St George's Park History
Port Elizabeth, South Africa

The Matches St George's Park - 1967 - Great Victory for E P over North Eastern Transvaal
1967 - Great Victory for E P over North Eastern Transvaal
Geoff Summerton

A rampaging, undefeated 107 by Springbok Graeme Pollock - the greatest Currie Cup innings he has played in front of his home crowd - allowed Eastern Province to turn the tables in sensational fashion on North-Eastern Transvaal on the final day of the match on December 28, 1967.

Pollock was superb, even stupendous as he pulverised an attack which included South Africa's shrewdest trio of seam bowlers, Trevor Goddard, Syd Burke and Jackie Botten.

Batting against the clock for most of the time, with tremendous pressure bearing down on him, he tore releNatalessly into the attack to thrash 15 fours and a mighty six in his glorious century which took him only 91 minutes.

A measure of his devastation is the fact that 59 runs were taken off seven overs from the usually impeccable and always dangerous Trevor Goddard - and despite the fact that North-Easterns spread a wide defensive field from the start.

With Goddard blasted right out of the firing line, Pollock turned his eager attentions to the burly Trevor Roife who conceded 50 runs in his seven overs and Botten and Burke will be happy to remember that they were at the receiving end only in the later stages when the damage had been done and Pollock was coasting quietly along to his century.

"It depends on Pollock," they all said when Eastern Province, having dismissed North-Easterns for l67 in their second innings, began chasing a tantalising target of 190 in l65 minutes with the defensive-minded Jim Pressdee in charge of the fielding operations.

And when the young Springbok strode to the wicket at 25 for two, another l65 runs were needed in only 127 minutes. The crowd of 1,500 in the morning had swelled to an excited 4,000 as news spread like wildfire around the City that the match, appareNataly dead on its feet the previous evening, had erupted spectacularly.

What happened during the next 100 minutes takes some describing. It was as near to pandemonium as I think one can get at a cricket ground in South Africa when Pollock punched Burke square for his first boundary, and he greeted the first two balls bowled to him by Goddard at the other end with his inimitable cover drives which throbbed across the turf towards the hundreds of cheering little boys ready to do the fielding.

The young maestro was on his way and it was almost pitiful to see a bowler of Goddard's calibre delivering two wides in his desperate attempts to keep the ball as far away as possible from the batting cavalier at the other end.

Roife and Burke, for their part, bowled wide down the leg-side but Pollock was after them all the time. Goddard came on with the score at 45 for two and 19 overs later, when he was taken off, the score was 143 for three . . . seven runs an over!

With excellent support from Anthony Biggs (44), the 50 partnership was scored in 29 minutes and the 100 stand occupied only an hour. Pollock reached his 50 in 48 minutes and his century in 91 minutes.

Here is a table of the batting requirements from the moment Pollock came in; l65 required in 127 minutes; 117 required in 100 minutes; 101 required in 90 minutes; 88 required in 80 minutes; 65 required in 64 minutes and, believe it or not, only 15 required in 45 minutes.

This is the remarkable transformation brought by Pollock and when he hammered Roife through the covers for his 15th four, Eastern Province had cantered home with 30 minutes to spare.

Whoever it was who wrote, "Cometh the hour, cometh the man", obviously did not have Graeme Pollock in mind, but it was certainly tailor made for the occasion yesterday as he exploded into life, making North-Easterns pay dearly for dismissing him for a duck first ball on Wednesday.

He may have played bigger and better innings but I doubt whether he has won a match so convincingly and all but on his own.

Biggs, with his commendable 44, and wicket-keeper Ronnie Coiling, with eight catches in the match will be only too willing to stand aside and let Pollock take his bow.

Not only did he make runs, but he also engineered the vital breakthrough just after lunch when North-Eastern Transvaal continued their second innings at ll6 for six.

At this stage, there was only a glimmer of hope for Eastern Province and it was imperative that Pressdee and Denis Lindsay, the men at the crease, be parted at the earliest opportunity.

Van der Merwe's active mind had obviously ticked over during the interval and, reasoning that Pressdee and Lindsay would not do anything rash in the way of run-making, he brought on Pollock to bowl leg-spinners.

Almost immediately Pollock had Lindsay caught behind and then clean bowled Botten - two wickets for four runs in four overs.

The task would have been a lot easier for Eastern Province but for two unfortunate dropped catches off his bowling.

Soon afterwards, Pollock fielded splendidly to his own bowling and returned quickly to the other end, where Coiling could not pick up the low throw to run out Burke.

It seemed as if Eastern Province were losing their grip but Pollock was not to be denied. When Pressdee cut the ball to point, he ran from first slip, flicked the ball back to Coiling and Burke was run out at the second attempt.

The new ball was now due and Peter Pollock returned to the attack to have Roife leg-before and North-Eastern's were all out for l67.

So it was Graeme Pollock's day - or at least his afternoon - with a magnificent century, two vital wickets and a run out.

Eastern Province won outright by six wickets with 30 minutes to spare.

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