The WBHS 1st XI side was recently featured in Cricket SA Magazine. Read on to find out more.
EYEBROWS WERE RAISED IN NOVEMBER when a national school sports website ranked Westville Boys’ High the top 1st XI in the country, above the likes of Rondebosch, Pretoria Boys’, Wynberg, Paarl Boys’ and Affies, who have dominated the national schools scene in recent years.
However, those in the know will tell you that this accolade was well deserved. After all, Westville had impressed in most matches across all formats in 2012. They claimed the KwaZulu-Natal Coastal and Overall T20 titles. after beating Northwood and Maritzburg College in the respective provincial finals, although they didn’t do too well on their CSA Schools T20 Challenge debut, losing to Noord-Kaap, Nelspruit and eventual champions Paarl Boys’. They then regained form in the longer formats, enjoying unbeaten runs at the Union High School Festival and Cape Schools Week.
Westville beat Pinelands (by six wickets), Queen‘s (44 runs) and Paarl Boys’ (137 runs) at the 50-over event in Graaff -Reinet. They also won all four declaration matches at the Cape Schools Week against Grey PE (by four wickets), Dale (221 runs), Union (147 runs) and Selborne (eight wickets). They were the only school to finish unbeaten.
Head coach Fabian Lazarus believes this was reward for all their hard work over the past four years. Lazarus joined the Westville lst XI cricket management in 2008 as an assistant to former Dolphins wicketkeepen batsman Doug Watson, and succeeded him as head coach in 2010.
“Doug and l added a more professional approach to Westville‘s cricket structures”, says Lazarus. “They weren‘t known as a strong cricketing school at the time, and we had to change the ethos.”
“We started training four days a week, and had practices dedicated solely to fitness and fielding. This all finally paid off in 2012 with some results.”
Lazarus says the victory over Selborne at the Cape Schools Week was their best.
“There was a lot of pressure heading into that match as Selborne had beaten Paul Roos, Wynberg and SACS earlier in the week. But we played superbly.”
“We didn’t do well at the CSA T20 schools tournament as many of our players weren’t used to the conditions and we lacked batting depth, but the fact that we performed well after that showed the class of the 2012 team.”
“[Captain] Dudu Zondo, who was our most consistent batsman, and [spinner] Kyle Simmonds, who picked up plenty of wickets, deserve special praise for leading the team!”
Zondo, Simmonds and batsman Luke Schlemmer were all selected for the U19 KZN Coastal squad, while Simmonds was also invited to train with the Dolphins. Westville head of cricket Sharmin Naidoo lauds Lazarus for his efforts.
“Fabian has done a lot to grow cricket at the school,” says Naidoo, who’s been in charge of Westville cricket for the past three years. “His assistant Gary Glisson has also done a lot of work.”
“We don’t attract many top cricketers at Westville because they all go to the bigger boarding schools. But we proved in 2012 that we can be a force on the national scene, and 1’m sure the sport will continue to grow.”
This seems likely considering Westville have also achieved successful results at lower age-group levels too. They also had three representatives in the KZN Coastal U17 and U15 teams in 2012.
“ln the past. Westville believed that the 1st XI should only consist of Grade 12 pupils”, says Lazarus, “but we managed to convince them to incorporate younger players to create continuity in selection and we’ve achieved success because of it.
In 2013, we have to rebuild again as I’ll lose eight players from the 2012 squad. But the younger talent at Westville looks promising. Luke Schlemmer, who came into the 1st XI side in his Grade 10 year, will take over the captaincy from Dudu.”