Full cricket line-up, but rugby on the horizon

2008-02-23 00:00

THERE is a full list of cricket fixtures again today, but the oval ball is being seen around school grounds as some schools begin their preparations for the Easter school rugby tournaments in a few weeks’ time.

The only school in the top tier not playing is Glenwood, as they take a break this weekend.

Three of the four top schools in the midlands have home games. St Charles are travelling to play at Northwood. The game most keenly anticipated is on the Hart Davis Oval at Hilton, where they come up against DHS.

Hilton have just been in Pretoria at the Independent Schools Festival, where they won two of the four matches played. Their one loss was against hosts St Albans on the final day. St Albans is one of the top schools in the country this year. Courtney Allen continues to be a main cog in the Hilton team as shown by his bowling figures. Craig Saunders, Nicholas Rowlinson and Nathan Roberts all showed good form with the bat.

DHS has played just five matches this year, but significantly have won their last two outings. In their last match, some of their senior players, Michael Alexander, Luke Fouche and Ruben Hattingh, found form with the bat, something that they had not done in the earlier matches. This bodes well for the visitors and could make the game a very well contested one against the home side.

Michaelhouse, the leading cricketing school in KZN at this stage, is unbeaten and they host Westville. The latter have battled this season, losing all but their last match. This will give them some confidence and perhaps a better all-round performance can be made.

The home side was not at the St Albans Festival, so they had a rest last Saturday and this may have recharged some batteries, which will make them even more competitive today. Their captain, Patrick Lambie, has led from the front, with hardly a wrong step in his batting. David Zwemke is developing into a competent all-rounder and while he hasn’t taken many wickets, he puts the pressure on the batsmen by bowling a very tight line and length.

It is difficult to see Michaelhouse coming unstuck today, unless a batsman like Cameron Delport finds his form and makes a match-winning score.

The last of the big games in the midlands is on Goldstone at Maritzburg College, where they face Kearsney. College has been badly affected by weather this year and has only played five matches. Kearsney, who also participated at the ISCF in Pretoria last weekend, has now played 10 matches.

College has battled with a young team and lost the last two matches played. They also haven’t played for the last two Saturdays. This makes them vulnerable in the match today. Kearsney has a well-balanced attack with three bowlers in particular that have been successful, Keagan Eccles, Shane Penn Swayer and Slade Weidemann.

College can never be counted out, particularly at home and they will be determined to improve, both in the batting and the bowling. These two schools have both played Glenwood, with Kearsney winning by five wickets and College losing by five wickets. The visitors will be favourites, but College will be looking for their first win against a KZN school.

St Charles travel to play against Northwood and this match will likely be very one-sided. St Charles, not far behind Michaelhouse in the cricket standings in the province, has only lost one match, narrowly against St Davids in Pretoria last weekend. Northwood has yet to win a game, in the three only that they have played.

Bowler Taylor Cox and batsman Matthew Hullet have arguably been the most influential players for the Maritzburg team. As the season has progressed, so Tim de la Hey has given good support to Cox and Devon McHardy is developing into a top all rounder. This will make the visitors just too strong for the host team.

Clifton should be another side that will likely have a comfortable win against home side Pinetown. The visitors started the year playing seven top teams and managed two wins. Last Saturday they beat Thomas More; probably not as comfortably as they may have wished, however. Pinetown will be hoping that they can equally be as competitive but it is unlikely.

Among the second tier schools, the clash in the capital between Carter and visitors Kloof will be interesting. Carter was successful last week against Hillcrest and the latter have the beating of Kloof. It is thus likely that Carter will record a home win.

Crawford from La Lucia, play Grosvenor in Durban and after three successful matches will be hoping to extend their winning streak to a fourth game. Weston, who has struggled this year, take on Howick in Mooi River. The latter is unbeaten and unless Weston raise their level of play, Howick should win comfortably.

Selected Fixtures (home side first):

Hilton v DHS; Michaelhouse v Westville; Maritzburg College v Kearsney; Northwood v St Charles; Pinetown v Clifton; Carter v Kloof; Grosvenor v Crawford; Weston v Howick; Port Shepstone v Amanzimtoti; Port Natal v Durban and Districts; Thomas More v George Campbell; Grantleigh v Northern KZN; Hillcrest v St Henrys; Kingsway v New Forest; Wartburg v Voortrekker; Treverton v M College IV.

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