We bowled first and got St Stithians for 149. The wicket was quite grassy, so even batting second wasn’t the easiest but the top order batted well to chase it down and win by 6 wickets. At the time Saints were regarded as being number 1 in the country and this was a very good result for us. I’ll never forget that game.”
So where did the Captain Dre cricket journey begin?
“As in hockey, I also started playing cricket when I was about 7 years old. Chris Anderson was my private coach for many years as I grew up and he helped me develop my technical skills.
“Recently, Doug Watson (a recent MC cricket director, first XI and latterly HP coach) has had a huge impact on my cricketing skills. Also having played at a very high level, Mr Watson’s knowledge of the game and understanding of what works and what can be improved, has been very beneficial to me. He helped me to focus on and understand the mental side of all sports.
“Also, (current first XI head coach and MIC cricket) Dave Pryke, has been a big influence on me and has been very supportive and positive for the past two years of 1st team cricket. He has also really helped me to grow my leadership abilities and is always there to bounce ideas off.”
* The knowledge gained in Prykie’s long first-class career has certainly been invaluable to MC first XI cricket in the relatively short time he has been working at his alma mater. Indeed, the first XI management team of head coach Prykie, his assistant Kevin Smith (also MC director of rugby and a prominent MC cricketer in his day), Ellie Pryke the team manager (that husband – the head coach- and wife- the manager – combination is surely unique in SA schoolboy cricket), and biokineticist/conditioning coach Jason Greef is one of the major elements in the hugely talented 2018 team’s success.
I’ve posed the following question in previous KZN10.com feature articles – and I will always pose it to the boy interviewed, it’s that important… – ‘Andre, has the support of family and friends also been a major boost in the good times (making a provincial or SA team for example) and the bad (injuries and illness for example) that are inevitable in every sportsman’s career?’
“Fortunately I come from a very supportive family, Mr Cook. I struggle to remember a game where my parents have not been there to watch. I think at times I take this for granted but it really does make a big difference. My family have never pushed me into anything and always support my decisions and provide all the help they can. None of my success would have been possible without them.
“My dad (Michel) is someone I can always go to, bounce ideas off and just talk in general about my games and the what-ifs moments. I haven’t had many serious injuries yet, thankfully, but my mom (Gail) has always been there to help me when I’ve been sick, which I’ll always be grateful for.
“My brothers (Paul and Jacques) have also had a huge influence on my sports. I spent most of my childhood playing ball games with them and ‘making’ them throw-down to me or hit at me for long hours.”
Yup – you’ve said it Andre, just about every schoolboy sportsman – whether he plays E’s, F’s and G’s or A’s, B’s and C’s owes much to those who support him.
KZN10.com wishes you everything of the best for the rest of 2018 and the future.
One thing’s for sure – work ethic will not be an Andre Bradford problem.
Andre Bradford off the field? Go to http://kzn10.com/maritzburg-colleges-andre-bradford-in-20-seconds/
Explore Maritzburg College the school at maritzburgcollege.co.za/
MARITZBURG College first team coach Dylan Coombes gave high praise to his boys as their outstanding season came to a close in fine style with a 5-0 victory over King Edward VII School (KES) on Papes Astro Saturday.
It was one to savour, too, for the many Old Boys gathered in the KZN capital for the Maritzburg College Reunion Weekend.
Also filling the director of hockey position at Maritzburg College, it must give Dylan cause for much satisfaction in Saturday’s overall tally of played 16, won 11, drew 3 and lost 2. These stats are certainly in keeping with the consistency in Maritzburg College hockey through the age groups this year and the strength in depth in each age group.
Courtesy of Maritzburg College marketing, here are Dylan’s thoughts on Saturday’s 5-0 first team win over KES.
“Maritzburg College won the previous encounter 2-1 one in a close contest and the expectation was that it would be another close match.
“Maritzburg College however had other plans and put in one of their best performances of the year. College’s intentions were clear in their clinical and sharp approach to everything they did and also had the lion’s share of the possession throughout the match.
“College took just short of 3 minutes to open their account when fine interplay between Adrian Greaves and Angelo Walstroom won the first penalty corner. The penalty corner execution, whilst far from perfect, proved effective when Gregory Will pushed the ball home after slight confusion at the top of the circle.
“Just two minutes later and College would recycle and transfer the ball superbly to the left flank finding Mpumelelo Maphumulo in space. With a brilliant backhand pass into the circle he found Angelo Walstroom who, having found excellent space, took the tally to two with a brilliant deflection goal.
“College continued to dominate proceedings but it took until the 26th minute to further extend their lead, when Keegan Kleiner found himself in the circle and rolled the ball to a free Mpumelelo Maphumulo.
“Maphumulo received across his body and struck the ball well into the bottom left corner (3-0). The first half barrage from College was not done yet. Angelo Walstroom again received in good space in the circle. With calm and composed play he clinically protected the ball, turned and fired on his forehand into the bottom right corner, which would see the half out with College 4-0 up.
“The College outfit continued the dominant play into the second half, creating many more opportunities. In the 9th minute College earned themselves a penalty corner. Captain Russell Stainbank and Andre Bradford combined beautifully in what has become a go-to call for College this year. With a perfect pass from Stainbank, Bradford clinically deflected home on the backhand for the 5-0 end result.
“College could easily have built on this lead but could afford to let their foot off the pedal. It was a fine display to see a great season close on Pape’s.”
Thanks Dylan, it certainly has been a memorable first year for you in the director of hockey and first team coach positions at Maritzburg College.
Summary of Maritzburg College vs KES results
Lost 2 (staggered matches MC U16E vs KES 0-1 and MC U16G vs KES U16D 0-3)
SPECIFIC TEAM RESULTS
(MC score first)
3rds won 3-1
4th won 5-0
U16A drew 1-1
U16D vs KES U16B won 2-1
U16E vs KES U16C lost 0-1
U16Fvs KES U16C won 2-0
U16G vs KES U16D lost 0-3
U14A drew 1-1
U14B won 3-2
U14C drew 1-1
U14D won 6-1
U14E won 7-2
FIVE of the 15 hockey matches between hosts Westville and Maritzburg College on Westville Old Boys’ Day, Saturday 9 June 2018 were decided by one goal while two ended in draws. First team – Westville won 2-1; U16A 1-1; and U14A Maritzburg College won 3-0. Overall results: Westville won 4 Maritzburg College won 9 and 2 draws.
The fixtures concluded the Westville season. Maritzburg College won 9 of the matches for a 60% win rate with Westville winning 4. The overall goal tally reflected that Westville scored 14 in the 15 matches with College netting 31… The figures equate to an average 1 goal a game for Westville and 2 per match for College.
Featured image: Westville first hockey team 2018
Photo by Keiya Davies
The Open age group saw Westville 1sts and 3rds the victors with College 2nds and 4ths emerging as the winners in their matches.
The U16 age group reflected that Westville won 2 matches (C’s and F’s), College 3 (B’s, D’s and E’s) and 1 draw (A’s).
The U14 age group saw Maritzburg College win 4 of the 5 matches against Westville. The Red Black and White won A’s B’s, C’s and D’s while the E’s match ended in a 0-0 stalemate.
The first team match sounds like it was an absolute humdinger, in keeping with recent times. As Ann Davidson says, “What a great game to finish the Westville season.”
RESULTS – WESTVILLE vs MARITZBURG COLLEGE
Westville scores first