College coach reaches milestone

2011-10-04 00:00

MARITZBURG College first XI coach Mike Bechet celebrated his 500th match in charge of the team when College played Grey College on day two of Oppenheimer Week at Goldstone’s on Sunday.

At the conclusion of Sunday’s rain-interrupted encounter, Bechet, who is also an SA Schools’ and SA U19 selector­, was presented with a fitting memento by the Maritzburg College first XI.

Master-in-charge of cricket at Maritzburg­ College, Keith Guise-Brown, said at the manager’s dinner in the national monument, College’s Victoria Hall, on Sunday night that Bechet’s record was unlikely to ever be broken, while College head- master­ Ron Jury also paid tribute to the contribution made by the man who has piloted the first XI through many a successful season.

Bechet’s remarkable Maritzburg College first XI story began as far back as 1993 when he took over the coaching reins of the school’s premier cricket team.

Among the host of provincial and national cricketers who have come under Bechet’s tutelage at College, England batting hero Kevin Pietersen­, who won the Ashes against Australia in an epic series in his adopted country, and the hard-hitting KwaZulu-Natal Dolphins left-hander David Miller, who has represented the Proteas, are those that immediately come to mind.

Bechet, the director of sport at Maritzburg­ College and a noted former left-side forward in the successful Natal hockey team of the eighties, is also the convenor of the South African senior and SA U18 hockey team selection panels.

In a recent interview Bechet, who has also coached Maritzburg College’s first hockey team in 640 matches over the past 30 years, said that his coaching philosophy in both sports was not about producing unbeaten teams (of which there have been a significant number) and breaking records.

Rather, he said, it was about instilling in the boys a respect and appreciation­ of two great sports and preparing players to succeed at the highest level.

“It has been an honour and privilege to serve this great school,” Bechet­ said later.

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