College are raring to go

2014-09-30 00:00

THE indications are the Maritzburg College first XI are raring to go for the Oppenheimer Cricket Week, but there are a couple of hurdles to overcome first.

College first XI coach Michael Smith told The Witness yesterday he was very happy with the team’s preparations for the four days’ cricket to be played from Saturday to next Tuesday. Oppenheimer Week is College’s flagship cricket event and has been hosted by the school for decades.

“As far as prep is concerned, we started with a match against KZN Inland a month ago and then played in five T20 games at the St David’s Festival in Johannesburg before beating Westville two weeks back, and then this past Saturday we were in with a good chance of beating Clifton before the rain came down,” said the former EP captain and Warriors opening batsman.

Smith is not letting his players get ahead of themselves.

“Our focus right now is on the 50-over match against Paarl Gim at Goldstones on Wednesday and then we take on Waterkloof on Thursday in a T20 fixture, also on Goldstones, and then we will look at our opponents at Oppenheimer Week,” he said.

Smith, also College’s director of cricket, said he had been impressed with the captaincy of Bryce Tullis.

“Tullis leads from the front. He was given the captaincy in this, his Grade 11 year, and he was also tasked with opening the batting. His wicketkeeping has been brilliant and his leadership is out of the top drawer.”

An ace in the pack for College is their South Africa U19 fast bowler Lwandiswa Zuma.

“Zuma adds far more value than just bowling; he is also vice-captain and in very good nick having been on the SA U19 tour to England,” said Smith, who added the team’s talisman was bowling very well and is a natural leader who provides the spark when the teams need it out in the field.

Another huge talent is young Bradley Hopes, who will be a massive loss when he moves to Perth in the New Year, his father having accepted a job opportunity in Australia.

“Hopes made an unbeaten 97 against Westville, hit 75 again Clifton and in very good touch,” said Smith.

College fans will be watching this enormous talent’s prowess at Oppenheimer Week with great anticipation.

Smith said James Martin, who got two 70s off 30-odd balls at St David’s, was hitting the ball very well, while Jean de Wet had been shining with bat and ball.

Another player catching their eye is fast bowling prospect Randell Ramnarine, who missed the entire first term’s cricket having suffered a stress fracture to his back at the National U15 Week last year.

“Ramnarine will be making his Oppenheimer Week debut and on his actual College first XI debut he took an impressive three for 40 against Westville,” said Smith.

“Ramnarine has remodelled his action a bit and his work in the off-season has meant he is fitter and stronger.”

Meanwhile, one cricketer with a burning ambition during Oppenheimer Week is King Edward VII School (KES) captain and SA U19 star Grant Roelofsen.

“This will be my third Oppenheimer Week and my goal is to get my first 100 at the festival; it’s still a bit of a monkey on my back,” the SA U19 wicketkeeper/batsman told The Witness.

“What I love about Oppenheimer Week is we get the chance to play against schools we don’t play against in our general season fixtures.”

Roelofsen scored 149 in the first innings of the first Youth Test against England U19 on the recent tour, while earlier this year hit 208 not out before lunch against Parktown and has plundered 1 410 runs so far including six centuries and the double century. His 126 off 54 balls against Jeppe in a T20 fixture was also a highlight.


Saturday (50-over): DHS vs KES (Eston), Glenwood vs PBHS (Richmond), Kearsney vs St Davids (Collegians), KZN Development XI vs St Alban’s (PMB Oval), Maritzburg College vs Affies (Goldstones), Michaelhouse vs St Andrew’s (Barns), Northwood vs St Johns (Varsity Oval), St Charles vs Hudson Park (St Charles Oval), Westlake vs Jeppe (Varsity 2).

Sunday (50-over): DHS vs Affies (Collegians), Glenwood vs St John’s (Varsity 2), Kearsney vs KES (Varsity Oval), KZN Development XI vs Hudson Park (Barns), Maritzburg College vs Jeppe (Goldstones), Michaelhouse vs St David’s (Eston), Northwood vs St Andrew’s (Pmb Oval), St Charles vs St Andrew’s (Richmond), Westlake vs PBHS (St Charles Oval).

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