St Benedict’s College traveled to Harare in the holidays to play in the St George’s T20 tournament and came back with the trophy after beating St John’s of Joburg in the final, writes THEO GARRUN.
It was the culmination of an intense preparation process that began in May, with early morning training sessions and strenuous gym workouts.
The team played a warm-up game against St Alban’s before they left and won comfortably, thanks mainly to a quick-fire 103 not out from Luke Holland.
In Harare, they beat St John’s (Harare) and Hellenic Academy in friendlies prior to the start of the tournament. They won all their matches in the pool stages of the tournament and earned a valuable bonus point in one of them, which saw them through to the final.
In the final, Bennies batted first and made 172 off their 20 overs. At one stage it looked like they were going to get over 200, but St John’s reined them in. The Saxby twins – Kyle and Wade – each scored 38, but they weren’t sure that that would be enough.
St John’s got off to a good start, but the loss of two early wickets left the game in the balance. When the in-form Connor Esterhuizen settled in, it looked like St John’s were going to reach the target. He made 66 not out in the end, and took his side to 153-5, with 29 runs needed off the last two overs.
Kyle Saxby stepped up to bowl the last over, with St John’s nine short of their victory target, and he restricted them to five singles to secure the title for Bennies.
St Benedict’s was moved into the Easterns cricket setup two years ago when Cricket SA changed its boundaries to move the city of Erkurhuleni to Easterns. According to the school’s master in charge of cricket, Mark Robey, that puts them in a difficult position.
‘We have to play in the Easterns structures for our players to qualify for provincial selection, but we also don’t want to lose our fixtures against the Joburg boys schools,’ he said. ‘So we try to fit both in, which isn’t easy.’
They are, however, working hard at developing the game at the school and have produced a number of very good cricketers in recent years.
‘We have quite a rich crop at the moment,’ Robey explained. ‘Luke Holland and Kyle Saxby played for the Easterns U19s last year and should make it again, while Wade Saxby was in the Easterns U17 side and must be in with a chance. Then we have Thabiso Khumalo who made the provincial U15 team last year, as well as Ryan Maxwell, who is only in grade nine but is already opening for the first team and must be in the running for the Easterns U15 team.’
Warm up games
St Albans 148-3 vs St Benedict’s 151-2 (Luke Holland 103 not out).
St Benedict’s won by eight wickets.
St John’s Harare 146-7 (Matthew Oosthuizen 3-8) vs St Benedict’s 150-4 (Wade Saxby 50 not out, Tiaan De Klerk 53 not out).
St Benedict’s won by 6 wickets
St Benedict’s 186-2 (Ross O’Donoghue 53 not out, Day 42). Hellenic Academy 111-9 (Matthew Oosthuizen 3-20, Joshua Langman 2-7).
St Benedict’s won by 75 runs
St George’s T20 Tournament, Day 1
Gateway College 60-9 (Joshua Langman 3-3) vs St Benedict’s 64-0 (Tiaan De Klerk 38 not out).
St Benedict’s won by 10 wickets
Peterhouse 148-9 (Kyle Saxby 2-28) vs St Benedict’s 149-6 (Luke Holland 32).
St Benedict’s won by 4 wickets
St George’s T20 Tournament, Day 2
St Benedict’s 185-7 (Kyle Saxby 67 not out, Luke Holland 33) vs St George’s 106 (Luke Holland 3-18, Troy Kyle 3-14).
St Benedict’s won by 79 runs
St Benedict’s 189-8 (Tiaan De Klerk 47, Kyle Saxby 44 not out) vs St John’s Harare 147 (Wade Saxby 4-18).
St Benedict’s won by 42 runs.
St George’s T20 Tournament, Day 3
St Benedict’s 181-6 (Wade Saxby 52, Tiaan De Klerk 49) vs Falcon College 163-4 (Wade Saxby 2-31).
St Benedict’s won by 18 runs
St Benedict’s 172-7 (Kyle Saxby 38, Wade Saxby 38) vs St John’s Johannesburg 168-6 (Kyle Saxby 2-21).
St Benedict’s won by 4 runs
September 20 – St Dunstan’s
September 28-30 – Easterns T20 Tournament
October 6 – St Alban’s
October 13 – St John’s
October 19 – St Andrew’s Bloemfontein
October 27 – Jeppe
November 3 – Noordheuwel
January 12 – St Stithians
January 19 – Helpmekaar/Randburg
February 2 – Parktown
March 2 – Development
Photo: Theo Garrun