View from the Dugout - Sports News 15 February 2018

This past weekend we played our longstanding rivals Maritzburg College; one of the oldest inter-school matches in the country. Our ‘down town’ rivals have always been greatly revered for their sporting ethos and the sheer magnitude of their school, more than double our size, has, in many respects, made them the Goliath of KZN schools sport. ‘College’ as they are affectionately known by the community, do not only bring numbers to the sporting arena but their deep sense of pride for their school has always made them a formidable opponent. In fact, in thinking about this article, I decided to look back at our summer sport record against them from about a decade ago (and longer). There are a few tales of courageous victories for the black and white but, on the whole, the stats show a rather bleak record of Maritzburg College domination.

In scrutinizing these results it is noticeable that quite a few things have changed since those times. Pre-2005 Hilton College put out 6 basketball teams, 17 cricket teams and 6 water polo teams, figures which now read - basketball: 14 teams; cricket: 15 teams and water polo: 14 teams. Another noticeable change is that many of our lower teams did not play Maritzburg College head-to-head in those days as they were too weak. This year we staggered down for Maritzburg College (our lower teams played their higher teams) in water polo and all other teams played head-to-head. Finally, from a results perspective, in 2003 we lost every basketball, water polo, golf, tennis and squash match and only won a few cricket matches (we mostly won these on the stagger) a trend that continued through right up to a few years ago. This ‘gap’ has definitely narrowed throughout and in the case of water polo has completely reversed. In this 1st term fixture we did not lose a 1st team match (in any of the sports) a rare and laudable achievement against a school of this stature.

All-in-all what we learn from this is that our boys are braver, faster, stronger and better skilled than they have been in the past. But, despite our improvement, it is wonderful that we have a strong and worthy antagonist down the road that still wins
most of the fixtures (well in cricket and basketball anyway) and against whom we can raise a yardstick for our further improvement. There is no greater mechanism to improve, after all, than being on the losing team from time-to-time.

I’m not sure where history will take this rivalry in the future but what I am absolutely certain about is where we have set our sights. So here’s to many more years of battles against our ‘college’ friends.

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