Parktown Boys’ High School recorded a satisfying four-wicket win over CBC Boksburg at the weekend, proving to their detractors that cricket is alive and well at the school, writes THEO GARRUN.
The first team have been experiencing mixed fortunes in recent years and suffered a number of heavy defeats to the traditional opposition, leading to a belief that the game was in trouble at the school, and that Parktown was no longer competitive.
‘It’s a perception that we have been working very hard to discount,’ said Aubrey Wessels, master in charge of cricket at Parktown. ‘Sport at the school was in a bit of a slump, while other challenges took up most of our attention, but we are definitely turning the corner now and cricket’s future is looking good.’
The school has enlisted the service of the Lenasia Super League organisation, led by passionate Parktown old boy Ziyaad Desai, and they are assisting with the coaching of the teams.
‘It’s been a long process,’ said Desai, ‘and we are not there yet, but things are certainly looking up. The first team has shown steady progress and the U16A team has been really impressive, they have not lost a game this year.
‘We have been hard at work recruiting for next year’s grade eight group and we will have a number of good cricketers coming to Parktown.’
Wessels explained that the challenge has been to re-establish a cricket culture, and at the same time to begin winning matches.
‘We have such a proud history of cricket at Parktown that people believe we should be winning, but we know that we need to follow the protocols and live the values of the game as well.’
On Saturday’s evidence, they are certainly getting there. The boys were immaculately turned out, the main oval was in magnificent shape and the on-field behaviour was up to standard.
And there were quite a few good cricketers on display as they bowled CBC out for 127, with Zul-Kifi Davis taking three wickets with his aggressive pace bowling. Their captain, Ricardo Steenkamp, is a decent all-rounder and he choked CBC with his spin bowling, taking 1-27 in nine overs and then led the run chase by contributing 33 runs off 26 balls, with four fours and two sixes.
They lost their way a bit when Steenkamp was dismissed, but Nicholas Catt steadied the ship, staying at the crease for a long time to score his 31 runs.
Elsewhere, there were two sets of Coca-Cola Schools T20 Challenge finals decided at the weekend. In Bloemfontein the defending national champions, St Andrew’s, were pushed hard by Grey College. They got the winning runs in their three-wicket win with just two balls to spare, and are the Free State champions again.
Hoërskool Waterkloof beat Centurion by 41 runs at Tuks to take the Northerns title.
St Andrew’s will meet Griquas champs Hoërskool Noord-Kaap in the Knights franchise final on 8 March, Waterkloof will go into a four-way playoff with the champions of the Easterns, Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces on 28 February and 1 March. Those winners will join the other franchise representatives and two from the CSA Focus Schools programme at the national finals at Tuks on 15-17 March.
CBC Boksburg 127 (Jayden Snyman 29, William Harrison 23; Zul-Kifi Davis 3-27, Tyrese Fenner 2-14, Xolani Sebigi 2-28)
Parktown 130-6 (Ricardo Steenkamp 33, Nicholas Catt 31; Jordan du Preez 2-2)
Parktown won by four wickets
Coca-Cola T20 Schools Challenge Provincial Finals
Waterkloof 177-8 (Jordan Herman 97, Richart Ackerman 30; Conrad Mouton 3-23, Nathan Fox 3-37)
Centurion 136 (Nathan Fox 38, Nathan Wentzel 32; Simeon de Bruin 4-15, Richart Ackerman 3-26)
Waterkloof won by 41 runs
Grey College 96-7 (Juan Dee Olivier 35; Pheko Moletsane 3-7, Ruan Cronje 2-15)
St Andrew’s 97-7 (Reece van Staden 19; Dean de Bruin 2-12)
St Andrew’s won by three wickets
This week’s Coke T20 provincial finals
Friday 15 and Saturday 16 February – Northwest
Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 February – Gauteng, Eastern Province, SWD
Photo: Theo Garrun