Cricket Development Tour 2018
Game 10 vs Hoërskool Menlo Park 1st XI at Menlo Park – 15/10/18
After two days of rest and recuperation at the idyllic Shakama Game Lodge, it was always going to be a big ask to take on the South African T20 National champions on their home ground. Hoërskool (High School) Menlo Park is another school with its own dedicated cricket oval which has day/night facilities and sumptuous clubhouse.
On winning the toss, captain, Bryn Wilson elected to bat on a wicket which had suffered a drenching from a typical Highveld thunderstorm the previous day. Both opening batsmen got their heads down and worked hard in the face of the traditionally hostile and accurate South African opening bowlers. This resistance somewhat blunted the attack but scoring was slow. The loss of 3 wickets brought together Curtis Heaphy and Sam Russell, who were able to manipulate the field and accelerate the scoring with some good running and some lusty blows from Sam. After Sam’s dismissal, Curtis was able to remain in control and feed the strike to big-hitting Max Harris (19 from 15) and Mitch Leach (19 from 13), to set up a score of 167 all out in the final (40th) over. Sam Russell scored 29 and Curtis Heaphy 59.
The Menlo Park innings started with the hosts proving their credentials as SA T20 champions, scoring 15 runs in the first 2 overs. This attitude did present some chances and the PNBHS fielders gratefully accepted some of these, to take 2 early wickets. This, however, brought 2 more aggressive batsmen to the crease and in a display of power hitting, the opposition managed to pass the Boys’ High score in the 25th over with 4 wickets down. Jack Wenham took 2 for 50 in his allotted 8 overs.
After the traditional post-match formalities, the touring team treated the hosts to a stirring school Haka, which many recognised from the previous week’s All Black match on TV. The staff at Menlo Park were so moved that they invited the team to perform the haka at the following morning’s school assembly in front of 1500 pupils. This proved to be very popular amongst the locals who saw it as a privilege to witness the passion of the touring team.