St George's Park History
Port Elizabeth, South Africa

The Matches St George's Park - EP beat Tvl to win Currie Cup for the first time
EP beat Tvl to win Currie Cup for the first time

By Neale Emslie

In a sensational 25 minutes late yesterday afternoon Eastern Province cleaned up the Transvaal second innings to eventually win the coveted Castle Currie Cup for the first time after a gripping five-day final at St George's Park.

Fighting for survival from the moment Eastern Province took command of the match at lunch on the first day, Clive Rice's defending champions were bundled out for 255 in their second innings to give the home side an emphatic victory by an innings and 103 runs.

Click image to enlarge
This is what's going to happen. St George's Park groundsman Johnny Bester imparts a few words of wisdom about the pitch to spectators during an interval in play.
It was a brilliant team effort by Kepler Wessels' men as they fought with every weapon at their disposal to dismiss the Vaal a second time.

And how the crowd savoured their success in those final electric moments when they ripped through the visitors' remaining batsmen to secure a famous victory.

The triumph was made all the more sweeter by the determination EP showed whenthings were going against them, although some members of the team grew visibly frustrated as Rice and his team-mates weathered everything that was thrown at them.

Click image to enlarge
Sprawled full-length on the pitch Eastern Province's Australian fast bowler Rod McCurdy hangs on to a magnificent full-blooded return catch from Transvaal opener Henry Fotheringham. A jubilant Dave Richardson runs to congratulate him.
With only 80 minutes left, Transvaal's hopes of denying the home side victory began to take on a touch of reality.

The score was 249 for six, and Rice and Ray Jennings had not put a foot wrong in their stand of 75.

But the Vaal wicketkeeper was dismissed at 4.07 in the 137th over of the innings, although he clearly felt he wasn't out, indicating to umpire Karl Liebenberg the ball had come off his pad.

However, the hopes of the local fans were instantly revived and both players and spectators went slightly delirious when Rice was caught bat-pad by Vlam Michau off Larry Hobson five minutes later.

When Clive Eksteen went lbw to Tim Shaw for nought in the next over, Transvaal's hopes of at least a share of the trophy had suddenly vanished.

Click image to enlarge
A disbelieving "Fothers" watches for the finger of the umpire as McCurdy appeals. Naturally, Richardson is still all smiles.
And the joy at St George's Park knew no bounds when Greg Thomas did what all good fast bowlers should do to tailend batsmen by pitching a fast one in the blockhole to shatter Neal Radford's stumps and end a marvellous game of cricket.

The EP attack did a magnificent job, leftarm spinner Shaw leading the way with incredible match figures 92-59-70-6.

Yesterday morning the competitive Rod McCurdy rattled Transvaal in his first spell, taking two for five in five overs.

His first victim was Roy Pienaar and it was a brilliant piece of cricket by Michau which gave EP their first breakthrough.

Click image to enlarge
After 11 1/2 hours at the St George's Park crease, a weary Philip Amm finally departs, stumped by Transvaal wicketkeeper Ray Jennings, after his monumental innings of 214.
Pienaar went on the drive but got a thick inside edge and the ball flew off the bat.

Tucked in at forward short leg, Michau stayed down and kept his eye on the ball to snap up the catch at his left hip.

His later effort to dismiss Rice was also sharply executed.

Thomas made the breakthrough after lunch, dismissing Brian McMillan with a vicious lifter, which looped off his bat and Shaw raced in from gully to to take the catch.

Hobson claimed the only wicket in the second innings but it will be indelibly printed in his scalp as that scalp was the crucial one of the Transvaal captain.

If Friday and Saturday were made memorable by the batting of Philip Amm, Kenny McEwan and Michau, yesterday belonged undoubtedly to Rice.

The Springbok all-rounder came to the crease at 4.12 on Sunday afternoon and showed immense courage and determination, defying the EP attack for just over five hours as he fought for a share of the trophy.

The cauldron that was St George's Park yesterday was no place for the timid and Rice's steel and mental strength was clearly evident after he was hit a fearsome blow in the groin by McCurdy.

The ball broke his protector and it was about six minutes before another could be found and Rice was ready to resume his innings.

The EP players became agitated at the delay but the Vaal skipper collected himself and survived a torrid onslaught by Thomas and McCurdy with the new ball.

In the end, the crowning glory for EP was the nomination of McEwan as man-of-the-match and Wessels as Currie Cup player of the series.

Eastern Province Herald.
March 15, 1989.

Website Researched by Ivor Markman
Webmaster Darryn van der Walt

Please Sign Our Guestbook

For replies, click on "Contact Us".

Copyright 2006 Ivor Markman / Darryn Van Der Walt / The Herald / Weekend Post / All contributors / . All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of site content, by any means including by electronic, printed, audio or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Ivor Markman. The contributors shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. The St George's Weathervane Dragon is copyright.