Shrewsbury School

The 2012 Cricket Tour to South Africa: A full report

Tuesday 15 January 2013

A fascinating and detailed account of the December 2012 tour of the 1st XI and U15 XI to South Africa, by Paul Greetham and Andy Barnard.

1st XI - Played  9      Won  7    Lost 2
U15 XI - Played 8     Won 5     Lost 3

A last day of term departure on the 11th December was always going to be taxing on the tour party following a long and tiring Michaelmas term.  Nevertheless, as it turned out, this group of boys responded well to the tough cricket itinerary and came out of the two week tour with many more positives than we could have all hoped for.

Tuesday 11th December
The morning coach ride to Heathrow proved uneventful, unlike the preceding 72 hours, when the late and very unfortunate withdrawal by Charlie White (L6th Grove) due to medical advice (hip and back) caused a rapid promotion of Jonty Small (L6th Moser’s Hall) into the party. Unfortunately Jonty’s passport was in Scotland and it took a dash of mercy by his Grandmother to deliver it on time. A further rapid bit of admin was required by our excellent Tour Agent (Andrew Russell: Cape Africa Tours) to secure his flight but after a hectic 24hrs all was well and Jonty was fully on board.

Our 6.05pm flight was slightly delayed by frost, but eventually we made our way south to Johannesburg and then Cape Town.

Wednesday 12th December
We arrived in glorious sunshine and 28 degrees of heat. A prompt pick up and transfer to our Vera School accommodation at midday was followed by afternoon training at Bishops College. The Vera School proved to be an ideal base for our first week of the tour. The school is a small boarding school for autistic children divided into three small blocks of accommodation. The living room divisions allowed our party to be split between seniors and juniors, and was ideal for team meetings, administration and preparation. A central grass area was great for recreational and social gatherings where the whole tour party mixed and played together. The homemade breakfasts and suppers were excellent and generous.

After training an early night was much needed before our first match.

Thursday 13th December
Match 1
1st XI v Bergvliet High School 9.30am 50 over match#

 Bergvliet HS is a state school with excellent cricket facilities and the match proved to be an excellent first outing for us as we set about putting our many hours of preparation into practice.

We won the toss and despite losing some early wickets to some fine opening bowling our debutant Cassidy Scholar,  Joe Carrasco, made a steady and excellent start to his batting career. He was ably supported by Will Cook and Harry Flowers, before both Matt Gregson and Charlie Farquhar helped Joe to bolster the score in the last 10 overs.  Joe received much applause as he marked his debut with an excellent 104 not out.
Steady bowling in reply saw us restrict Bergvliet to 167 for 8. Alistair Fisher made a great recovery from a poor start to finish with three wickets. Unfortunately, Harry Flowers suffered a dislocation to his thumb and despite the excellent local medical care an x-ray exposed a small bone break and Harry’s tour was effectively over. It was very difficult for Harry to cope with on match day one, but the tour party rallied around him quickly and offered him some much needed support. Our first performance provided a good start to the tour with some good contributions from a variety of players.

A short trip back to our base for an evening meal and some much needed sleep catch up.

U15 XI v Bergvliet High School

Shrewsbury lost the toss and were asked to bat.  However many indoor practice sessions throughout November and December will never properly prepare a squad for the first match on tour during an English winter. That said and despite modest opposition, this was a fantastic start to the trip. There were 20 overs left in the innings when the coaches decided to retire Harry Adair on 127*! Who knows what he might have achieved if he’d had the chance to carry on, however in the interest of other people getting a knock early in the tour, Harry had a rest. U14 batsman George Hargrave ably supported Harry and was disappointed to miss out on a deserved half century. Max Parsonage carried on where Harry left off, and scored his first 50 runs from an amazing 13 balls. Shrewsbury did not make use of all of their allotted 45 overs and declared at lunch.

Bergvliet were never in the match with the opening bowlers Panayi and Cooke taking 4 wickets between them. Ed Moore showed signs of what was to become a good tour for the leg spinner taking 3 wickets to wrap up the Bergvliet innings.

