St George's Park History
Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Urban Legends St George's Park - Military Respect
Military Respect

It is safe to assume that cricket was played by many of the British soldiers who spent time in Graaff-Reinet during the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902.

In The Graaff-Reinet Advertiser of Monday, 23 December 1957 a certain Mr G. le C.Watermeyer relates a story told to him by Daantjie Joubert, tobacconist and bookmaker who occupied premises at the top end of Church Street for many years.

In a match played by a team selected from the Coldstream Guards, who were stationed in Graaff-Reinet during the Anglo-Boer War, and a Town XI, a private from the Coldstream Guards was the umpire at one end.

The batsman facing the bowling was a captain from the same regiment. The bowler appealed for a catch behind the wicket against the captain batsman. ‘Out,’ said the private umpire and began to raise his arm to give the batsman out.

The captain glared at the umpire and called out: ‘What’s that you said?’

‘Not out, Sir’ was the prompt reply as the private instinctively changed his arm movement to a salute and jumped to attention.

The captain continued his innings. Shades of W.G.Grace!

Cricket was thus a well-established sport in Graaff-Reinet and the surrounding area by the time the Union High School was founded in the 1920s.

A local league had been in existence for a number of years and the clubs competed for the Welchman Shield, which as early as 1904 had been donated to the cricket competition by a local medical practitioner, Dr W.H.L.Welchman.

Matches were usually played over two Wednesday afternoons, starting at 2.15 p.m. Games in town were played at the Oval, but in the late 1920s the Union High School field was also used for league matches.

The standard of play appears to have been commendably high and, from results published in the Advertiser at that time, it seems as if the batsmen generally dominated the bowlers.

An important indication of the popularity of the game of cricket in Graaff-Reinet and the adjacent areas was the space cricket reports enjoyed in The Graaff-Reinet Advertiser in the 1920s.

A History of Cricket at Union High School

Munnik & Prozesky
Creda Communications
Union High School
PO Box 190,
Graaff-Reinet 6280
South Africa

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