League leaders Crusaders to celebrate 50 years

2014-04-10 00:00

CURRENT Premier League cricket champions Northwood Crusaders celebrate their 50th anniversary this year, looking back on a proud history and a wall of fame that’s a who’s who of provincial and international cricket.

Formed in 1964/65 as Northlands Sports Club, one cricket team were entered in the fourth division, the bottom division of the Durban and District leagues.

Signs were ominous as the club won the league convincingly and continued to win the leagues they were promoted to until they reached the Alliance League.

Adding more teams to the club, there were soon four cricket teams under the Northlands banner and by 1974, the club had won the Alliance League on numerous occasions. However, certain rules at the time prevented the club getting promotion to the first division.

Enter Greyville Cricket Club. Established in 1887, they were experiencing problems and not attracting players as they did not have grounds or even a clubhouse.

In 1974/75, Greyville and Northlands merged, starting a successful period for the club. Young players were exposed to first division cricket and the club boasted a nucleus of experienced players — the likes of Derek Varnals, Don Mcleod, Mike Smithyman and Geoff Kotze.

Now the club fielded six teams and won the Wade award numerous times as the most successful club in Natal.

In 1986, the club name was changed to Durban Crusaders to attract school pupils in the area wishing to continue their sporting careers. The cricket club followed and in 1990 officially became Northwood Crusaders Cricket Club.

These days, the club fields five senior teams and two junior teams. It can boast achievements such as winning the Wade award 17 times since 1966; the first team winning the league 11 times and representing KZN at the SA National Club Champs 11 times, being losing finalists in 1995 and 2010; being the first club to win four consecutive Premier titles and the first to win all three competitions (45 overs, 20/20 and league) in a season; winning the Premier League Night Series twice, the Premier League One Day competition three times and the T20 four times. Past SA players include Varnals, Brian Whitfield, Rich McGlashan, Shaun Pollock, Jon Kent and Mfuneko Ngam; and current stars are Kyle Abbott, David Miller and Vaughn van Jaarsveld.

The club has some noteworthy events lined up in the months ahead and is attempting to track down all cricket players who have played for them.

There is a golf day at Beachwood Country Club on May 18, with prize-giving and lunch at the Crusaders clubhouse; a 50th anniversary dinner for men only, at 7 pm, at Kingsmead; and a corporate fundraising breakfast later in the year, a date and venue to be confirmed.

There’s also a cricket festival on December 13, 14 and 16. On December 13, the Crusaders Legends take on the current Crusaders first team in a T20 clash, at Crusaders, starting at 2 pm. There will be a post-match cocktail party. On December 14 is the Mark Warman six-a-side in which any­one is welcome to enter a team although it is limited to 16 teams, at Crusaders, from 8 am. And on December 16 is a KZN inter-club six-a-side for Premier and Premier Reserve teams only, starting 8 am at Crusaders.

Call Dave Ward at 082 492 1995 or info@crusaderscricket.co.za.

Details are available at www.crusaderscricket.co.za.

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