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Player Profile – Chad Ayford (Somerset College)

By Willem Louw , in Cricket | Featured Cricket | News , at 2024-03-13 Tags: ,

This year, Somerset College reclaimed the coveted Ashes Trophy to reassert their dominance in the local derby against Parel Vallei and draw a line under another successful cricket season for the Somerset West school.

At the heart of the Collegians’ success was their stalwart, Chad Ayford, who has scored 1 718 runs, taken 25 wickets with his bowling, caught 16 batsmen and run out three in his time in the school’s 1st XI.

Batting at an average strike rate of 107 and offering a handy option in the bowling lineup, Ayford has been an exhilarating watch throughout the season.

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He earned his 50th 1st team cap in this year’s Ashes, and celebrated with another strong performance, scoring 30 runs before snaring three wickets for only five runs as Somerset College stormed to a massive victory by an innings and 94 runs to avenge last season’s loss.

Their performance was especially impressive as they sought to remove any doubt about their dominance after Parel Vallei managed to win their first Ashes ever the last time the two met, hinting at a shift in momentum after a 25-year dry spell against their neighbours.

“It was an amazing feeling to get back the Ashes on their (Parel Vallei’s) home ground,” Ayford told SuperSport Schools recently. “They had something special about them last year, but we weren’t going to allow that to happen again.”

With the Ashes trophy returned, his 50th cap under his belt, and nearly 2 000 runs to his name already, Ayford has now set his sights on again making the Boland u19 team for the Coca-Cola Khaya Majola Week.

Reflecting on his experience at the event in 2023, he said he relished the standard of the competition. “It was a great experience, facing talented bowlers, who I have not come up against before.

“Every day was a learning experience, and meeting new players and coaches was great, and allowed me to get their perspectives on the game.”

Looking ahead further, Ayford said he plans to continue playing cricket after matriculating.

“I want to study sports management, but I’ll be playing club cricket alongside that, and I hope to get into the Boland Cricket Academy set-up.”

That should come as no surprise to anyone who has seen him growing up in Pniel, in the Winelands, where he’s had a bat and ball in his hands since he was a youngster.

He comes from a sporting family, with a sister, Grace, who plays 1st XI hockey for Bridge House at just 14 years of age. His mother, Grizelda, is passionate about netball, and his father, Shayne, was an established rugby player in his day. Their support, Chad said, has been the most important part of his journey.

“They have sacrificed so much for me and would do anything in their power to do what’s best for me,” he explained.

Alongside his family’s support, he also credits coaches Rudolph Buys, Eltin Buziek and Justin Ontong with his continuing development as he prepares to close one chapter of his life and gets ready to take on new challenges when he finishes school at the end of the year.

Coach Buys shared his excitement about the young cricketer under his tutelage. “Chad is a very confident cricketer. He has all the attributes to become a high-class player,” he said.

“He plays with a lot of flair. That’s something we’ve been very conscious of, to not coach that out of him. But as the season has gone on, he has also learned how to limit the risk”, said Buys.

“He’s a natural leader, as well, leading by example rather than talking much, but he plays with such authority that teams tend to listen when he has something to say.”

One thing that is sure to stay the same is Ayford’s burning passion for the sport. In fact, that is also the aspect he admires most in his cricket role model, Virat Kohli’s game. “I love his passion and aggression. and the way he wants to win and would do anything for his national team”, he said.

When he’s not training, Ayford said he enjoys being alone, listening to music and reflecting on what he has done and what he needs to do to reach his goals. “I also enjoy running and hitting the gym. It takes my mind off everything and makes me feel prepared for the next challenge”.

With a positive outlook, an unquenchable thirst for cricket, and a single-minded determination, whatever the future challenges may be, Somerset College’s Chad Ayford appears ready to meet them.

Willem Louw
error: Sorry ol' chap, those shenanigans are not permissible.