SA Cricket magazine rounds up the latest progress from the various franchises ahead of the National Finals of the Schools T20 Challenge, set to take place between 24-26 March in Stellenbosch.
Cobras – Wynberg Boys’ High
One of the perennial powerhouses in South African schoolboy cricket, Jacques Kallis’ alma mater qualified as the Western Province champions. They then defeated Paul Roos (Boland champs) by eight wickets, before a Josh Breed century helped them down South Western Districts’ champions, Oakhill School, by 121 runs to earn the right to represent the Cobras franchise at this year’s national finals.
Dolphins – Glenwood High
One of the strongest sides coming out of the Durban area, Glenwood will represent the Dolphins in the National Finals for the first time ever. Having beaten DHS to take the KZN Coastal crown, Andile Phehlukwayo’s old school managed to defend 117 against KZN Inland champs St Charles to earn the right to play in the Dolphins’ colours.
Knights – St Andrew’s School vs Noord-Kaap (Friday 10 March) Grey College have been the perennial powerhouses in the Knights region, however, 2017 will see a new face in the finals. Both St Andrew’s and Noord-Kaap have featured in the National Finals previously, but come Friday 10 March, one of the two schools will have the right to represent the Knights in this Free State vs Griquas final. St Andrew’s had earlier beaten Goudveld by 121 runs in the Free State final, courtesy of fifties from Gerald Coetzee and Janrich Viljoen, as well as a 4-14 from Franklin Damons.
Lions – TBC
The defending champions, St Stithians College, are once again the hot favourites to represent the Lions, having defended 121 in their 10-run win over KES in the final of the Johnny Waite Knockout competition to determine the Gauteng winner. Saints will play the winner of the North West region to determine the Lions franchise representative.
Titans – Centurion High
What a cricketing year it is turning out to be for Centurion High. In January, Duanne Olivier became their first old boy to play Test cricket and now they will make their debut in the National Finals of the Coke Schools T20 Challenge. Having disposed of Waterkloof in the Northerns final, they then beat Limpopo champions Pietersburg High to book a spot in the Titans final against Nelspruit. Cameos from Charl van den Heeven, Franke van Heerden and Divan Greyling helped Centurion to 188-6 in their 20 overs, before Michael Solomon claimed 4-30 to give them a 36 run win.
Warriors – Selborne College
Since its inception, an Eastern Province school has always represented the Warriors franchise, with the likes of Grey High, Woodridge College, Framesby High, Kingswood College and St Andrew’s College having done so in the past. However, 2017 will see a Border school represent the Eastern Capers for the first time ever, after Selborne College defeated Eastern Province champions St Andrew’s College in the franchise final.
South – Hudson Park High
North – Prestige College
A new addition to the Schools T20 Challenge sees two focus schools added to the mix. Prestige College of Hammanskraal have won the Northern Region, while East London’s Hudson Park have won the Southern Region. Hudson, in particular, are a side worth noting, having had an impressive record in recent seasons against some of the country’s top cricketing schools. Hudson beat Warriors champions, Selborne College in the Algie Cup T20 final by 7 wickets on 01 March. With 2016 SA Schools stars, Akhona Mnyaka and Sinethemba Qeshile in their ranks, Hudson are a strong outfit.
Photo: Chris Merington/wbhs.org