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    South Africa 2012

    The Sou’westers in Cape Town

    April 2012

    Those members present will certainly recall the highlight of the 2012 Annual General Meeting in London in March : the inaugural address by newly elected President Heazell. Thus it was perplexing to some that the April expedition to Cape Town was headed by President (or possibly ex-President or Passing-Himself-Off-As President) Dean. Of course, he did it in his normal immaculate and erudite style (not least when trapped in the lift with Nancy Peet and a bottle of wine), but it undoubtedly raised an important constitutional point, which your scribe, who takes the position most seriously, sought to clarify immediately with the available members of the Ruling Junta (or Management Committee as they prefer to be known).  It is sad to report that no copy of the Constitution was readily available and it is even possible (Heaven forefend!) that no such Document exists. This warning should be held in mind while studying the rest of this report because, of course, it means that the whole enterprise may have been Ultra Vires.

    So, to start from the beginning, there were no less than 43 jolly members of the party ready to enjoy early season cricket in the warm April sun.  They included all the usual suspects, most of them related to each other in some way (like Andy Lewis and his grandfather, Vernon), but there were two important reinforcements in the shape of father and son, Colin and Ollie Bocking from Colchester. Ollie was half of an unusually sharp Sou’westers opening partnership of which the other half was Rob George, whose return in most impressive style after his awful experiences during the last year was the best aspect of the whole tour. Sou'Westers XI vs Cape Town

    In the interests of honesty, it has to be admitted that your Scribe’s positive opinion of the opening attack was not formed immediately. The Bowling of the First Ball (against Cape Town Wombats on April Fools Day) unfortunately coincided with the ancient ceremony of Buying the First Beer and it was only the cheery sound of celebrating Sou’westers that sent him running (yes, running) to establish that Rob had struck with his first ball and the Wombats were 0 for 1. Thinking to learn his lesson, your Scribe stuck manfully to his task (despite an aching thirst) while two long hops were wacked to the boundary before returning inside to complete the transaction, thus only hearing rather than seeing the wacker bowled neck and crop by the last ball of the over. The assembled Sou’watchers felt that 8 for 2 off one over was an encouragingly entertaining start to proceedings.

    Eventually, the Wombats made their way to a total of 177-7 off their 40 overs which did not seem too daunting, even for a side fresh from the British winter. That it was indeed overhauled quite comfortably (181-3 off 31.2) was largely due to a piece of psychology worthy of Captain Brearley from our own Captain Oliver (hereinafter the Great Leader). It was like this….

    The point came at which the opening attack had to be changed.  Even before that became inevitable and without any apparent invitation, Jeremy Peet went into his full warm-up routine, in comparison with which Merv Hughes’ efforts appear shy and unassuming. It went on for several overs; it risked inflicting damage to numerous parts of the Peet carcass; it could surely not be ignored. But the Great Leader was one step ahead! He did ignore it and with what results! Jezza was so miffed he went and caught a catch! More than that, when asked to open the batting, he produced an innings of high quality to record his maiden 50 for the Club. Justin Williams (59no) and Nick Peet (34no) saw us home but it is the Jezza 50 that will always come to mind when those privileged to be present think Wombat. Fine for the Great Leader

    On 3rd April, the opposition was Western Province at the lovely Vineyard ground. Like the Sou’westers, they included players of a wide range of ability and the challenge for Acting Captain (AC) Kennedy was to play to win and yet make sure everyone got into the action, something he achieved with style. We ran up 171-9 in our 40 overs with Andy Lewis (44) holding the early part of the innings together and Nick Peet (49) and Sam George (25) accelerating well later on. The score was thus similar to that of the previous day and we doubted whether it would be enough but in the event the response was not so strong. The Vineyard Ground

    Three of the first five Western Province batsmen looked pretty good and the cricket for the first eleven overs, when our two young fast bowlers were testing them, was the cricketing highlight of the tour. Ollie Bocking took 3 for 6 off 5 overs and thoroughly deserved them but he would be the first to say that the support from the other end (Rob George 0-18 off 6) was a factor in his success. That said, the single most memorable ball of the tour was not bowled by either of them, but by Andy Bolan, thankfully back to bowling proper off spin. He looked a bit rusty at first and got some stick, but the ball with which he bowled the classy-looking Mr Sibonga was a joy: flight and a little drift away in the air and then turn off the wicket and through the gate. How can he ever have wanted to bowl that medium pace stuff?

