Saint Andrew’s just missed out on the final of The Ram Saint John’s College T20 Festival in Harare on the weekend after a narrow loss to the eventual champions, Saint George’s College.

Saints, who were the only team not to field matric boys, faced Zimbabwe’s top six cricket schools and Clifton College from Durban in the Festival.

Having outplayed a strong Churchill team in a warm-up, Saint Andrew’s then crushed Peterhouse by 44 runs in their first Festival match. Captain Calvin King struck 57* off 37 balls, while Garnett Tarr made 43 and Marx de Villiers 39 as Saints registered a challenging 189 for 4. In reply, Peterhouse were held to just 145 for 8.

In their next clash, Saint Andrew’s suffered a setback when they went down to Falcon College. Batting first, Saints mustered 149 for 5 behind 52 from Gerald Coetzee and 42 from King. Falcon, though, chased well to record a four-wicket win.

That defeat meant Saints had to beat Churchill, who boasted six Zimbabwe Schools’ players in their line-up, to make it to the semis.

After Churchill had put on 157 for 7 and bowled well up front, that task looked like it might be too big for coach Gregg Hobson’s charges, but they responded well to the challenge of scoring 100 off the last 10 overs, hitting the winning runs, a six by Henré Koekemoer, to win by three wickets with eight balls to spare. The crucial innings was played by Ruan Cronje, who held the run chase together with an unbeaten 32 off 23 deliveries.

In the final four, Saint Andrew’s scored 157 for 7 against Saint George’s, with Marx de Villiers and Calvin King batting maturely to score 63* off 43 and 41 off 26 respectively.

King’s men appeared on course for the title-decider before an extraordinary innings from Liam Roche took the game away from them. He launched seven sixes and two fours in a knock of 55* off just 18 balls to steer his team to a five-wicket victory with four balls left.

Saint Andrew’s coach Gregg Hobson afterwards described the Festival as a “great experience”, adding “we fought hard all tournament”.

Saints next take on Peterhouse in a 50 overs a side match and St John’s in a T20 clash before returning to South Africa.