Middlesex county cricket club, the team Vince van der Bijl (MCC Masi 750 project manager) played for in 1980 (the year they won both the Gillette Cup and County Championship) recently agreed to spend a morning in Masiphumelele coaching the Ukhanyo cricket players. Middlesex is closely linked to the MCC, as Lords, owned by the MCC, is leased to Middlesex as their home ground.
Vince gave us the following update:
It was a special day, with the full 30 man Middlesex Squad, who were in Cape Town on a pre-season training week ahead of the English Season, wanting to feel the essence of a township as well as support the MCC Masi 750 Sports club initiative. They found the township both depressing in its poverty and lack of facilities, but uplifting in meeting the Ukhanyo kids with the fresh approach, lively eyes, keenness to learn and have fun.
Simply, the cricket morning was a blast for the kids and the Middlesex squad.
Sam Robson the captain and coaches, Richard Scott, Richard Johnson and David Houghton (ex-captain of Zimbabwe) were amazed at the standard of cricket at the school in only 5 months of playing. The kids played with gusto and gave it their all. Specialist coaching throughout and two six a side matches played ensured that each young cricketer received personal attention.
The coaching session also helped the under 13 team to prepare for the legends 6 a side competition that was held at Green Point the following weekend – 70 teams participated. Ryan Christion sponsored the Unkhanyo team, who played extremely well. Ex cricketers Nanti Hayward and Aubrey Martin were too very impressed at the standard of Ukhanyo cricket. A real feather in the caps of our coaches, Teddy, Nceba, Jade, Sergio, David, Peter, Vuva, and Zuki.
The day was put together in conjunction with Middlesex organizer, Edward Griffiths, the man who coined the phrase “One Team, One Country” for the successful Springbok World Cup team of 1995. He has been the CEO of Sacracens Rugby Club in the UK and helped put the preseason tour to SA together. We are grateful for his organizing as well as the open engagement and approach of the whole Middlesex squad – they enveloped Masi and Ukhanyo.