    Silverware at WPDespite this outstanding entertainment, at this stage there were some voices of complaint raised among the Sou’watchers, predominantly from those raised on Spray and Peet (S), to the effect that it was all too sensible and too jolly fast! They were gloriously silenced by the entry into the attack of Colin Bocking who took 2 for 1 in 2 overs of high quality peetan spray, including a wicket with his first ball for the club. It is so reassuring for the old folks to see tradition being upheld in this way! Colin’s second wicket (satisfyingly, ‘stumped P Thomas’) ended the innings at 111 and brought a second and particularly worthy victory for the Sou’westers.

    Thus we went to Groot Drakenstein unbeaten and remained so after another enjoyable match with warm, friendly opposition. The Great Leader opened with Andy Bolan and Jon Kennedy and was rewarded with a decent start – 52 off almost 10 overs when Andy was out for 21. Jon (who, as so often seems to happen with Sou’wester captains, had batted himself at 10 the previous day) was the sheet anchor while several came and went at the other end. He was eighth out for an invaluable 90 (out of 168) and we finally subsided to 176 all out in the final over of 40. When they replied, our opening attack was again hostile and successful but Groot Drakenstein produced a meaningful fourth wicket partnership which for a time looked likely to win the match for them. However, it didn’t last as the Sou’westers’ superior fitness (!) was shown with two excellent run outs before Jon Kennedy (3-13) dealt firmly with the tail (all out 169). Groot Drakenstein refreshments between innings

    The middle weekend weather was unsettled and we lost our Easter Saturday fixture to rain but on Monday (6th) we were back with what began as a 35-over match at another lovely ground, Constantia Utsig, but was rather disconcertingly changed to 40 when well underway.

    Before things got started, Lewis (V) agreed, possibly under pressure, to go along with a few local rules, one of which was that a batsman could not be dismissed first ball.  If it is not too much of an oxymoron, the Purists among the Sou’westers thought this rather silly. The Peet cousins, opening the batting, put it to the test on the very first ball of the match which Nick placed gently to the keeper – not out, of course. However, there was no local rule to stop Jezza, backing up eagerly as always, from screwing a fetlock on the turn and the whole party spent a sleepless but ultimately profitable night praying for his swift recovery.

    That we got as many as 152-7 was principally due to a middle order of Williams (50) and his pal and our guest, Darryl Barnes (36), but there was also a little connoisseur’ s last wicket partnership between Kennedy (S) and (A C) Kennedy (J) (batting himself at 11 this time); they both made 11 not out and demonstrated one of the things that Sou’westers’ cricket is all about. Nevertheless, it didn’t feel enough and it wasn’t, although we made a good fist of it and got 8 down before they passed us. Wickets were well shared and a very convivial evening ensued. Constantis Uitsig presentations

    If there was one match which did not quite fall into the sociable pattern of the rest, it was on 11th April at Hermanus where the will to win was perhaps rather too overt amongst our hosts to comply with for our vision of touring cricket.

    After a long but extremely scenic journey from our hotel, we arrived in bright sunshine to witness a grey strip of mud in the middle of the ground being sprinkled with grit or gravel (or perhaps dust) followed by sustained heavy rolling – apparently the established method of ensuring play after heavy rain. There was a delayed start accompanied by some graphic warnings from the hosts against bowling too fast but the mud played well and the fact that they won comprehensively, as they duly and deservedly did, had nothing to do with the wicket which was not easy to score on but played predictably throughout.  To do so they had to recover from a poor start inspired once again by Ollie Bocking (4-28 off 6) and, later, encouraging success for Sam Kennedy (4-15 off 7). The final total of 122 (all out in 27 overs) did not seem too terrifying but we all struggled against some decent bowling. Only Andy Lewis and Ollie Bocking got into double figures and we managed only an ignominious 70.

    So, played 5, won 3 was the situation going into the last match at Fish Hoek and another win would mean a positive balance overall; the Great Leader remained inscrutable. His wish for a serious Test was met by playing a 45 rather than 40 over match.

    Once again, our opening attack was testing but, learning from experience despite his great age, your scribe actually witnessed a rerun of the Wombat experience when Rob George struck with the first and third balls of his first over. To make the comparison even clearer, the second ball went for four! Despite some steady stuff from Andy Lewis (2 -34 off 9), the runs flowed and by the time Fish Hoek were all out with 3 balls of the 40th over remaining, the total was the highest of the tour at 221 and our challenge that much greater.

