Individuals making the difference

HOW encouraging it is to hear sports development is happening in our area, even if it is on micro, informal levels.

It is thanks to the ideas, passion and follow-through of individuals that things like what is taking place at Nomzamo Secondary School get done.

The township school has introduced cricket as a school sport for the first time, and though the resources are few and the equipment battered and makeshift, pupils are showing interest.

In our reporter’s conversation with the coach and interviews with a few of the youngsters, they already indicated how much they love the sport and have dreams of one day playing for the Proteas.

This is an opportunity that might never have come but for the idea that sparked after new teacher Gareth Mitchell was visited by a friend, who is going to play club cricket in Holland.

They rustled up a couple of old bats, a ball and makeshift wickets and started cricket practice this week. Eighteen youngsters showed up, and girls are allowed to be on the team too.

They approached a couple of local sports shops who have undertaken to provide discounts on any equipment purchased, but they are still in need of any financial assistance they can get.

We hope this project succeeds and has longevity through other people catching the dream, even after Mitchell is no longer around. It reminds us of the start of the Tiger Titans in Bathurst about nine years ago, when farmer’s son and St Andrew’s College pupil Ross McCreath noticed how the youth of the township in Bathurst, Nolukhanyo, had nothing to do during the school holidays.

Thanks to his initiative, the enthusiastic support of his mother Ann, and the help of a man who would become his assistant coach and later manager of the team, Gladman Xali, they spread word to the Nolukhayo youth and about a dozen showed up for the first day they started to practice on a long-abandoned pitch across the road from the township.

From this grew the Tiger Titans, which ended up with enough players for a first and second team and received much appreciated second-hand equipment from St Andrew’s College over the years. They played schools and in the Grahamstown Cricket Board rural league, and even won a valuable sponsorship through the Jack Cheetham Memorial Award.

The Titans are still going and participate in the rural league and Pineapple Cricket.

Who knows, perhaps the next Kagiso Rabada or Lungi Ngidi will come from Nemato. What a joy that would be for our town.

– Jon Houzet

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