A wily left arm spin bowler and off-the-field humorist, Atholl took 278 wickets in Currie Cup matches alone. He represented South Africa on tours to England in 1960 and 1965, being the only member of this team to be on the previous tour; and, at home, played against New Zealand in 1961/2, England in 1964/5 and Australia in 1966/7, succeeding the late Tufty Mann as South Africa’s spinner. He claimed four vital wickets, including those of Boycott and Cowdrey, in the all-important Trent Bridge test. He had a marathon spell at the Wanderers in the high scoring England test (1964) of 7/172 in 86 overs with 30 maidens.
Atholl, the character, was the heart and soul of many teams. The Trent Bridge test victory party was no exception, which included the Springboks venturing onto the pitch in their underpants and performing the famous “jukskei” march, with “Field-Marshall” McKinnon in charge!
While playing his other love, Rugby, he became known as “The Boot” because of his phenomenal long-range conversions and in 1959 he became a dual Provincial “cap”.
Atholl was not only a great cricketer, but one of the great characters of the game.
SOUTH AFRICA’S CRICKETER OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
Graeme’s first match for Grey Junior was as a 9 year old in the U11 team. He traveled to Graaff-Reinet to play Union High, thrashed a century in a devastating innings, at one stage hitting 111 out of a team total of 120, and softening the blow for his opponents by going to fetch the ball himself in an adjoining cemetery when six after six from his bat cleared the boundary.
He won his 1st XI cap at the age of 13, ironically as a leg spinner, and took 6 for 5 against St Aidan’s. At this stage, elder brother Peter was opening the batting. At 15, Graeme won his first SA Schools cap, also hitting 2 centuries in the Mens’ 1st League, as well as 3 against schoolboy opponents. Graeme walked out of the examination room in 1960 into an Eastern Province Currie Cup team to announce his arrival with a sizzling half-century. He became the youngest scorer of a century in South African first class cricket, at 16, and the youngest double century scorer at 19.
Graeme used to entertain many a Port Elizabeth cricket lover on a Saturday afternoon playing club cricket for Old Grey. Cars used to park all the way around the field and in many areas two, three or four deep. This prompted Dave Butlion (a prolific striker of the ball, who once hit 6 sixes in an over in club cricket), who batted at five and often had to go in after Pollock to say: “ I would walk to the crease with cars hooting to acknowledge another great Pollock innings, as I took guard the engines would start up and, by the time I scored my first run, the ground was once again empty.”
1963/1964 AUSTRALIA – PARTNERSHIP WITH BARLOW
Graeme was 19 years of age when he destroyed the Aussie attack at Adelaide scoring 175, when he and Eddie Barlow added 341 for the third wicket in 283 minutes – a record South African partnership.
Charles Fortune, one of the world’s best known cricket commentators, was broadcasting the game. Some of his comments included:
“Graeme has just torn the Australian spin attack of Simpson and Benaud to shreds and tatters.”
“Former Australian captain, Victor Richardson, was in the commentary box. I looked towards him, cocked an eyebrow as my way of saying ‘ Your turn’, and then came the great Australian’s words: ‘Charles you keep it. Let me just watch him. I’m too full of joy to talk.’”
1965 TRENT BRIDGE
With half the Springboks out for 80, England was riding the crest of the victory wave. It was then that Graeme turned in the finest display of batting Trent Bridge had seen for many years. Thirty-four not out at lunch, and with van der Merwe at the other end proving the ideal foil, the young batsman gave a magnificent exhibition of stroke play to increase his score by 91 runs (to 128) in 71 minutes.
This test became known as the Pollock test with Peter claiming 10 English wickets (5 in each innings). The victory at Trent Bridge led South Africa to a 1-0 win in the series and to register SA’s first series win on English soil. There was a third Old Grey in the SA team in left arm spinner Atholl McKinnon who claimed the vital scalps of Boycott and Cowdrey.
Denis Compton watching Graeme at Trent Bridge: “I’ve seen them all. Don Bradman, Walter Hammond, Stan McCabe, but I don’t believe I have seen a better innings.”
1966/1967 209 vs Bobby Simpson’s Australians
Graeme struck 209 scintillating runs out of a Springbok total of 353, in front of 19000 delirious Newlands supporters. From the back and front foot he crashed ball after ball to the offside boundary with such velocity that the ball would bounce yards back into the field of play after striking the boundary fence. At one stage it seemed that Simpson had the whole Australian team, except wicket keeper and bowler, fielding in the covers and yet he still found the gaps.
