14 August 2016 – Cricket matches in the second half of the year at Saint Andrew’s start on Saturday when Union High visits Bloemfontein. Interestingly, both the Saints’ 1st XI and Saints’ 1st XV will be in action on the same day!
With good reason, the Saints’ cricketing community is hugely excited about the development of the Lindsay Tuckett High Performance Centre. Cricket at the school is very healthy, but this development will provide us with a facility and technology that has not yet been utilised in a school in South Africa.
Before looking ahead to the forthcoming season, it is worth taking note of some of Saints’ cricket achievements from the first half of 2016, specifically three awards that came the way of the school.
Gerald Coetzee was named the Free State Cricket Union’s under-15 Cricketer of the Year
1st XI coach Gregg Hobson was named the Free State Cricket Union’s Coach of the Year. The award, which was presented for the first time this year, was open to all amateur coaches in the region.
It was certainly well deserved. With Gregg leading the way, Saints, according to Cricket South Africa, ranks among the top five schools in South Africa over the past five years, based on the results of the 1st XI and under-15A team during that time. For a school that has only 300 boys in the high school, it is an astonishing achievement.
Sean Whitehead, who was in matric last year, was named the Free State under-19 Cricketer of the Year. A left-arm spinner (and pretty decent batsman), he represented South Africa under-19 in home and away series against Bangladesh, and was also part of SA’s World Cup team. Sean, who is in the Free State squad for the forthcoming Africa T20 Cup, was also consistently South Africa under-19’s best bowler in their two series and the World Cup, Gregg reckoned. It is only a matter of time until Sean makes his first class debut, he added.
“He’s the only player since I have been here that has played a bit of cricket for the 1st team in his grade eight year. He was always the best spinner in his age group in the province, and probably in the country. He was also among the top wicket-takers at provincial cricket weeks, at the under-13, under-15, under-17 and Coca-Cola weeks.”
Gerald Coetzee, a spectacularly fast bowler and excellent batsman, was named the Free State under-15 Cricketer of the Year.
“Gerald’s a real prospect,” Gregg commented. “I am sure he is the quickest bowler in his age group in the country, and from what I have seen, even as a grade 10 at the moment, on his day I don’t think there is anyone quicker than him in the country.
“He has just been to the national under-17 camp, where he was very impressive, by all accounts.”
Not only is Gerald an intimidating presence as a fast bowler, but he is also an accomplished batsman, who managed to add a couple of tons to his great successes with the ball.
Saints’ cricket in 2016
The Saints’ under-15 A team had a very good first term, Gregg said. The team has lost only two games in the past two years. The 1st XI, while it had some good results, was less consistent. The team, under the captaincy of Calvin King, is “a young side with ability, for sure,” he added.
Looking ahead to the 1st XI’s match against Union, Gregg concluded: “I’m looking for them to learn as quickly as possible. They have to get used to the standard of first team cricket. That learning is crucial. I’m looking to make sure that, as soon as possible, they feel comfortable in their environment.
“They need to play together as a team, to play for each other, to play for the school and need to enjoy themselves. We look to enjoy ourselves by playing for each other and the school.”