View from the Dugout - Sports News 2 March 2018
I'm not sure how much people appreciate just how far our basketball club has come over the past few months. From being the whipping boys of KZN, they have turned things around to such an extent that teams are not just sitting up, they are downright fearful of the boys in white. A classic example is their recent performance against Westville. In our previous encounter against this school (2017) we lost every match with a humbling point difference of 230 points. Last week we won 6 matches and lost 7 with a positive point difference. Amongst these victories the 1st team that completed a historic 66 - 33 victory and the u15A turning over a 33 - 8 loss to win 34 - 33. For any organization looking for inspiration on how to turn the ship around, the HC basketball club would be a good place to start. In a nutshell, the improvement has boiled down to a few important principles.
These are some of them:
- Dream big...together. Yes, sure, we are nowhere near the top of the pile just yet, but we have set our sights high, we're excited about our goals and everyone in the club knows exactly where we are going.
- Set uncompromising standards. If you want to achieve anything worthwhile, there is no room for half-heartedness. Walk the talk, do the little things well and work hard.
- Give credit where credit is due. There is no greater motivator than praise given for a job well done.
For much of the improvement, I acknowledge the efforts of Mr. David Look, our Head of Basketball. He has done a wonderful job establishing structure, galvanizing the coaches and motivating the boys. It is important to note that, whilst I commend basketball for their incredible improvement, many of our other clubs are also doing exceptionally well. They too ascribe to the principles noted above and, to some degree, it has been their culture and systems that have provided the inspiration for the resurgence of our basketball club.
The fixture against Westville began with our junior squads taking the fight to our opponents. Many of the matches were extremely close with the u14A fighting all the way to the end in what ended as a 12-22 defeat. The u15A performance was cause for real celebration. Over 10 points down in the first quarter, the boys fought back to eventually lead the game 34-33. With 20 seconds remaining on the clock, Westville threw everything they could at us but a solid defensive effort held them off and we completed an incredible victory.
Other exceptional victories came from the 4th (16-12), u16B (33-31) and u15B (23-15). The 2nd team game got off to a frenetic pace. By the end of the 4th quarter, both teams had left everything on the court and the scores level at 26-26. The game headed into overtime where we were unfortunate to narrowly lose the game by a single point 29-30. The 1st team were just sublime in their match. As was the case in their fixture against Maritzburg College, the boys came out firing and blew Westville away early on; 18-3 up at the end of the first quarter. We steadily built on this lead and a devastating last quarter put the nail in the coffin (66-33).
Congratulations to our tennis club on winning the Denness League! Our tennis players completed the season with matches on Monday and Tuesday this week. In these matches the 1st team completed two comprehensive wins against Maritzburg College (18-0) and Michaelhouse 2nd (14-4), the 2nd team lost heavily to Michaelhouse 1st (0-18) whilst the 3rd team beat Michaelhouse 3rd (11-9) in a thrilling match. All-in-all, it has been an outstanding first term for the club and in particular for the 1st team who finished unbeaten. In many ways it is fitting that we won the Denness cup as this was Mr. Wessel Theron's (Head of Tennis) final season as a Hilton College school master before his departure to New Zealand. He has done a wonderful job in tennis in his short time with us and we will miss his gentlemanly nature and professionalism.
Our squash club played a strong Michaelhouse outfit in their league match on Wednesday. Unfortunately, this ended up as a one sided affair in the 1st team match with the boys going down 0-8. The 2nd team match was a much closer contest with the eventual outcome going to Michaelhouse 2-3.