1970 274 vs Bill Lawry’s Australians in Durban
Graeme Pollock: ”The session which possibly gave me the greatest pleasure was the first hour’s batting after lunch on the first day of the Durban Test. Barry Richards was not out 96 and I had just come in. I think stats show that we added 102 in that hour after lunch, with both of us getting about 50 runs each. The sheer magic of Barry at the other end made it the most pleasurable batting imaginable. The 274 broke the South African record, but it was also a sad occasion for me, because my Dad (“Mac” Pollock, also an OG, who kept wicket for the Free State) had passed away some weeks earlier and he’d kept hammering at me that if I wanted to be a good cricketer I had to get big scores consistently; it was no good getting a hundred and getting out.”
REBEL ERA 1983 to 1987
Graeme continued, in the time of isolation to play a further 17 unofficial tests against English, Sri Lankan, West Indian (2 series) and Australian (2 series) “rebel” teams. His final game for South Africa was at St George’s Park where he played so many of his memorable innings, and his final knock was no exception. The opponents on this final occasion was the Australian Rebel XI led by Kim Hughes with a bowling attack consisting of Hogg, Alderman, McCurdy and Hohns. Graeme said farewell to a capacity St George’s Park crowd with a brilliant 144.
A strapping six-foot-two-inch fair-haired fast bowler, good fielder and more than useful tailend batsman, Peter played his initial first-class game at 17, after having played SA Schools at 16 and, at age 20, took 3 for 61 and 6 for 38 in his first test against New Zealand in Durban. Genuinely fast with a good high action after a long straight approach, he had mean bounce and a good away swinger. He continued to be successful throughout his test career, taking 40 wickets in 8 tests on one tour of Australasia in 1963/4. In the England tour in 1965 he took 20 wickets in the three tests. In 1969/70, he and Mike Procter formed a fearsome new ball attack against Bill Lawry’s Australians, where he took 4 for 20 in the first test and 5 for 39 in the third as he and Procter took 41 of the 80 Australian wickets to fall in a 4 – 0 white wash.
He showed his character when, in a losing cause against Australia at Cape Town in 1966/7, he scored 41 and 75*, going in at number 10. In the first innings he shared a ninth wicket stand with his brother against Australia, putting on 85.
Photo: Peter Pollock claiming his 100th test wicket in his 22nd test match in the fifth test in Port Elizabeth (1996/7)
Gavin Cowley (1971)
Gavin captained Eastern Province and his School teams at both rugby and cricket.
Most of his schoolboy career was spent at centre, where he and Neil Ward became the best centre pair Grey had known for several generations. In the senior ranks he played most of his rugby in his preferred flyhalf position.
As a cricketer, who bowled and batted the “wrong way round” as they say, he and Ward set a first league adult partnership record of more than 300, Gavin hitting a record 170 and Neil 134.
Considered by many to be one of the unluckiest rugby players not to wear the green and gold, he was selected to the Springbok squad for the third and fourth test matches in the 1974 British Lions series at the age of 20 and again for the 1976 series against the All Blacks, but sat on the bench, never running onto the field to earn what would have been a well deserved cap. Despite his flair for distribution of the ball, speed through a gap and a mature ability to adjust himself to the state of the game, the supreme honour was not accorded him.
He played in several Junior Springbok, SA Invitation and Quagga/Barbarian matches against International opposition. Probably the most well-remembered game was when Gavin played at centre with Peter Kirsten as his flyhalf in the Quaggas/British Lions game in 1974. The referee, who was heavily criticized (particularly by the partisan Ellis Park crowd) disallowed a Cowley try which ultimately cost the home team the game 20 – 16. Gavin also played in the Quagga/ Barbarians 32 – 31 loss to the 1976 All Blacks at the old Ellis Park, which Gavin rates as his best game ever.
One of the highlights of his career was playing for a World XV against Cardiff in Wales as part of the club’s centenary celebrations.
Gavin played in many famous games, including the “Battle of the Boet Erasmus” free-for-all – in the Lions match against Eastern Province in 1974. It was Gavin’s third appearance for Eastern Province as a 20-year-old. As the forwards started a free for all, the legendary Lions’ fly half, Phil Bennett, trotted across to Gavin, flung his arm around Gavin’s shoulder and said: “Never mind, lad, we’re quite safe where we’re standing now!”
Gavin also excelled on the cricket field. One of his finest performances was achieved in 1976, when EP beat Western Province in the Gillette Cup Final at the Wanderers, with Gavin winning the bowling prize for his figures of 6 for 32. The Eastern Province team was a very strong one in this era (Bezuidenhout, Wilkins, McEwan, Pollock G, Wilmot, Bestall, Cowley, Brickett, Edmonds, Schmidt and Watson )
Gavin must be rated as one of Grey High School’s greatest allround sportsmen.
Member of the South African Cricket Association Board from 1969 to 1977
1977 to 1989: Member of the newly formed South African Cricket Union, which was the introduction of normal cricket
1984: Acting President of South African Cricket Union
1985 to 1989 President of South African Cricket Union.
Joe Pamensky’s era of service to South African Cricket coincided directly with apartheid-induced isolation of cricket in South Africa. Joe Pamensky and his fellow SA delegates had to endure many visits to ICC meetings where they were denied the opportunity to address the ICC members.
