One of the longest running schools cricket weeks in the country will be hosted by Union High School next weekend, with 10 leading teams competing in matches from Friday, 20 September to Tuesday, 24 September.
In this, its Centenary year, the Graaff-Reinet school will now be in charge of the 52nd anniversary of the Cape Schools’ Week.
The tournament was started in the 1960s, with eight teams – four from the EP and Border and four from Cape Town – meeting for a festival of cricket.
The original teams were Grey, Queen’s Dale and Union High from the eastern region, with the Western Cape sides being SACS, Wynberg, Bishops and Rondebosch.
In the years following the inaugural week, Selborne (1969) and Kimberley Boys’ High (1971) were also included, although the number of teams attending the festival remained at eight until 10 teams contested 1988 edition.
Since the turn of the century, the number of teams has varied from 10 to 12.
As you would expect in half a century of tournaments, the week has seen a number of players who reached the highest level of the game coming through its ranks.
Back in the sixties, legends such as Kenny McEwan, Peter Kirsten, Allan Lamb and Garth le Roux all played in the week, while more recently Johan Botha, Wayne Parnell, Rusty Theron, Danie Piedt and Dawid Malan, now playing for England, have been part of the event.
Interestingly, Malan attended Paarl Boys’ High, who have only competed a handful of times, but will be back this year, taking on Queen’s College at Asante Sana Game Reserve in their opening match on Saturday, 21 September.
SACS, the oldest high school in South Africa, will be taking part again this year, with their first match to take place on Saturday, 21 September, against host school Union High on Union’s Minnaar Field.
Paul Roos is also in the line-up and should have an interesting opener against Dale College on Saturday at the Botanics Sports Club, while Grey High School will face tough opposition against Rondebosch in their opener on Saturday at Hoër Volkskool and Selborne College will be up against Wynberg in their opener on Saturday at Union’s Puttick Field.
Following Saturday’s game against SACS, Union will play Paarl Boys, Paul Roos and Wynberg.
The fixtures are:
• Friday: Friendly “EP vs WP” (Botanics Sports Club at 18:00).
• Saturday: Union High vs SACS (Minnaar Field), Selborne College vs Wynberg (Puttick Field), Grey High vs Rondebosch (Hoër Volkskool), Dale College vs Paul Roos (Botanics Sports Club) and Queen’s College vs Paarl Boys (Asante Sana Game Reserve).
• Sunday: Union High vs Paarl Boys (Minnaar Field), Queen’s College vs Paul Roos (Puttick Field), Selborne College vs SACS (Hoër Volkskool), Grey High vs Wynberg (Botanics Sports Club) and Dale College vs Rondebosch (Asante Sana Game Reserve).
• Monday: Union High vs Paul Roos (Minnaar Field), Dale College vs Paarl Boys (Puttick Field), Queen’s College vs Wynberg (Hoër Volkskool), Selborne College vs Rondebosch (Botanics Sports Club) and Grey High vs SACS (Asante Sana Game Reserve).
• Tuesday: Union High vs Wynberg (Minnaar Field), Grey High vs Paarl Boys (Puttick Field), Dale College vs SACS (Hoër Volkskool), Queen’s College vs Rondebosch (Botanics Sports Club) and Selborne College vs Paul Roos (Asante Sana Game Reserve).
All games to start at 09:00, with the exception of those being played at the Asante Sana Game Reserve which will start at 09:30.