View from the Dugout - Sports News 19 October 2018
The rate of development in sports is an interesting thing…
As we know, some athletes develop really quickly. Ahead of the curve, they start their sports careers as stars and they are given much time and attention as people (parents/coaches/supporters) push them to become the next big thing. Some of them do go on to higher honours i.e. Tiger Woods and Andre Agassi but most drop away unable to cope with the pressure, the demands and the sacrifices in order to keep up. On the other end of the spectrum are those athletes who develop at a much slower rate. They start out in the lower teams but, gradually, as they mature they come into their own. Gary Teichmann is one of our home-grown stars who started his career this way. Beginning in the lesser echelons of the Hilton College rugby club, the mighty U14Ds, he worked his way up the ranks as he grew until, as you know, he finished Hilton College as our 1st team captain, a provincial player and, ultimately, in his adult years, to become one of the best Springbok captains of all time.
Recent studies suggest that more late bloomers are making it over the young prodigies and it would seem that these athletes have greater longevity to their careers. Perhaps this is because these sportsmen, who were not the best of the bunch initially, played their chosen sport for the love of the game and not merely because they were good at it. They succeeded because they wanted to and not because others wanted them to - and they did it because success didn’t come easily at first – they had to grit it out. There is also something to say for the life principle of gaining your experiences at the right time of your maturation. Invariably, when one is given special experiences too early, the awe and thrill is all but entirely lost over time and motivation dies – it’s a “been there, done that” paradigm often seen in schoolboy sport today.
It would seem to me that all schools should be adopting a more measured approach to developing our sportsmen - regardless of how talented they may be. Promoting players too early carries way more risk of drop out, burn out or form out (loss of form), than if players are made to bide their time, slowly maturing their skills and gaining their experiences.
Another local example of this concept is David Miller, the current Proteas batsman who was educated at Maritzburg College. Despite David’s extreme talent shown from a young age, he was only promoted to the 1st XI later in his school career. By keeping him “back” he was afforded the opportunity to learn the skill of batting for long periods and to convert good starts into big innings – something he would not have been able to do had he played in the lower order in the 1st team. Most importantly, he was taught that all good things will happen in time and that any worthwhile achievement was worth being patient for. (As some sports rely on substitute players, this may not mean keeping players from being in a 1st team but it will mean acclimatizing these players to the opportunity and teaching them patience.) Ultimately, as the saying goes, in life (and in sport) good things come to those who wait but better things come to those who are patient.
Hilton College and St. Annes co-hosted another successful Doubles Tournament during the Michaelmas holidays. Although the weather was not conducive to playing all 3 days of the event, we managed to play a significant amount of tennis when the weather allowed. 16 schools (8 Boy’s and 8 Girl’s) participated in the tournament, which included a number of the top tennis schools from around the country. On the first day we lost to Westville 3-0 in matches and, due to the impact of the weather, this became the knock-out stage. We then played off in the bottom half of the draw, the plate section, which included MHS, Helpmekaar and St Albans. In the plate semi-final, we played Helpmekaar and did well to beat them 2 matches to 1 to qualify for the plate final (the 5th and 6th place play-off). In this match, we drew our old rivals Michaelhouse. Our boys pulled out all the stops in this final game to win 2-1 and end in respectable 5th place out of the 8 schools in attendance. St Stithians won the boys section and Helpmekaar won the girls section.
The Hilton College Tennis Club played their annual championship finals on Thursday this week. Sam Black and Robbie McGaw were a formidable team, beating Jean-Marc Rey and John Harel in the doubles (7-5 and 6-1). Sam Black also won the singles title against Robbie McGaw (8-4). All-in-all some very good tennis was played!
Thanks to James Webb for his contribution to this report.
Although inclement weather put pay to some of our matches against Maritzburg College, we were fortunate that the majority of our teams were able to play in our opponent's first-class indoor facility. Overall, Maritzburg College did win most of the matches played but the stats also show how much our basketball has improved with the point’s difference between our schools continuing to narrow.
Our U14A team got proceedings underway with the first match of the day. They were put under immediate pressure by aggressive College play and our opponents soon raced to a 20 point advantage. At halftime, it seemed as though our boys were just not in it. To our credit, the reverse was true in the second half. Clawing our way back, we outscored “College” in this period but, unfortunately, the deficit was just too much to chase. In the end, we lost 14 – 31. It is clear that these boys are continuing to improve as each game goes by. Our team of the day was definitely our U15A team. Although faced by a very resolute Maritzburg College team, who beat us convincingly in the first term (18-34), our boys seemed in no mood to allow that again. The match was very evenly contested with the lead swapping hands on numerous occasions. As the time ran down the game increased in fervour with fast breaks, layups and accurate three-pointers being converted. In a nail-biting finish, our boys transferred all the pressure onto Maritzburg College, with our steely defense and counter-attacks proving too effective for our opponents. In the end, we triumphed 26-21.