Shrewsbury U15 XI defeated Bergvliet High School by 261 runs

Friday 14th December
Match 2
1st XI v Bishops College     9.30am   50 over match

We arrived early on to another hot and bright day in the magnificent Bishops grounds to find a well worn pitch, played on by Sussex Academy, Charterhouse and Malvern during the previous five days.

We won the toss and immediately lost Ed Pollock to the first ball of the match, so when George Lewis was out caught with the total on twenty, we had to spend time repairing the early damage. Will Cook and Ed Barnard supplied the much needed resistance and on a slow low surface they did a great job in recovering our position by putting together a solid partnership. Unfortunately, just after drinks, Barnard was run out at the bowlers end from a deflected drive. From this point on our innings lost momentum and some poor batting left us with a below par 174 total with only Bertie Milligan-Manby providing the team with extra runs.

In reply Bishops got off to a strong start. Dan Russell, the opposing captain, frequently punished over pitched bowling and despite using nine bowlers we failed to make the necessary in roads to unsettle their relatively comfortable chase to the total. Charlie Farquhar was the pick of our bowlers whilst Henry Blofield turned in a tidy performance in bowling his ten overs. The loss certainly served to focus our attention on the responsibility of batting and the need to improve our fielding.

U15 XI v Bishops College

Shrewsbury won the toss and elected to bat.  Once again, on a sweltering day in Cape Town, Shrewsbury’s batting took centre stage. Harry Adair strode out to bat, with the confidence of a tour hundred on day one behind him, and battered the Bishops bowling to all parts until a dubious waist high full toss became his downfall. Fellow opener Charlie Home batted on calmly, showing off strokes all around the wicket, even though the heat got the better of him at times towards the end of his innings. His 59 glued the innings together. Max Parsonage, George Panayi and particularly Harrison Schofield made more than useful contributions late on. Schofield struck the ball all around the beautiful Bishops oval and was unlucky to miss out on a maiden Shrewsbury fifty.

It must be said that, on a good wicket, Bishops were always up with the required rate but lost wickets on a regular basis. Between 20 and 30 overs, Bishops put themselves in a decent position to make a final 15 over assault, however George Panayi came back after drinks at 30 overs to devastate the Bishops lower order with an outstanding spell of straight and fast U15 bowling. George took 4 wickets (all bowled) and that was that.

Shrewsbury U15 XI defeated Bishops College by 68 runs

Following the match and the presentation ceremony our players were billeted with their opponents for two nights. The staff returned to base for a much needed rest.

Saturday 15th December
Match 3
1st XI v Pinelands HS     9.30am    Declaration Match (Max 65 overs 1st innings)

Despite the hectic schedule it was good to see the tour party arrive for the 8.30am pick up from their overnight stays in good heart and full of interesting tales of their host houses. Another short journey followed before we arrived at Pinelands High School - another state school with good cricket facilities and a very enthusiastic Master in Charge. John Young was a saviour of state school cricket and believed in the game being played with discipline and plenty of time. After some discussion a declaration game was agreed and having lost the toss we set about bowling a maximum of 65 overs. As it happened we only needed to bowl 63.1 but that was certainly enough on a very hot and windy day. The bowling was much improved from day two and wickets fell consistently throughout our opponent’s innings. Pinelands were eventually bowled out for 194 and were thankful to Clock for his interesting innings of 88. Jonty Small made a great impression with the ball in claiming four wickets and Alistair Fisher continued his improving form. Edward Barnard bowled with great authority and pace whilst Charlie Farquhar and Henry Blofield again showed improving form.

Ed BarnardWith some 60 overs left in the day a win was on the cards if we could get a good start. Milligan-Manby and Blofield provided a solid start but both fell quickly with the total on 40 and thereafter the middle order struggled before Barnard and Humes came together and built a winning partnership. Steadily, at first, the two saw off the nagging bowling of Adams and Samsodien before applying more aggression as they eased us past the total in 51 overs. The win was much celebrated after the middle order collapse and all went away smiling for another night of South African hospitality.