    That we rose to that challenge was helped by two unexpected factors. First, Fish Hoek who batted 10 put only 9 into the field when the skipper went to a funeral and didn’t return (though he was involved enough to keep in touch by phone). Second, the sweltering sunshine was replaced for a period in mid innings by the Cape Doctor, a very strong crosswind, which cannot have helped the bowlers. Nevertheless, somebody had to make the most of this and Justin Williams  (84) and Andy Bolan (55) duly did so. We ran it a bit close, but Ollie Bocking got the winning runs in classic fashion (to third man, possibly involuntarily) with 7 down and meaningful batting (Thomas and Oliver) still in the hutch. Justin Williams exhibits a different profile to Great Uncle Mark but there is much the same quality about his batting and he was comfortably and deservedly the top scorer overall. The squad

    So we all came home. It was the happiest possible tour. As far as the naked eye could discern, there were no ‘issues’ among the assembled Sou’westers. It was women, child and family friendly but still offered a proper cricket environment for those who like that sort of thing. What better way to spend two weeks in early April?

    That such a conclusion can be written is, of course, thanks to the Great Leader who marshaled his troops with such skill, made sure they all saw some of the action and yet subtly ensured that it was won 4, lost 2 at the end. Even more significant were the magnificent organizational and negotiating skills of the Wonderful Stewart Peet. If you meet him in the next year or two (perhaps at the Badgers Holt towards the end of July), please tell how much he is appreciated, what a wonderful cricketer he still is, and how much we need him to do it all again in three or four years time!

    What a very special Club this is!

    Results

    v Cape Town C.C. Sunday 1st April Won by 7 wickets
    Cape Town 177-7 R.J.P.George 3-35, O.Bocking 2-20, N.Peet 2-26
    Sou’westers 181-3 J.Williams 59*, J.W.Peet 54, N.Peet 34*, A.Bolan 22
    v Western Province Tuesday 3rd April Won by 60 runs
    Sou’westers 171 N.Peet 49, A.H.Lewis 44, S.J.E.George 25
    W.P. 111 O.Bocking 3-6, A.Bolan 3-43, C.Bocking 2-1
    v Groot Drakenstein Thursday 5th April Won  by 7 runs
    Sou’westers 176 J.P.Kennedy 90, O.Bocking 22, A.Bolan 21
    G.D. 169 C.Clyster 62, J.P.Kennedy 3-13, C.Bocking 2-33, N.Peet 2-53
    v Kelvin Grove Saturday 7th April Abandoned
    v Constantia Uitsig Monday 9th April Lost by 2 wickets
    Sou’westers 152-7 J.Williams 50, D.Barnes 36
    Chard 156-8 S.Kennedy 2-22
    v Hermanus Wednesday 11th April Lost by 42 runs
    Hermanus 122 S.Kennedy 4-15, O.Bocking 4-28

    Sou’westers 70
    v Fish Hoek Friday 13th April Won  by 3 wickets
    Fish Hoek 221-9 N.Koopman 93, R.J.P.George 4-48, A.Bolan 2-22, A.H.Lewis 2-34
    Sou’westers 222-7 J.Williams 84, A.Bolan 55, J.W.Peet 26

    Batting Averages

    Inns N.O. Runs H.S. Ave Ct
    J.Williams 6 1 216 84 43.20 3
    J.P.Kennedy 5 1 107 90 26.75 3
    J.W.Peet 4 0 90 54 22.50 1
    A.Bolan 5 0 105 55 21.00 1
    N.Peet 5 0 97 49 19.40 1
    A.H.Lewis 4 0 69 44 17.25 1
    O.Bocking 5 1 63 22 15.75 3
    S.J.E.George 4 0 42 25 10.50 1
    R.J.P.George 4 1 31 9 10.33 2
    S.Kennedy 3 1 12 11* 6.00 1
    C.Bocking 4 1 17 6* 5.67
    H.S.Thomas 4 0 17 15 4.25 1

    Also Batted: D.Barnes 36 (1 ct);  M.R.Oliver 1*, 0*; S.P.H.Thomas 3 (2 ct, 2 st)

    Bowling Averages

    Overs Mdns Runs Wickets Average
    O.Bocking 42.5 10 126 11 11.46
    S.Kennedy 23 3 83 7 11.86
    C.Bocking 17 4 65 5 13.00
    A.Bolan 16 5 79 6 13.17
    J.P.Kennedy 16 0 76 5 15.20
    R.J.P.George 30 3 134 7 19.14
    A.H.Lewis 15 1 63 3 21.00
    N.Peet 24 4 120 5 24.00

    Also bowled: D.Barnes 15 – 2 – 61 – 1; S.J.E.George 7 – 0 – 36 – 0; J.W.Peet 6 – 0 – 37 – 0