View from the Dugout - Sports News 1 August 2018
Culture is a topic that I have frequently written about in my newsletters. As we all know, this hidden force legitimises and enforces behaviours which ultimately determines the long term success of any organisation. Every organisation has one and is continuously developing one – whether they like it or not. In fact organisational culture is so pervasive and so powerful it is widely accepted by experts as being the preeminent factor of success of any group. It is for this reason that good teams and good leaders pay so much attention to developing a positive culture. They understand that every action taken today will determine their culture and ultimately their success in the future (long term goals). It is for this reason that leaders should be uncompromising in their efforts to build that culture that will achieve their vision for the future.
Possibly the most difficult aspect to handle when building your team culture is setting and maintaining new standards, norms and values. The reason for this is that new ways of interacting and performing often may require short term losses for long term gains. An analogy is that of the golf swing. Sometimes professionals will re-construct their golf swing and sustain a short term dip in form/ability with the understanding that, as their new biomechanics become ingrained, they will perform at a much higher level than in the past – short term loss for long term gain. In organisational terms the same applies in that change (short term loss) is often contested by stakeholders who do not have a long term view of success (long term gain). Leaders who have the vision of a brighter future need to have the courage to institute and enforce new standards understanding that these principles are building a positive culture which will deliver the success they hope for in the future.
As a sports department we are committed to constantly seeking out, instituting and implementing those values that will enhance our culture and which will, ultimately, reap the educational success that we have envisioned in our future.
Our soccer club had a successful day at the office on Saturday. Following a below par performance the week before we were determined to do better – and this is exactly what we did winning the majority of the games played on the day (won 11, lost 6, drew 2). The 6th (6 – 0), U14C (5 – 1) and U14D (10 – 0) were our most successful teams, dominating all facets of play in their matches. Other teams that deserve mention are the U14A (2 – 0) and U16A (3 – 0). Both teams played much better soccer than in the previous week against Kearsney.
The key difference on this occasion was that they took their chances when the opportunities presented themselves (an important aspect in this game…just ask Germany!). The 2nd XI were incredibly unlucky to find themselves on the wrong end of the score sheet on Saturday. After absorbing the early pressure they played some excellent soccer to dominate most of the possession and territory for the remainder of the game. Unfortunately for us, St. Charles converted a rare chance to go a goal up with 5 minutes to play. No excuses, we failed to dispose of the ball when we had the chance and they made us pay. St. Charles then got a fortuitous goal right at the death to sink the 2nds 0 – 2. It was clear that the 1st XI were going to have to be at their best against a very strong St. Charles team. The early exchanges revealed the impressive attacking flair of the hosts and their abrasive approach on the ball meant our hands were going to be full. To our credit our boys raised their desire and, refusing to stand back, we gave as much as we got in the contact zones. This made for an enthralling encounter. As the game wore on both teams created good opportunities and it was eventually the White (actually we were All Blacks on Saturday) who got the breakthrough.
Simi Bhembe received a throw-in high on the right and his jinxing run past two opponents provided a tight angle for him to shoot at goal. He deftly floated his shot across the goal face and over the keepers head for us to take a 1 – 0 lead. This was an advantage we held right through to the half. The second half produced many more exciting chances for both teams. Eventually, in the last quarter of play, a defensive error gifted the ball to a St. Charles attacker in the box, who didn’t need to be asked twice and who expertly converted (1 – 1). In the end the game remained deadlocked, although either side could well have ended as outright winners. This was a highly entertaining match in which both sides gave it their all.
Costi Christodoulou’s tour to Mauritius with the SA U17 soccer team ended successfully. His team won their COSAFA Cup semi-final against Mauritius (2 – 0) last week Friday to qualify for the final against Angola. Unfortunately, they lost this match (0 – 2) but they can, nevertheless, hold their heads up high having claimed 2nd place overall for their country. Well done Costi.
Our Junior Blacks (U15A) competed in the Clifton 7s tournament on Friday 27 July. Having participated in a successful warm-up festival at home the week before, we were confident of making a big impression in Durban. In order to advance to the final we would have to finish at the top of our pool – as is the case in 7s, there was little room for error. The boys got off to a cracking start, sweeping aside Kloof (31 – 0) and then Northwood A (31 – 10). Our next match, the big game of our pool phase, was against Kearsney, who were playing good rugby. Our boys were in no mood to retreat and a clinical performance saw us win that encounter 25 – 0. Northwood B was our final pool match and another good win (29 – 14) saw us end top of the pool and set us up to contest for the trophy. Westville were our opponents in this match. Once again our opponents had no answers for our incredible defence. Ultimately, our ability to effectively snuff out every Westville attack created numerous opportunities and in the end we cruised home to finish as Cup winners 22 – 0. This victory was a significant one for the rugby club in that it is the first 7s tournament that we have won on South African soil (our only other Cup victory being our historic 1st VII win at the Rugby School 450th Celebration tournament held in the UK last year).
The Senior Blacks (1st VII) and our 2nd VII were also in action at the Clifton Senior 7s on Saturday. The 2nd VII, who were playing in the 1st division, got off to a good start by beating Durban Academy 1st 22 – 0. The team then gave a good account of themselves against another 1st team, Kloof, losing narrowly 10 – 17. A loss to Clifton (0 – 45) consigned them to play in the bowl semi-final. Once again our boys played very well, but in the end we narrowly lost out to the Barbarians 1st VII - losing 12 – 17. All-in-all, this was a good showing by the 2nd VII.
The 1st VII did well to get their tournament off to winning ways by beating Westville 19 – 10. This was an important win as we now had a realistic chance of finishing at the top of our pool and qualify for the Cup semi-finals. To our credit we remained humble and clinically went about our tasks in the remaining pool matches, beating Toti (48 – 0) and Durban North College (33 – 0). In the Cup semi-finals we squared off against old foes Michaelhouse. Here we proved too good for the Balgowan outfit and finished deserved winners 31 – 19. In the final against Kearsney a solid start gave us the upper hand and we went into the break as leaders. Much credit must be given to Kearsney, however, for not giving up and it took a late try, some 90 seconds after the final hooter for then to find a way past our defences and score the winning try. Although this was a heart breaking loss, we can be proud of yet another top 2 finish for our rugby club. Well done boys!
For the most part our tennis club has continued its winning ways in the KZN Inland league. Our 1st team, still missing some top players, were relieved to have pulled off a nail-biting win 23 – 21 against Michaelhouse 2nds. The 2nd team were our team of the week. Against all odds they completed an incredible 31 – 13 win against Maritzburg College 1st, and the 3rds did admirably against a strong Wembly outfit losing 12 – 32. Our junior team, U15A, rounded off the successful 2nd round by beating Michaelhouse 26 – 18.
The 1st water polo team, currently competing in the KZN winter league, completed two rounds of matches last week. In the first match on Saturday they did well to shed any holiday rustiness to beat Westville 8 – 3. On Tuesday we played Clifton, the top ranked side in the country. For most of the game we matched our opponents blow for blow, trailing narrowly (3 – 5) at the half way point and 4 – 6 at the end of the 3rd period. Clifton’s superior depth took its toll in the last quarter and they pulled away to win 5 – 11.
Executive Director - Sport