U15 XI v Pinelands High School

Shrewsbury won the toss and elected to field.  We came across the best all-round cricketer we faced all tour against Pinelands High School. The Pinelands captain had just returned from the SA Provincial U15 tournament, and shaped up superbly well with both bat and ball. Fortunately, Max Parsonage came up with a lovely away swinging delivery that was nicked to keeper Newbould, and Shrewsbury’s top order batsman were able to keep out some pretty hostile quick bowling on a surface with plenty of pace and bounce. Both leg spinners bowled very well in this game getting through 9 overs a piece, and there didn’t appear to be a game plan to score against them. Following the early dismissal of Henry Newbould, Toby Mason and Max Parsonage gritted their teeth and kept out some hostile and disciplined bowling from both Pineland openers. James Harris saw Shrewsbury over the line with a patient 20*.

Shrewsbury U15 XI defeated Pinelands High School by 7 wickets

The staff comforted themselves with a Waterfront meal. After three matches in three days a much needed day of sightseeing was to follow.

Sunday 16th December
A  much slower morning allowed the boys a little time to rest up and organise themselves before a short drive to Table Mountain on a glorious morning. The cable car journey ended with spectacular views across the Cape before we moved onto the beach and then the Waterfront for a hearty team meal at Steers. Our next day opponents were ranked number one in South Africa in 2012 so we all looked forward to the encounter with much relish.

Monday 17th December
Match 4
1st XI v Wynberg Boys High School      Claremont Cricket Club, Constantia Sports Ground    50 over match

Claremont Cricket Club provided an excellent venue and surface for this tough match and after winning the toss we set about setting a good total on a very hot day. Another early innings failure saw Cook and Barnard again recovering our innings to a solid platform, they accumulated 110 in 131 balls. Following good contributions from Charles Kidson and Ed Pollock we managed a par total of 258 for 8 but should really have totalled 275 plus. Nevertheless, despite the early losses to score 250 plus was a good total and nearly provided us with enough runs to achieve a win.

Despite the excellent efforts of our three spinners (Pollock, Blofield & Farquhar) we could not manage to contain the stroke play of our opponents who got home with three wickets and two balls to spare. A great match that highlighted some areas of improvement for the team, and gave us all a real boost for the forthcoming matches.

U15 XI v United Cricket Club

Shrewsbury lost the toss and were asked to field.  Yet again, a ground with a stunning view of Table Mountain greeted us at Claremont Cricket Club. The Gary Kirsten Academy functions from here, and the practice facilities and pitches were immaculate. 179 for United Cricket Club never felt enough for the surface and so it proved to be. Shrewsbury started to show signs of real understanding during this innings, implementing field setting plans discussed in team meetings. Opening bowlers Panayi and Cooke once again showed why they were selected for the U15 cup squad last season, demonstrating movement with the new ball, and excellent skills in second spells. Tom Breese bowled a controlled spell of medium pace bowling with the old ball, and picked up three essential wickets.

Tom then came up trumps with the bat, batting through the innings, demonstrating excellent defense allied with particularly good front foot attacking play. George Panayi offered the necessary stability batting at four, and George Hargrave was the ideal man to finish the innings off with Breese. A solid all-round display.

Shrewsbury U15 XI defeated United Cricket Club by 6 wickets

An early evening meal back at Vera School allowed us all time to chill in preparation for our last one day match. Four matches in five days had allowed us to rotate the squad and despite some individual disappointments a great number of opportunities had been provided and a lot had been learnt about the potential of the squad. We were certainly in no doubt that this group of boys were keen to improve and work hard to achieve the standards we were demanding of them. We all slept well on Monday night.

Tuesday 18th December
Match 5
1st XI v University of Cape Town Colts at The University Ground

We won the toss and again chose to bat. For the first time on tour we got off to a good start with Joe Carrasco and Charlie Farquhar putting on 90 for the first wicket. After Farquhar fell for 42, Cook again offered Carrasco good support in adding to our total but just as we were looking like we could post another score of 250 plus a number of rash shots saw us total just 218 all out. Batting discipline again let us down with only Bertie Milligan-Manby contributing well at the death. We would now have to bowl well to restrict a side made up of much older university students.

