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Back You are here: Home Sports Cricket Gauteng Cricket: Cricket at St.Alban's Part One
Friday, 15 February 2013 10:02

Cricket: Cricket at St.Alban's Part One

 “I will coach any sport except Cricket,” said Detlef Basel at his interview for a teaching post at St Alban’s back in 1965, blissfully unaware that the headmaster, the legendary Anton Murray, was an ex-Springbok Cricketer. “Cricket is an organised waste of time!” (Despite the blasphemy, he still got the post – St Alban’s needed a Science teacher, but Anton refused to allow him anywhere near a Cricket field.)

St AlbansHe did not need to. St Alban’s has been blessed with long serving Cricket coaches of passion and expertise over the years. These include 1st team coaches Harry Birrell (ex-St Andrew’s, Eastern Province) Patrick Hamilton (Oxford), Paul Davies, Gerry van Wyk (SA Schools 1963), Bob Caple (Cricket Pro and Northamptonshire County Cricketer), Shane Kidwell, Neil Bielby, Barry de Tert, Gerhard Maree (Northerns Cricket Pro), Ryan Anderson-Ogle and Craig Hoyer.

Gerry van Wyk, fresh from coaching at Bishop’s and working with Bob Caple was responsible for creating the Private Schools’ Festival at St Alban’s. It has been held every year (except 1996 when floods damaged the fields) for the past 26 years.


SA Cricketing Network

 Cricket has been, if not the most successful sport, certainly the sport that has done most for St Alban’s acceptance into the Ivy League of SA Sport Schools. At the Private Schools Festival, the camaraderie between coaches has been built up over the years and it is wonderful to see old friends meet.

St Alban’s success over the years is not surprising, considering the succession of headmasters who were top cricketers themselves. Anton Murray was a Springbok cricketer, while Paul Marsh (also ex-St Andrew’s, was a provincial cricketer, as was Ronnie Todd, and Grant Nupen had excelled at a high level both at school and at university. (Tom Hamilton, the present headmaster, being Irish, would not have really encountered the game of the English, the Proddy enemy!)

 The Ethos of Cricket

Cricket resonates with all the values private schools hold dear. It is both team and individual; it embraces the values of sportsmanship perhaps more than any other sport; there is dignity in the competitive ethos of the game, and, at least at schoolboy level, there is a sense of thorough control by umpires which suits schoolmasters. It has long traditional connections with the great public schools of the UK. This is a sport not easily mastered, requiring application, dedication and perseverance over long periods of time and a technical expertise that has to be carefully coached and doggedly acquired. Above all, it is a character-building sport. There is time for introspection, time for self-control to be learnt as the player is forced to dig deep into his concentration, and that part of him that determines how he faces up to challenges. And it can be played at all levels with passion and enthusiasm and does not have to take an eternity as the following report from Craig Hoyer shows:  

U14C vs KES

St Alban’s win the toss and confidently elect to bat on a flat track – a potential batting paradise.

The first over produces 10 runs – a great start. However, 10 overs later the U14Cs are all out for 35!

KES are confident, home supporters anxious.

Inspired by their coach, Dave Mukhari, (a Blue Bulls Coach in winter) the undaunted U14Cs go in search of a victory.

1st over: 3 KES wickets for no runs. The game is on! (The home crowd goes mad)

2nd over: KES hit back with 7; (jubilation is dampened)

3rd over : 2 more wickets, and the game is evenly poised at 10 for 5; (but the home crowd is cautiously optimistic).

4th over: Disaster! KES score 15! 25 for 5 (The visitors cheer hoarsely, the home crowd goes silent);

5th over: 3 wickets fall! 25 for 8. A great win in sight! (But the home crowd is nervous)

And then, from the jaws of victory, defeat is snatched – KES score 11 runs in the same 5th over to win by 2 wickets!

Instant Cricket: it all took less than an hour!

 FOR St.Alban's College Cricket Part 2

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