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St John’s and KES in nail-biting 40-over clash

By Brad Morgan , in Cricket | News , at 2023-11-03

St John’s College and King Edward VII, who first met on the cricket field in 1905, renewed their rivalry on Thursday, with the two 1st XIs producing a thrilling 40-overs-a-side clash that went down to the wire.

After winning the coin flip, St John’s, having opted to bat first, made a steady but unspectacular start, with Nkosana Sibiya and Thomas Ievers putting on 19 before Ievers was out in the fifth over for 12, a victim of opening bowler Thebe Modisane.

KES then had reason to celebrate in the eighth over when they removed batting kingpin, Joe MacRobert, for seven, caught by Christian Sabela off the bowling of Zeig Roos.

Sibiya stuck around until the total had reached 59, but he fell for 22, one of three wickets claimed by Fayaaz Vawda. Kago Masote, meanwhile, contributed 28, but he was the next wicket to go.

St John’s needed a substantial partnership to give their inning momentum and they got it when Alec Loveland and Cole Francis joined forces. They put on 81 runs for the sixth wicket in just over 14 overs before Loveland was caught by Vawda off the bowling of Eric Southey for 35 from 46.

Francis, though, helped advance the St John’s total to 187 before becoming the ninth wicket to go, caught by Southey off of Christian Sabela’s bowling for a crucial 65 from 60 deliveries, with two fours and two sixes.

Sabela and Vawda were the pick of the KES bowlers, with Sabela capturing 3 for 33 in 7.3, while Vawda took 3 for 44 in eight.

Luthando Masinda, in at 11, made six before he was the last man out with the total on 199. Those half-a-dozen runs, though, proved to be a very important contribution.

Needing to bat at exactly five runs an over to win, KES lost Cameron Smith in the seventh over for nine (he had faced only 11 balls), which brought Troy Gordon out into the middle to join Eric Southey.

Together, they compiled a partnership of 87 for the second wicket. Crucially, though, St John’s never allowed them to get on top of the bowling, although Gordon batted at just better than a run a ball.

With the total on 119, Southey was caught by Jacob Smith off an Oliver Tait delivery for 42 from 97 balls, which included four fours.

KES then managed a partnership of 60 for the third wicket, but they also found themselves under ever-increasing pressure as the overs started to slip away.

Tiaan Goosen was out for 30 from 35, with the total on 179. He was one of three batsmen to lose their wicket to Cole Francis, but Troy Gordon was still out in the middle, poised to take his team over the line, with 21 runs needed for victory, but only 14 balls remaining.

Disastrously for KES, they lost their top scorer, Gordon, two balls later, caught by Jacob Smith off of Francis for 83 from 82, with six fours and a six. KES had six wickets in hand, but new batsmen at both ends of the pitch.

Their run chase was further crippled when Zeig Roos was dismissed with the first ball of the 39th over. St John’s then did an outstanding job of protecting their runs, with Francis adding another wicket to his haul, to limit King Edward VII to 193 for 6.

Francis, their standout with the bat, was also the pick of their bowlers, snapping up 3 for 35 in his eight overs.

Alec Loveland, with 1 for 27 in eight, bowled an economical spell, which ratcheted up the pressure on KES, and Oliver Tait was also economical, returning figures of 1 for 29 in eight. Malan du Plessis, with 1 for 29 in seven, made a key contribution, too.

In the 2nd XI match, St John’s claimed a 27-run victory, but KES were victorious in the under-14A and under-15A matches, winning those by 57 runs and eight wickets respectively.

Commenting on the rivalry with their near neighbours, St John’s 1st XI coach Bongani Ntini said: “Cricket has a rich tradition at St John’s College and King Edward VII School, and it’s wonderful to see that this fixture has endured the test of time for over a century.

“Matches, like these, help preserve the spirit of the sport and its long-standing traditions. They not only showcase the talent and competitiveness of the schools but also foster a strong sense of camaraderie and sportsmanship between the two schools.”

With wins over St Stithians, Jeppe and KES in Gauteng, and victories against Northwood, Glenwood and DHS in KZN, it has been a very good end of the year for St John’s. They face a serious challenge on Saturday, however, when they take on an in-form Affies in their final match of the season.

Summarised scores

St John’s College 199/10 (Cole Francis 65, Alec Loveland 35, Kago Masote 28, Christian Sabela 3/33, Fayaaz Vawda 3/43); King Edward VII 193/6 (Troy Gordon 83, Eric Southey 42, Tiaan Goosen 30, Cole Francis 3/35) St John’s College won by 6 runs

Brad Morgan
error: Sorry ol' chap, those shenanigans are not permissible.