Alistair Fisher again made a promising start but the other opening bowlers failed to hold the chasers before Blofield turned in his best bowling performance. His 4 for 26 opened up the tail for Barnard to sweep away and another hard earned victory was ours.

U15 XI v Western Province Cricket Club

Western Province won the toss and decided to bat.  It was all going so well. Playing on the same surface as the previous day against United CC, it was an easy decision for WPCC when they won the toss. The pitch actually played better and against a stronger side, Shrewsbury performed admirably, with some thoughtful field settings, keeping the opposition down to just shy of five runs per over. WPCC would have been disappointed with this total only three wickets down.

The Shrewsbury innings never really got going. One of the WPCC spinners took six wickets with some naggingly accurate off spin, and batsman became frustrated leading to soft dismissals. Panayi and Parsonage looked as though they might make some inroads but Shrewsbury were already five down at this stage and their dismissals were the final nails in the coffin. James Harris chipped in with another 20 odd – becoming quite consistent.

WPCC U15 XI defeated Shrewsbury by 92 runs

As the one day section of the tour ended we reflected with some satisfaction on our results to date, played five, won three, lost two. Fair to say that in the two matches we lost we were in a strong position to secure the matches but poor batting let us down.

First day offWednesday 19th December

A much needed morning off was enjoyed by all and after an early lunch the group travelled by ferry to Robben Island to see where Nelson Mandela had spent his time in prison. As the great man rested in hospital it was an important reminder for the group how South Africa had changed in recent years and the underlying issues that still pervade society here. It was a great educational day for all the boys. Later that day the party enjoyed a leisurely afternoon and a visit to the Canal Wharf shopping mall before we retired for tea. It was great preparation for the remaining T20 matches at Hermanus.
Thursday 20th December
An early start was required as the U15’s had a 12.15pm start whilst we would start at 2.00pm. The drive to Hermanus took us up and over the mountains for about 90 minutes before dropping down into the whale watching seaside resort. Our seafront Windsor Hotel was an ideal location.

Match 6
1st XI v Hermanus High School  at Hermanus High School   T20

Having watched the start of the U15 match we walked across the road to our next venue and found a well grassed surface. All appeared to be set for a high scoring game as the boundaries were very short. Hermanus HS chose to bat and despite some early successes we found ourselves on the wrong end of a ‘sixes’ fest. Nevertheless some of our bowlers came out of the match with good performances, Jack Doyle, Matt Gregson, Alistair Fisher and Edward Barnard bowled with a measure of control and with some great catching (Harry Flowers x 2) we just about kept the opposition in sight. A chase of 177 was not out of our reach but a good start was required.

Our tour rotation system dictated an experimental T20 batting order that eventually conquered our opponents. Despite losing five batsmen for less than 11 runs and coping with the vagaries of inconsistent boundary markers, Charles Kidson (57 no) and Ed Barnard (87 no) saw us over the line on the last ball of the match when Charles hit a boundary through mid wicket. This was a great win against opponents containing a few excellent players of greater age and experience.

U15 XI v South Boland

Shrewsbury lost the toss and were asked to field.  And so to Hermanus for the T20 festival hosted by the town cricket club and high school. It was clear that the wickets were going to deteriorate quickly given the amount of cricket to be played (roughly three matches per pitch per day), and batsman never really felt ‘in’ on unpredictable surfaces.

South Boland took advantage of some wayward middle of the innings bowling, before being pegged back by another excellent spell from Ed Moore, and George Panayi.

It would need one of the Shrewsbury ‘impact’ batsman to get in to threaten the South Boland total, but alas, it was only George Hargrave who batted beautifully but at a modest strike rate who made real in roads. The innings folded somewhat following an unfortunate mix up between Panayi and Breese leading to George’s run out. This was the first sub-standard performance of the tour in all three disciplines.

