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St John’s beat KES, then, short-handed, tie with Helpmekaar

By Brad Morgan , in Cricket | Featured Cricket | News , at 2024-01-20 Tags: , ,

St John's College captain Joe Macrobert.
St John’s College captain Joe Macrobert.

Fresh off of an unbeaten run at the HJS Cricket Festival before schools officially opened for 2024, the St John’s College 1st XI continued their excellent form with a convincing 32-run victory over their neighbours and rivals, King Edward VII (KES), in a T20 played at KES on Friday.

On Saturday, forced to play without three bowlers and one batsman – due to two injuries, one case of Covid-19, and another of illness – the boys from the Houghton school staged a dramatic fightback to force a tie in a 50-over match against Helpmekaar Kollege.

At KES, the home team won the toss and made a brave call by choosing to send St John’s in to bat. That decision didn’t work out.

Nkosana Sibiya and Thomas Ievers put on 51 runs for the first wicket before Ievers was caught and bowled by Michael Holmes for 18 after 7.2 overs. That brought the visitors’ captain, Joe Macrobert (feature photo), to the wicket and he immediately set about the KES bowling.

Sibiya was run out for 33 from 37 balls, with four fours, with the total on 68, and KES soon enjoyed another quick boost when Cole Francis was dismissed for a single two runs later. But that was where the wicket-taking stopped for KES as Macrobert and the new man in, Alec Loveland, combined for an unbroken stand of 87.

Macrobert launched three sixes and one four in a telling knock of 53 from only 35 deliveries, while Loveland weighed in with 44 from 32, with five fours, as St John’s posted a challenging 157/3.

KES made a stuttering reply and found themselves two wickets down at the start of the fourth over, including, unfortunately for them, Troy Gordon, their number three, run out for a single.

The hosts were on the back foot and, when Zeig Roos also departed for a low score, KES slipped to 29/3. Michael Holmes contributed a useful 22, but he fell with the total on 60.

At the other end, though, Cameron Smith was doing a sterling job. He brought up his fifty, but was out shortly after that for 51, caught by Thomas Ievers off the bowling of Oliver Tait, having struck three fours and two sixes.

Smith’s departure led to a mini-collapse, which proved to be decisive, as Tait removed two more batsmen in the same over, without the addition of a run, to leave KES reeling on 100 for 7 after 16 overs.

When Reece Small became Alec Loveland’s second victim, having scored 27 from 18 balls, KES were eight down with only two wickets standing and three overs remaining.

One run later, they were 113/9 after Cole Francis bowled Fayaaz Vawda. A defiant last wicket partnership carried KES to 125, but they were all out with three balls left.

St John’s had won by 33 runs and recorded their 13th victory in a row since the Oppenheimer Michaelmas Week in 2023.

Oliver Tait had hastened St John’s push for victory, capturing a crucial 3/24 in five overs, while Cole Francis knocked over 2/15 in 3.3, and Alec Loveland claimed 2/28 in four.

There was some consolation for KES as they claimed an eight-wicket win in the 2nd XI match, a nine-wicket victory in the u16A game and won by six wickets at u15A level.

On Saturday, on Mitchell Field, at St John’s, the home side won the toss and chose to bat first against Helpmekaar Kollege. They didn’t make a good start, losing both openers with only 21 runs on the board. Captain Joe Macrobert stood firm, though.

He and Alec Loveland put on 27 for the third wicket before Loveland was out for 14 with the total on 48. That brought Jacob Smith to the middle. He had proved many times before that he is at his best when the going gets tough. Once more, he rose to the occasion.

He and Macrobert put together a stand of 71 before the skipper was out for 45, which had come off of 53 balls.

Smith didn’t enjoy any other solid partnerships, but he stood firm and when the 50 overs were up, and St John’s had totalled 229 for 9, he was still in the middle, unbeaten on an outstanding 101, which he scored from 127 deliveries, with eight fours.

Henricus Meyer picked up 2/37 in 10 for Helpmekaar, while Xander Jackson captured 2/39 in eight, and Dihan Janse van Rensburg 2/35 in seven. Juan Minnaar bowled tidily and economically, but went unrewarded, finishing with 0/31 from his 10.

In response, Helpmekaar were quickly two down with 20 runs on the board, but that brought their captain Henricus Meyer to the crease and he and opener, Kyle Swanepoel, changed the momentum of the game. Together, they partnered for 118 runs for the third wicket in 27.5 overs.

Meyer was then caught by Loveland off the bowling of Tait for 58 from 83 balls, with three fours. His departure brought Juan Minnaar to the crease, and that didn’t make it any easier for the St John’s attack.

Swanepoel, meanwhile, advanced his score to 87 before he was finally dismissed, bowled by Loveland. Astonishingly, his 124-ball stay had produced only one four. But it had left Helpmekaar in a strong position, on 171/4 in the 41st over.

St John’s, though, were not done. Helpmekaar were finding it hard to accelerate the scoring rate and the home side picked up a fifth wicket in the 46th over, when Anthony Stone was sent packing for nine.

As the victory target came into view, the balls were diminishing rapidly. Still, when the sixth wicket went down, with Kevin Oliver out for five, 10 balls remained, and 10 runs were required to win. That same over, though, Juan Minnaar was bowled by Alec Loveland for 42 from 47 balls, which had included two fours and two sixes. Nine to win, seven deliveries left.

When Cole Francis took the ball for the last over, Helpmekaar needed eight for victory. They managed seven as Francis and his fielders did a fine job, conceding a two, three singles and two byes. After 50 overs, Helpmekaar had reached 229/7. The match had ended in a thrilling tie.

Interestingly, in case you were wondering, there were seven extras in the home team’s total and 14 in Helpmekaar’s innings. St John’s bowled seven no balls, Helpmekaar none.

Alec Loveland did a brilliant job for with the ball for the hosts, claiming 4/46 in his 10 overs, including the big wickets of Swanepoel and Minnaar.

Despite being undermanned, St John’s remain undefeated in 14 outings, but it had been oh so close. Had it not been for their fighting spirit, they would have tasted defeat. The fact of the matter is, however, they didn’t, and they can continue to try to tack on more wins to their outstanding record.

Summarised scores

St John’s College 157/3 (Joe Macrobert 53*, Alec Loveland 44*, Nkosana Sibiya 33); KES 125/10 (Cam Smith 51, Reece Small 27, Michael Holmes 22, Oliver Tait 3/24, Cole Francis 2/15, Alec Loveland 2/28) St John’s College won by 33 runs.

St John’s College 229/9 (Jacob Smith 101*, Joe Macrobert 45, Dihan Janse van Rensburg 2/35, Henricus Meyer 2/37, Xander Jackson 2/29); Helpmekaar Kollege 229/7 (Kyle Swanepoel 87, Henricus Meyer 58, Juan Minnaar 42, Alec Loveland 4/46) Match tied.

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