Michaelhouse v Kearsney promises school cricket excitement

2008-03-01 00:00

Today is the last Saturday of the term where most schools are playing cricket before the oval ball takes over.

Maritzburg College and Westville will be playing their last matches of the term today with the other major cricket-playing schools still involved next Saturday.

There will be a good deal of interest in the match on the Roy Gathorne Oval at Michaelhouse where Kearsney are the visitors. Both sides are unbeaten at this stage, with Kearsney having played three more matches than the home side.

There is not much to choose from between the two sides. Against St Pauls from New Zealand, Michaelhouse won by four wickets and Kearsney by 48 runs, both in declaration matches. Against Bishops both teams drew after Bishops made little attempt to chase the targets set by the KZN schools.

Among local KZN schools, Kearsney beat Maritzburg College by four wickets last weekend, while, on the first Saturday of the term, Michaelhouse won by five wickets. The fourth school both have played is Glenwood and here Michaelhouse won by seven wickets and Kearsney by five.

If anything, Kearsney seem to have the better balance in their side, but Michaelhouse will have home ground advantage. If Kearsney do win today, they will become the top side in the province.

Maritzburg College travel up the hill to play against Hilton who have had a successful term, where they have played 12 games, winning eight, with two losses and two draws. College, on the other hand, have only played six matches, but have just one victory with three losses and two draws because of rain midway through the games.

One has to go back quite a long way to find when College last had no wins in the first term, albeit from only four games. As this is their last game, and the three losses have all been since the start of school this term, there will be a determination to finish off their disappointing run with a victory.

St Charles, as they have lost only one match — against St Davids from Johannesburg — are now the third-ranked side in the province. They will travel to Durban to play against DHS. St Charles have played 10 matches with seven wins, one loss and two draws. DHS have also only played six games, winning two, losing one and drawing the other two.

These two schools have both played against Northwood and Hilton. Against the latter, DHS drew last Saturday, while St Charles had a 15-run win. Against Northwood, St Charles won by 98 runs and DHS by 103 runs. This also points to a tightly contested match today.

Westville host Northwood, in what should be a comfortable win for the home side. Last Saturday, Westville gave Michaelhouse the closest match the Balgowan side has had this year, and they have shown that they have the ability to do far better than the results this year have shown. Much was due to the resurgence to form of KZN Coastal player, Cameron Delport.

Northwood face a similar fate to the one of last year when they struggled against all the top schools. All four matches played show comfortable victories by the opposition and this is likely to be the case again today.

Glenwood and Clifton, the latter for the third game in succession, have relatively easy matches. Glenwood will be hosting Hillcrest while Clifton travel to play George Campbell. It is unfortunate that Clifton are unable to arrange more matches against the top schools as this is the most effective way to improve their cricket.

Crawford, from La Lucia, has shown some good form this term, winning all their matches and they will be given a tough match today by their hosts Kingsway.

For the last 15 years there has been the local ‘Nite Series’, played by the local schools, with other participation by Kearsney, DHS and Glenwood. This has taken place largely during February with the finals in early March. This year the arrangements and fixtures appear not to have been finalised early enough and it is now too late in the school season for it to take place.

Selected fixtures (home side first): Michaelhouse v Kearsney; Hilton v Maritzburg College; DHS v St Charles; Westville v Northwood; Glenwood v Hillcrest; George Campbelll v Clifton; Kingsway v Crawford; Carter v Treverton; Weston v Voortrekker; Alexandra v Howick; Kloof v Thomas More; St Henrys v Grosvenor; MCS v Grace (at Alex).

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