South Boland U15 XI defeated Shrewsbury by 23 runs

Friday 21st December

Alistair Fisher had been suffering with his breathing on Thursday night and after an uncomfortable night a trip to the doctors confirmed that he had a chest infection and he would play no further part in the tour. A great pity for Alistair but he certainly had done enough with the ball in hand to ensure that he will be a realistic option for the forthcoming season if he can improve his fielding to the required standard. Harry Flowers was continuing to struggle with his thumb injury but was keen to play his part in the tour and so played a bit part role as a specialist fielder.

Match 7
1st XI v Western Province CC at Hermanus CC

A midday start allowed us all a few hours extra rest before another tough match against a club that had already beaten our U15’s. We were very much aware that during the holiday period their ranks are bolstered by a number of private school players. From the outset we knew they meant business but we were to match them in every facet of play.

We lost the toss and were asked to field. Joe Carrasco and Will Cook opened the bowling and both bowled well to restrict the Western Province side in their first 8 overs. Edward Pollock, Henry Blofield and Charlie Farquhar continued the good early work and Edward Barnard mopped up the tail to finish them off for 123 in 19.4 overs.  Jamie Humes must be congratulated as he performed well behind the stumps but lapsed in concentration from time to time. Further improvements in our ground fielding and excellent catching (Jack Doyle, Jonty Small, Edward Barnard and Matt Gregson) combined with the secure bowling performance meant that we were in good order running into the final two fixtures of our tour on Saturday.

George Lewis was again asked to open the innings but, despite showing positive intent and showing great desire to chalk up a score and get the team going, he was bowled for just two. George has achieved a number of low scores to date but he has shown great application and discipline on tour and we are confident that the experience will help him en-route to an extended 1st XI career in due course. Meanwhile, Joe Carrasco continued his good form, played well, rotated the strike well and carried his bat while Edward Pollock applied pressure to our opponents by hitting frequent boundaries. A partnership of 60 in 43 balls between these two effectively won the match for us before a flurry of late wickets and controversy nearly tarnished a very good all round performance. We eventually won the match by six wickets with over 2 overs remaining. In chalking up another good T20 win we were certainly growing in confidence and despite the prospect of two matches on our final day of the tour and with energy levels very low we were sure that the spirit of the group would shine through.

U15 XI v Curro Langebaan School

Shrewsbury won the toss and elected to bat.  It was pretty clear from the outset that we were facing weaker opposition, however another under-par T20 performance might have threatened what should have been a straight forward victory. James Harris struggled in the heat of Hermanus but once again persisted, nudged and placed his way to an important 33, with some much needed mid-innings support from Harry Adair. Hargrave and Koch de Gooreynd put together a tidy partnership at the end of the innings, which ultimately put the match out of Curro Langebaan’s reach. The Shrewsbury spinners took 5 wickets between them and bowled with sufficient guile and accuracy, proving too canny for the opposition. By match seven of the tour, the spinners really were getting to grips with their field settings with considerable effect.

Shrewsbury U15 XI defeated Curro Langebaan School by 24 runs

Before supper a little bit of beach time for some to finish off another hot and tiring day. As the sun set on Hermanus beach the prospect of grey skies and floods started to hit home but we still had much to do.

Saturday 22nd December
Match 8
1st XI v All Rounders Academy at Hermanus High School 9.00am

The early start against an Academy side bolstered by some Wynberg players required a great amount of concentration and application, but our early efforts were less than good and our opponents got off to a flyer. Once again we had to work hard to repair our early failings. The recovery started in the eighth over when ARA were already on 64 without loss. From the moment Henry Blofield took his first wicket (of 4) the team played better and better, but if it were not for some poor batting by our opponents we could, and should, have been chasing in excess of 200 runs. Charles Kidson, Freddie Earlam and Jonty Small all bowled well and played their part in ensuring that we were not chasing a massive first innings score. A total of 142 was certainly gettable on the ground where we had chased down 177 two days earlier.

