Epic school sport rivalries

2016-10-26 06:00

LOCAL rivalries are one of the joys of sport and the KZN capital is no stranger to these great occasions. At one point, back in the 1970s in particular, rugby contests between Maritzburg College, Voortrekker and Alex were legendary affairs that are still spoken about.

Cricket, too, as well as basketball, has seen College and Alex trading victories and defeats in memorable clashes in the seventies and a few decades thereafter.

Times have changed but the one rivalry that goes back decades, and which sadly petered out for a while on the rugby and cricket front, is now well and truly on the boil again. Maritzburg College and St Charles College on the cricket grounds, and particularly the basketball courts, is developing into the stuff of legend.

No further proof was needed than this past Friday and Saturday at Maritzburg College’s Alan Paton Hall and Goldstones cricket ground.

St Charles prevailed 63-60 in an epic basketball encounter in front of packed stands that saw the sides go at it hamper and tong for the duration. There was hardly a point in it, the half-time score of 28-28 telling the story.

Saints had an excellent third quarter to nudge in front 49-45 but College came back to take the lead in a dramatic fourth and final 10 minutes, only for the visitors to stretch in front by three precious points at the dénouement.

Friday evening’s rain and hail necessitated the cricket derby to be reduced from a 50-over to a T20 match and this time it was College who came to the fore with a four-run win. Replying to College’s 125 for five, Saints faltered towards the end of their 20 overs as disciplined bowling held the visitors from Harwin Road to 121 for seven.

The weekend also exemplified the hard work put in by the coaches - Zeke Oosthuis (College basketball), Darren Holcomb (Saints basketball), Doug Watson (College cricket), Robbie Coutts (Saints cricket) and the umpires and refs Sibs Mashimane, Craig McCauley (cricket) and Stewart Bradford (basketball). We are blessed to have them in our midst.

Cricket scores in brief - Maritzburg College 125 for 5 (Damien Walden 35, Jiveshen Pillay 35, Scott Steenkamp 23*; Brandon van Zyl 1-18). St Charles College 121 for 7 (Lawrence Lawler 39, Riley Coutts 28; Pillay 4-18, Brad Sherwood 1-16). Maritzburg College won by four runs.

• Freelance sportswriter Jonathan Cook can be contacted for assignments at joncookroy@ gmail.com

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