With the weather set fair, we welcomed the players and parents of Westville, for a competitive day of cricket. The first team won the toss and batted first, a positive 50 from Gareth Schreuder was the bright light in our innings. In the end, we reached 185/9 in our 60 overs; which we felt was a sub-par score. With a modest total on the board, our team needed to start well. John Turner was his metronomic best with the ball and Westville were soon on the back foot at 30 for 4. With the introduction of our spin attack, Colby Dyer (3/14) and James Ritchie (3/15) combined for the final 6 wickets as Westville were rolled over for 52; a comprehensive 133 run victory for the 1st XI. The second team match was a tight affair as Kanya Dandala's 3/22 and Andrew Morrison's 2/12 saw Westville post 171. Although three Hilton batsmen got into the 20's, we could not get a significant partnership going as the team ended 19 runs short. Josh Chandler's 44 allowed the 3rd team to reach 126 in the 26th over of their 30 over match. This would come back to haunt them as Westville won the game with two wickets to spare, and 18 balls in hand. The 4th team came unstuck for the first time this season as they ended 19 runs short with two crucial run outs ending their chances. Both u16 fixtures were affected by an untimely lightning strike. It was a game that had all the hallmarks of a humdinger as the u16A team needed 33 to win with 15 overs left in the game and four wickets in hand. Well played to the team who once again showed a huge amount of fight. The u15A match was once again dominated by Nick Hatton, who's 105 not out in partnership with first Craig Yammin (61) and a belligerent Matt Boast, saw the team reach 272/3 in 60 overs. Westville never chased the target and at 70/3 in the 48th over, the game was called. The u15B and C matches did not go to script as both teams were bowled out for less than 100, not enough against a school of Westville's size. The u14A managed their match well. Jake Carstens' patient 53 allowed the team to set their opposition 210 to win. Impressive opening spells by Luthando Sigwebela and Olwethu Kweyama saw Westville lose wickets regularly eventually ending 157 runs short of the target. The u14B team fought in hostile territory at Westville. After Dylan Pratt's 65 put them in a strong position setting Westville 155 to win, a fired up Lucas McIntosh (3-12) and Cole McLaggan (3-21) bowled with controlled aggression to bowl Westville out for 96. The u14C game must have been the match of the day from a sheer entertainment point of view. Set 107 to win, the team ended 106 for 7. Well done to all who participated in a highly entertaining game. A successful weekend all-round for Hilton College Cricket Club, as we all look forward to the final challenge of the season.
(Thank you to Warren Kirsten for his contribution to this report)
It was unfortunate that Westville came to Hilton without their 1st team, but regardless of this, the day was set for a thrilling fixture as Westville are one of the strongest KZN polo schools. Despite some poor finishing, the u14A continued with their dominant form finishing as winners 10-1. Other top teams included the 3rd, 4th and u14B, all of whom completed big wins. The closest game of the day was the u15A. The u15A were chasing the score for much of the game with Westville winning most of the exchanges. A dominant final chukka by our boys, however, nearly saw us steal the victory with a few clear chances that went begging. In the end 4-4 score line was a fair reflection of the game.
Congratulations to the following boys on their selections:
Jean-Marc Rey, Sam Black, Joe Hill and Zavier Rey are all representing KZN Midlands at the Inter-Regional Tennis Tournament in Durban this coming weekend. This tournament is also the trials for the KZN tennis team.
TJ Joubert, Reece McEwan and Luke Tillim have been invited to attend the SA u16 waterpolo camp at the beginning of the holidays. The camp will serve as the final trials for the SA u16 team that will represent the country at the Pan-Pacific Games. We wish all of these boys the very best of luck.
Winter Sports News
With the winter sport season around the corner, I would like to remind parents of the fixture that we have arranged against Pretoria Boys High School on 10 and 11 May (as advertised in previous newsletters). This is a very exciting opportunity for our school as we plan to take every Hilton boy up to Pretoria for this event. In terms of arrangements, we hope to leave Hilton College at around 6:30am on Friday 10 May and depart Pretoria at around 14:00pm on Saturday 11 May after the last matches have been played. The whole school will be travelling by bus and boys will be hosted out on Friday night. We will be playing a range of sports against Pretoria Boys as well as engaging in some cultural activities.
Executive Director - Sport