Once again we failed to start well but Will Cook and Freddie Earlam steadied the ship and put together a solid partnership before Matt Gregson and Edward Barnard finished the job in style with an over to spare. Despite another win we did reflect on our poor starts with both bat and ball and we asked / demanded that the players respond in the afternoon with a better and more comprehensive performance.

U15 XI v Western Province Cricket Club

Shrewsbury lost the toss and were asked to field.  Shrewsbury were determined to avenge the loss inflicted upon them earlier in the week by the same side in the longer format. Shrewsbury bowled and fielded superbly on a pitch which was showing signs of lots of cricket being played on it. George Panayi was superb in his two spells, as was Charlie Home bowling his off spinners with excellent fields. Western Province decided to bowl spin throughout the innings which turned out to be fairly astute. Only George Panayi made it into double figures, with many batsman finding it hard to get the ball away. A disappointing way to end the tour however, the bowling and fielding display was the culmination of much hard work and planning.

Western Province CC U15 XI defeated Shrewsbury by 46 runs

Match 9
1st XI v Bishops College Invitation XI  at Hermanus CC  3.15pm

We lost the toss and were asked to field. The club pitch was showing signs of wear and tear, so keeping our opponents to a low score was vital. Charlie Farquhar and Edward Barnard made an excellent start and despite the resistance of Dan Russell (again!), wickets fell regularly as Henry Blofield and Matt Gregson turned the screw  The final score of 104 for 8 was certainly the sort of score we would have wished to chase after losing the toss. The wicket keeping of Bertie Milligan-Manby and Jamie Humes had been satisfactory, occasionally good, to this point on tour but both left their best for last. In sharing the gloves duty on the last day both added greatly to a job well done in the field and ensured that the battle for the wicketkeeping spot will continue for the next six months. Concentration, technique, positive vocal enthusiasm, athletisism, strength and conditioning are all areas for both to develop in the months to come.  

Meanwhile the batters had a difficult job to do on a difficult surface. Joe Carrasco and Edward Pollock opened the innings and quickly set about attacking our opponents. In 4 overs we had moved onto 28 before Joe decided to sweep a straight ball. Nevertheless, the die was cast and when Will Cook entered the fray the runs continued to flow, mainly from Edward Pollock. He went on to complete his 50 and the game was won in 13.4 overs. Our most comprehensive win was saved to the last and we thoroughly enjoyed the End of Tour Dinner later that evening in down town Hermanus.

The End of Tour Dinner was an alfresco do that saw the presentation of ‘tour’ and ‘cricket’ awards before Mr Greetham sang a soulful solo to bring down the curtain on a happy, harmonius and successful tour.

Sunday 23rd December
A 10.30am departure from our hotel ensured we arrived in plenty of time for our long flight home from Cape Town via Johannesburg to London Heathrow. Despite a number of passport and baggage issues, all returned home safely in time for Christmas with their families.

Senior Tour Cricket Awards
Fielder of the Tour                    Harry Flowers
Batsman of the Tour                 Joe Carrasco
Bowler of the Tour                    Henry Blofield
Player of the Tour                     Edward Barnard

Leading Tour Averages

Bowling (Av Under 20)                   
Charlie Farquhar     44    6    165     9    Av 18.33
Alistair Fisher    21    3    91    7    AV 13.00
Edward Barnard    38    9    152    16    Av 9.50
Henry Blofield    52    3    215    11    Av 19.55
Jonty Small    21.1    3    66    8    Av 8.25

Batting (Av Over 20)       
Edward Pollock    159    Av 26.50U15 squad in South Africa
Edward Barnard    306    Av 76.50
Charles Kidson    98    Av 49.0
Charlie Farquhar    70    Av 23.30
Will Cook    219    Av 31.29
Jamie Humes    52    Av 52.00
Joe Carrasco    261    Av 52.20

U15 XI Tour Cricket Awards
Most Improved Player        Harrison Schofield
Fielder of the Tour             Max Parsonage
Batsman of the Tour          Harry Adair
Bowler of the Tour             Edward Moore
Player of the Tour             George Panayi

South African cricket tour 2012

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