St George's Park History
Port Elizabeth, South Africa
St George's Park - Eastern Province Trials on Merit to be Sought
Eastern Province Trials on Merit to be Sought
The Eastern Province Cricket Association will be asked at their annual meeting on Sunday to endeavour to arrange with the Eastern Province Cricket Union (Whites) the holding of interracial or multi-racial trials, with a view to selecting all Eastern Province teams on merit.
The motion will come from the EPCA champions, Hamiediahs, who at their annnual meeting unanimously decided that they fully support multiracial cricket, not only at club, provincial and national level but also in the junior and schools leagues.
The meeting felt that the Association must no longer sit back, but do something positive to bring back international cricket to every South African, White or non-White.
Hamiediahs’ move has sparked off some interesting comments by well-known cricket personalities in the Eastern Province.
Of those interviewed, practically everyone felt that South African cricket will not come out of isolation by the South African Cricket Association merely by telling overseas cricket organisations "that the players and officials of this country do not support the Government’s sports policy."
The consensus of opinion was that the only way out, was for the South African Cricket Association and its provinces to show their sincerity by the actual staging of multiracial matches at all levels.
As one folower of the game put it - "If Dilip Gokal can play for Rhodesia Schools against Eastern Province at hockey in Port Elizabeth, then surely the Government will not prevent promising schoolboys like Imraan Hendricks and Khaya Majola from playing for Eastern Province Schools in the Nuffield cricket week, where Rhodesia also takes part."
"We do not want to be invited into provincial and South African teams," said another, "all we want is to be given a fair opportunity to develope towards provincial and national standard."
Mr Abie Forbes, president of Lilywhite Cricket Club, Uitenhage, said: "The only way out is for all senior teams to play in one and the same league competition. In this way all our cricketers will be given a fair opportunity to improve their game. Multiracial trials must then be held to elect the Eastern Province side."
Mr Karriem Boltman, a former Eastern Province cricketer said: "Many matches were played in the past against White sides. Therefore I see nothing wrong in multiracial cricket. It can only help South Africa on the road back from isolation."
Mr Hassan Howa, president of the South African Cricket Board of Control, said: "As a cricketer I share the bitter disappointment the Springboks must be feeling. They are suffering for the sins of others who have no connection with the game.
"Sout Africa’s only hope of ending its international cricket isolation is for White and non-White officials to ‘get together’ in an effort to run the sport on multiracial lines.
"We are both in the same boat now. My body chose isolation because we were not prepared to send non-White sides overseas - what we want is selection on merit regardless of colour.
"Now the Springboks have been isolated so we are both back to square one The only way we can fight our way out of this is for both sides to work together."
Mr Abdul Bhamjee, Transvaal cricketer and captain of the College Cricket Club, which made an appliation to join the Transvaal Premier League, said: "It is quite clear now that the only teams acceptable to other nations are those selected from all sections of the population on merit.
"Unless this is done, the prospects of this country getting back into international sport are very, very dim. We should start to come to grips with this problem now, by forgetting petty apartheid in sport."
"Not only must the White cricket union open their doors to us, but they must also apply pressure on the City Council to improve our sports facilities," said a prominent member of last year’s Eastern Province cricket team.
"Three years ago we were promised a turf wicket at Gelvandale.
Our new season begins in less than a month’s time. There are still no signs of a turf wicket anywhere in Port Elizabeth and we wonder what will be the excuse this time?"
A request was made to the Sports Co-Ordinating Committee in December, 1969, for four practice wickets to be built at Gelvandale. Now, nearly two years later, the position remains the same.
Hundreds of cricketers from different clubs have to share the same matting wicket used for weekend league games for practice purposes on weekdays.
Eastern Province Herald
September 15, 1971.