Top order schools’ cricket today

2008-01-26 00:00

In contrast to last weekend, when there was a reduced programme of matches as schools were still sorting out their teams, there will be a full round of matches today.

There are some interesting clashes among the top schools, none more so than on the Roy Gathorne Oval at Michaelhouse, where the visitors are St Charles.

In the Durban area, the focus will be at Kearsney where DHS are the visitors.

The clash in the Midlands sees two teams, unbeaten at this early stage, who will be keen to establish themselves as the combination to beat in the province. St Charles have won their four matches played to date, with particularly significant wins against Bishops and Hilton.

Michaelhouse has also played four matches, with one draw against Bishops and three victories. The other school both have played is Peterhouse from Zimbabwe, who were beaten by seven wickets by Michaelhouse and 69 runs by St Charles.

Michaelhouse will not need reminding that they lost to St Charles in the last match in 2007. Patrick Lambie, captaining his school, has led from the front, making four scores of over 40, with his first half-century last weekend against Maritzburg College. Micky Crawford has four scores over 30 with three undefeated.

St Charles will again rely on the form of Matthew Hullet, who was dismissed early last Saturday, but has two scores of 88 and 97 this year.

The game will be keenly contested and could well be decided by the St Charles bowlers, particularly as Taylor Cox has returned two five-wicket hauls in the four matches played. They have also captured all 10 wickets in each of their four matches.

Hosts Kearsney have played four games, winning three and drawing one against Bishops. Visitors DHS went to the Eastern Cape to play in the Grey High Festival. They returned with two losses and will be keen to get the domestic season off to a good start, as they did not play last Saturday.

Neither side has one player that has dominated in the games played with the individual performances spread among the players. Kearsney’s Slade Weideman and Wade Momberg appear to be two bowlers DHS will have to watch, while Nicholas Bowman and Joshua Perry, have good scores behind them.

With home ground advantage, a number of players in form and a side with greater experience, Kearsney can be considered as favourites today.

Maritzburg College travel to play at Westville and, with both sides having lost last week, they will both be keen for a win. College have one win from four matches with two draws because of rain, while Westville have played three matches with two losses and a rain-affected draw.

Last Saturday, College lost to Michaelhouse by five wickets, but it was closer than shown by the result. Westville were beaten surprisingly by Clifton and may be low in confidence but this game could go either way.

Hilton, after losing on the penultimate ball of the match last weekend against St Charles, will be hosting Clifton. They will be aware that Clifton will have a new-felt confidence after the first victory against a top-level KZN school and they cannot be taken lightly.

Opening bowler Courtney Allen has been Hilton’s main wicket-taker in their four matches and he will be a threat for the inexperienced Clifton batsmen. Hilton have a number of players back from 2007 and they have scored well in the four matches, so it is unlikely that Clifton will cause another upset today.

The other top-school clash is at Northwood where they are hosting Glenwood. Northwood will be playing their first match of the year while Glenwood has played four matches. This will give them a distinct advantage. Last year Glenwood won both matches but they were relatively close and another tight match is likely today.

Among the second-tier schools, the clash at Treverton, where they are playing neighbours Weston, is always a hard-fought match. Treverton have played three matches whereas Weston will be playing their first game of the year.

Selected fixtures (home side first):

Michaelhouse v St Charles; Kearsney v DHS; Westville v Maritzburg College; Hilton v Clifton; Northwood v Glenwood; Treverton v Weston; Hillcrest v Pinetown; Alexandra v Voortrekker; Howick v Wartburg; Crawford v Kloof; Amanzimtoti v Durban Clubs; Hilton II v Northern KZN; Hilton III v Carter; MCS v Greytown (at Alex); Thomas More v St Henrys (at Kloof Country Club).

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