Lasting relationship forged after tour

2020-03-10 06:01
Yusuf Samir, captain of Birmingham Bulls, preparing to hit a shot, while Christopher Lodewyk, coach/manager of Fish Rite Hanover Park, looks on.

Yusuf Samir, captain of Birmingham Bulls, preparing to hit a shot, while Christopher Lodewyk, coach/manager of Fish Rite Hanover Park, looks on.

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A lasting relationship was forged in the 11 days that the cricket club, Birmingham Bulls, spent in Cape Town on their inaugural tour of South Africa. They were hosted by the community cricket club Fish Rite Hanover Park and the touring side consisted of a mixture of u.11 and u.15 boys.

“Myself and Sat Matharu met the Fish Rite Hanover Park management and players when they were on tour to the UK in August of 2019 – itself a monumental achievement for a club that has seen its fair share of struggles with limited facilities, and located in an area where deprivation and poverty is higher than most other districts of Cape Town,” says Samir Rauf, manager of the Birmingham Bulls.

Their first tour game was against Harborne Cricket Club where most of the Birmingham Bulls play from. The relationship developed and we were swiftly invited to tour Cape Town with Hanover Park management, reassuring them that they would host us with Capetonian hospitality.

“Right from our arrival at the airport to a fanfare and frenzy, to our last T20 game winning the final against a solid and sporting Primrose Cricket Club, to scenes that could only be described as unimaginable, we were completely overwhelmed and bowled over by the love, care, and effort shown to ensure we were always comfortable and always smiling throughout our stay,” he says.

“It is no secret that the challenges that we, as Birmingham Bulls, face and deal with in the UK are not in any way akin to the challenges that so many in Cape Town, and specifically areas such as Hanover Park, face on a daily basis.”

He says they have kit, equipment, beautiful and lush turfs, and affluent clubs who have no real issue finding sponsors.

“We have a district and county trial system that is fair and balanced – all of this we have in so much abundance that it is shameful when we consider for a moment how little a pivotal and life changing community club like Hanover Park have in comparison.”

He adds that the real giants of the game could be JP Duminy, Hashim Amla and Vernon Philander.

“I, however, will argue that the unsung true giants are Ashraf Allie, Safwaan Doutie, President, Yahjar Davids, Riyaad Gamieldien, Magboeba Davids, Wesley Seconds, Christopher Lodewyk and Fatima Domingo of Hanover Park who work so tirelessly and selflessly to assure and remind us all that there are decent men and women left in this very divided world that will take time out and struggle to make cricket and sport accessible to so many underprivileged and forgotten children, who so badly need sport in their life,” Rauf says.

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