The Northwood Knights’ 2022 cricket journey
The trip to Balgowan and the Roy Gathorne Oval last Saturday (22 January) turned out to be a tough one for the Northwood first XI.
Michaelhouse compiled a match-winning 305 for the loss of 7 wickets in their allotted 50 overs and Northwood’s reply was a modest 174 all out, which left the Men of House 131-run winners.
Northwood put Michaelhouse in and a measured start by openers Murray Baker (57) and James Kennedy set the ideal platform for House, the first wicket falling in the 16th of the allotted 50 overs with the total at 96.
And that ideal platform was not undone as House captain Jeremy Foss (71), Thomas McCall (48) plus the contributions of Joshua Heath (25) and Robbie Lawrence (27) took the home side to a formidable 305.
When it was Northwood’s turn to bat the Michaelhouse bowlers were backed by excellent support in the field with the spin of Joshua Heath (3 for 14 in 5 overs) and seam of Michael Thornton (2 for 14 in 6 overs) doing much of the damage.
In the last 8 matches between the two schools’ premier cricket sides, House have won 5 and Northwood 1 while 2 matches had to be abandoned.
I have no information on yesterday’s 100-balls per innings contest between Northwood and hosts Glenwood. Evidence suggests that Northwood coach Khalipha Cele’s boys have demonstrated that they are able to bounce back.
Feature photo: Best wishes to the Northwood coaches for the 2022 year. Former Proteas pace bowler Mornantau (Nantie) Hayward has been in the director of cricket position since October 1 and is also the U16A coach. Nantie obviously also works with first XI coach Khalipa Cele while the second XI (the Brown caps) are piloted by Vaughn van Jaarsveld and Brian Gow, with Alex van der Merwe (U15A) and Sam Mofokeng (U14A) completing the group.
Northwood had put together a good set of results going into the Michaelhouse fixture, having won 4 and lost 1 of their matches at the Grey High School festival in Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth).
First up was a T20 match against the hosts, Grey High, and the outcome did not favour the Knights, as the Northwood first XI is known. Despite getting off to a brisk start with James Nielsen’s 32 off 18 balls leading the way, Grey managed to pin the Northwood batsmen in their creases.
Not being allowed to rotate the strike put the Northwood batsmen under pressure and it took a 24 off 15 balls from captain Adam Chislett – the skipper came in with 3 overs to go – to push the Durban north lads to a total of 159.
The Grey opening batsmen took their time in establishing the platform for what would be a winning partnership and duly hauled in the run target with three overs in hand.
The Knights bounced back from the 10-wicket loss to earn an emphatic 92-run win over local side and match hosts Framesby High the next day before reeling off three closely-fought wins on the trot in their remaining festival games.
The Framesby match had to be reduced to a 45-over match due to rain. Having been put in, Northwood compiled a solid total of 199 with the main contributors being James Nielsen (40 off 70 balls), Ethan Grace (71 off 80) and captain Adam Chislett (29 off 29).
Chislett and Grace then opened the bowling and were able to contain the Framesby run chase. The pressure reaped its due reward with leg-spinner Saurav Matai taking 3 wickets in 4 balls in his eventual 3 for 18 from his maximum 9 overs. Ethan Grace completed a productive match in returning bowling figures of 2 for 15 in his 9 overs.
Adam Chislett opened the bowling with Ethan Grace restricting Framesby in the first 10 overs. Saurav Matai channelled his inner Shane Warne as the leg-spinner took 3 wickets in 4 balls. Matai finished with figures of 3/18 in 9 overs. Ethan Grace also contributed with the ball taking 2/15 in his 9 overs. Framesby all out for 107 to leave Northwood 92-run winners.
Next up for the Northwood Knights was a 50-over match against St Andrews School of Bloemfontein. Saints won the toss and got off to a good start, earning 54 runs before the opening batsmen were separated.
The Knights bowlers were then able to get wickets in clusters, which stymied Saints’ goal of building partnerships. With Adam Chislett picking up 4 wickets for 44 in 9.3 overs and Jason Pearce 3 for 29 in 7 it was a commendable effort to keep the run target below 200 as Saints’ innings folded to 189 all out from 46.3 overs.
Chasing 190 off 300 balls, Bradley Bumberry and the aggressive Jason Pearce added a 73-run partnership (Pearce getting 57 of the 73-run partnership) but it was touch and go at the end with 50 still needed to win and just three wickets in hand.
Under pressure, Northwood kept their heads and Evan Fouche alongside Ethan Grace got the Durban lads past the winning post with 1 wicket still intact.
On the same day at the Lance Klusener U15 festival hosted by his alma mater Durban High School (DHS) the Northwood U15A side beat Jeppe by 11 runs.
Northwood U15A made 144 all out in 44.5 overs with Jed Mun-Gavin 34 (43), Kyle White 25 (44) and Connor Leclezio 23 (53) standing out, to which Jeppe responded with 133 all out in 46.5 overs, the chief Northwood U15A wicket protagonists being Ben Cilliers (5/35 from 9.5 overs) and Matthew Norton (2/16 from 7 overs).
Next up for the Northwood Knights at the Grey festival was the premier team of one of South Africa’s greatest cricket nurseries, King Edward VII School (KES) of Johannesburg.
The gist of it is that in reply to KES’s 180 all out, Northwood reached 181 for 6 and a four-wicket victory.
Northwood skipper Adam Chislett (2 for 30), Ethan Grace (2 for 15) and Jason Pearce (2 for 26) restricted the KES batsmen to 180 all out before Grace (44), Pearce (32) and Evan Fouche (32) did the bulk of the business in piloting the Northwood ship home.
Just 96 days earlier, at Maritzburg College’s Oppenheimer Michaelmas Cricket Week, the KES first XI had beaten Northwood by 7 wickets.
Not exactly the same player personnel without doubt. But I would venture that a fair number of the same players played in both matches, so a Northwood turnaround of great merit.
This especially notable day for Northwood cricket also included the U15A side beating the Maritzburg College U15A team by 4 wickets. Northwood U15A’s successfully chased down the Maritzburg College U15A total of 212 for 7 to end on 213 for 6 with the main batting contributors being Aiden Potgieter (57), Ryan Fisher (46 not out) and Ross McGlashan (38*).
Earlier, two of the Northwood U15A bowlers to do make notable inroads into the Maritzburg College U15A batting attack were Ben Cilliers (2 for 30) and Matthew Norton (2 for 43).
Northwood’s first XI Knights then rounded off a successful festival in the Eastern Cape with a 9-run win over locally-based Pearson High. This high-scoring game saw the Knights compile 288 for 6 in their 50 overs, to which Pearson replied with 279 all out.
Three years prior, almost to the day, when the two schools had last met, Northwood edged home by 2 runs, and this time round the winning margin was also in single figures.
This Saturday, 29 January, Northwood host Clifton School first XI on the Smith Oval.
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