The Fasken St David’s Time Cricket Festival started on Thursday, with eight schools playing two two-day games each, writes THEO GARRUN.
St David’s Marist Inanda has been hosting a season-opening festival at this time of the year for quite a while now, and in the past, it was a T20 tournament. Last year, it was changed to a two-day declaration cricket format, with the teams playing two games each, on Thursday/Friday and Saturday/Sunday.
St David’s director of cricket Dave Nosworthy explains that the thinking behind the change is to expose schoolboy cricketers to a longer form of the game.
‘The batsmen,’ he says, ‘need to learn to spend more time at the crease, without the limited-overs restraints. The bowlers need to be able to bowl longer spells, and be brought back later on. The players need to get a feel for proper cricket, with matches that go on, day after day.’
SA U19 coach and head of the federation’s Talent Acceleration Programme (Tap) Lawrence Mahatlane echoes this, blaming a lack of the skills required in the longer game for the poor performance of the national U19 team in the recent four-day games against England.
‘Exposure to time cricket is important to give young players the best opportunity to understand what is required to be batting all day or being on your feet two whole days,’ he said.
‘Captains must learn that sometimes you have to be prepared to lose in order to win,’ said Nosworthy. ‘They need to be patient, to be brave and to set targets that give them a chance of winning. Those lessons that can’t be taught in limited-overs cricket.’
Proteas player Heinrich Klaasen addressed the players at the festival’s opening and stressed the importance of learning to play the longer formats of the game.
‘I never played declaration cricket as a schoolboy and didn’t think much of it,’ he said. ‘The more I played later on, the more I came to realise that it’s the ultimate cricket and, having represented the country in ODIs and T20 games, my dream is still to play Test cricket for South Africa.’
The number of teams playing in the festival was increased from six to eight this year with the inclusion of Clifton College of Durban and a CSA Tap team.
The team, according to Mahatlane, was chosen from players at schools where they don’t normally get this kind of exposure.
The Tap team
Bonga Makaka (Western Province), Achille Cloete (Boland), Phemelo Sepati (North West), Jacques Vosloo (Mpumalanga), Khaya Nyamatha (Easterns), Duan Jansen (North West), Marco Jansen (North West), Odirile Modimokoane (North West), Lifa Ntanzi (KwaZulu-Natal), Karabelo Matlawe (North West), Neo Felane (Easterns).
Match 1 (Thursday 30th and Friday 31st August) – St Alban’s vs CSA TAP XI, St David’s vs St Andrew’s, KES vs Maritzburg College, St Stithians vs Clifton.
Match 2 (Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd September) – St Alban’s vs Maritzburg College (Gier Oval), St David’s vs CSA TAP XI, KES vs Clifton St Stithians vs St Andrew’s.
Photo: Theo Garrun