Another outstanding team on the day was the U16B team who lost by the narrowest of margins (18 – 19). Facing a significant deficit at the half, the boys chipped away at the Maritzburg College scoreline in the second stanza, gaining confidence all the while. In the end, our boys dominated every facet of play but were just not able to score the decisive basket to claim the win.
Our 1st team has had excellent results against Maritzburg College over the last while so this match against this traditional powerhouse was tipped to be a close one. The game certainly started at a fast tempo and the packed crowd added to the electric atmosphere. Although we created numerous chances it was Maritzburg College who were more accurate throughout the opening quarters. Trailing by 17-23 at half-time it was still anyone’s game. The match continued on a knife-edge throughout the 3rd quarter with neither team giving an inch – although we did narrow the deficit to only trail by 5 points at this stage. In the end, it all came down to the last quarter and, unfortunately, it was in this period that the game slowly started slipping away. The innumerable fouls awarded against us during this period not only cost us points but broke our momentum. College steadily pulled away to win 61 – 41 but in the end, the game will be remembered for the high-quality match that it was.
Thanks to Celo Mbanjwa for his contribution to this report.
Hilton College Water Polo Club competed in the KZN Top 10 Championships in Durban over the weekend. The 1st team progressed well through the early stages beating Maritzburg College (12 - 1), Michaelhouse (9 – 1) and Reddam (15 – 0) convincingly. Their final pool match they were drawn against Glenwood in an all-important clash to decide who would end top of the pool and immediately qualify for the semi-finals. Unfortunately, Glenwood proved to be too strong on the day winning 5 – 2 and relegating us to a cross-pool quarterfinal match. In this hard fought and exciting match, our boys succumbed to a strong Westville team (5 – 3) which meant that the highest place that we could achieve was 5th. Despite the disappointment of not qualifying for the semi-final, we are proud that the team had the fortitude to regroup and complete a convincing win against a competent Kearsney team (6 – 2) to finish in 5th place overall. The U15A team went unbeaten in their pool defeating Northwood (9 – 2), Michaelhouse (10 – 2), Kearsney (9 – 4) and Maritzburg College (6 – 2). As a result of these victories, they managed to take the top spot and earn themselves an automatic semi-final berth. In this match, the boys played a nail-biting semi-final against a resilient Maritzburg College. Relinquishing our early lead, the game ended regulation time with the scores level at 3 goals apiece. Unfortunately, the ensuing penalty shootout did not go our way and we lost out on qualifying for the final. The team showed great character to pick themselves up for the 3rd/4th playoff against a feisty Northwood team. We won this game 4-3 to finish in 3rd place overall.
The U14A team put in numerous strong performances in the pool stage to remain unbeaten and finish top of their pool. During this stage of the tournament, the team beat Westville (7 – 2), Kearsney (13 – 2) and Northwood (21 – 0). In the semi-final, our boys put together a composite performance against Westville (11 – 1) to earn their spot in the final. In an incredibly exciting final, we took the early initiative to build a 2 – 1 lead at the halfway stage. Clifton, however, had the better of the second half and in the end, we were left ruing our missed chances as the Durbanites completed a 3 – 2 victory. Whilst devastated by the loss, we are proud of the U14A team for what was a very successful tournament.
In the overall standings, the Hilton College Water Polo Club were unable to retain the KZN Schools Top 10 Trophy but did exceptionally well to finish in 2nd place behind Clifton.
Following the tournament, the KZN Water Polo teams were announced. A number of our players were selected for these teams to compete at the Inter-Provincial Tournament in December (East London).
Congratulations to the following boys:
- Tanner Bailey
- Oliver Lello
- Colby Skirving
- Ryan Sooku
- Christo Van Loggerenberg
- Ryan Basson (Non-travelling reserve) Cameron Gray (Non-travelling reserve)
- Jonty Alexander
- Bradley Henderson
- Kelvin Robertson
- James Te Riele
- Thomas Joubert
- Reece MacEwan
- James Presbury
- Luke Tillim
- Akil Ramcharrun (Non-travelling reserve)
- Murray Schnell
- Jamie Allan (Non-travelling reserve)
- Tim Mundell (Non-travelling reserve)
The final KZN Inland trials were held last Sunday. Congratulations to the following boys who have been selected for the KZN Inland Cricket teams:
KZN Inland U19
- Robbie McGaw
- James Ritchie
- Michael Sclanders
- Gareth Schreuder
- Wezo Gqiba
KZN Inland U17
- Michael Booth
- Colby Dyer
- Michael Frost
- John Turner (Non-travelling reserve)
- Chris Meyer (Non-travelling reserve)
KZN Inland U15
- Christopher Pistorius
- Mathew Boast
- Nick Hatton
- Dylan Thomson (Non-travelling reserve)
Executive Director - Sport