Saint Andrew’s are enjoying a strong cricket season and the school’s success was underlined in the SA Schools Sport national rankings on Wednesday when the Saints’ Colts were ranked number one among under-15 teams, while the first XI is in seventh place in the country.
It is an astonishing achievement as Saints is only 300-strong in the high school. All the teams that surround the boys from Bloem in the rankings are from much larger schools.
Over the past two year, the Saint Andrew’s under-15 A side has lost only two games in almost 50 outings. Coach Brendon Horwitz, an old boy of the school, commented: “It’s about 11 guys who want to play cricket. They practice with purpose, so they can fulfil their potential every game. It’s hard work.”
Gregg Hobson, also an old boy and coach of the 1st XI, agreed that hard work and commitment to the sport and one another is key. “There is no magic formula,” he said.
Hobson, who is the Free State Cricket Union’s Coach of the Year, said that while depth in such a small school is a challenge, teamwork has delivered excellent results: “We have got it right among the first team and under-15s, between myself and Brendon, by creating a culture where everyone is committed and where everyone is giving 100 percent.”
Joe Root, one of the world’s leading batsmen and a Saint Andrew’s old boy, said on a visit to Bloemfontein earlier this year: “I really enjoyed my time at the school and I am thrilled to hear that we are still punching above our weight”.
Not content to rest on their laurels, Saints are hoping to take their cricket to the next level through the Lindsay Tuckett High Performance Centre, who was opened in September thanks to the generous support of old boys. On Wednesday, the installation of Pitchvision, the top analysis equipment available worldwide for cricket, began.
Saint Andrew’s Headmaster Chris Thomas said: “For me, cricket is important because it teaches kids to concentrate. It challenges them as individuals, but it also forces them to work as an integral part of a team. And it teaches you to win and lose, because you can score a hundred one day and naught the next day.”