During the Pamensky era, Joe played a major role in the normalization of society by taking cricket coaching programs to the black South Africans. He predicted in the late 1980’s that many of the future cricketing stars of our country would come from the “townships” and how right he was.
Another challenge during this time was keeping the interest of the nation in cricket and its national heroes which was important to the continued existence of the game. With this in mind, the Rebel Era began with tours from English, Sri Lankan, West Indian and Australian teams between 1983 and 1990.
On Joe Pamensky’s retirement from the SACU board he handed over to fellow Old Grey, Geoff Dakin.
After representing the Eastern Province U21 team, Michael decided in 1983 to leave Eastern Province and seek greener pastures playing club rugby for Bath in the English National Premier league.
Michael soon made his mark at Bath and ended up playing 220 games over a 12 year period before moving to London Irish. His talents were soon recognized by the English selectors and he gained selection to the England U21 team. He then moved up the ranks in English rugby to be capped 65 times for the National team. He was part of a squad that was built by Clive Woodward (Coach) and Martin Johnson (Captain) that took England to winning Grand Slams and finally the ultimate prize, the World Cup in 2003 in Australia. He was awarded an MBE in 2003 for his part in that success. He also played for the British and Irish Lions in 2001. He was also a member of the 2007 England team that was beaten by the Springboks at Stadé de France in the 2007 World Cup.
Widely regarded as one of the best strategists in the game. Mike has the ability, whether at fly half or inside centre, to influence the outcome of a game quickly and dramatically.
“Isolation” Hockey Springboks
David Reid-Ross was Grey High’s first hockey Springbok, first capped in 1977. His career spanned from 1977 to 1987 where he was capped 20 times and played 5 Indoor internationals. He was widely regarded as the best goalkeeper in the world during this time, but, unfortunately, apartheid prevented him from showing his skills on the world stage. He and other South Africans did have the opportunity to taste some international hockey on the two SAINTS (which was the national side) tours. Dave was joined by Russell Fensham on the 1980 tour and brother, Lindsay, Wayne Graham (debut) and coach Brian Hibbert on the 1985 tour. Dan Thysse, who was South Africa’s top umpire during this period, accompanied the Saints team on both of these tours. The standard of South African hockey during this time is reflected in the excellent results of these teams. The 1980 team won two tests each against France and Austria, achieved a wonderful 4 – 1 win over a full strength German team and lost only to Belgium. The 1985 team won all their tests against Belgium and Spain.
The Reid-Ross brothers (Dave and Lindsay) and the Fensham brothers (Russell, Wayne and Craig) played a major role in the rise of Grey hockey in the 1970’s, leading to our being rated as one of the top hockey schools in the country, where we have remained ever since. Lindsay also had the honour of captaining the South African Indoor team in a series against Ireland. Both Lindsay and Dave played first-class cricket.
The Fensham brothers also excelled at both cricket and hockey. All three brothers had the distinction of captaining the 1st XI Cricket team. Both Russell and Wayne (rated by many as South Africa’s best left wing of all time) represented South Africa on the hockey field on many occasions. Russell also played first-class cricket for Eastern Province for many seasons; Wayne played SA Schools cricket, while Craig was the backbone of many Eastern Province hockey teams. Craig Timothy was another stalwart who played several times for South Africa during this era.
South Africa’s re-entry into International hockey
Wayne Graham, an Oxford Blue who made his debut for South Africa in 1985, had the honour at Atlanta in 1996 of leading South African hockey into the Olympic Games for the first time in Atlanta in 1996. He had previously played with Kevin Chree and Shane Schonegevel (a staff member) in the 1994 World Cup in Sydney, Australia.
Kevin Chree, a double SA Schools (Cricket and Hockey) player, is Grey High’s most capped International, 185, having participated in two Commonwealth Games, two World Cups and also in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.
The 2000’s have seen the emergence of Christopher Hibbert (83 caps), son of past 1st team Coach and former Deputy Headmaster, Brian Hibbert, Clyde Abrahams (106 caps) and Ian Symons (61 caps), son of 1st team Coach and Director of Academics George Symons as regulars in the Green and Gold. Christopher and Clyde played in the 2002 World Cup and Christopher and Ian in the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Guy Hartley, Sean Cooke (100 caps) (Grade 10 year at Grey High) and Paul Blake (2 caps) have also represented South Africa.
Stats as at 9 October 2005
Having been selected for the SA Schools team in 1987, Pieter made his first class debut in the 1987/8 season. He moved across to Border in 1992, where he developed into a fine allrounder, a useful left-arm spinner and middle-order batsman. He captained his Provincial team with distinction, leading Border to several National finals and was the first captain of the Warriors team after the inception of franchise cricket in South Africa. He made his Test debut in the controversial forfeited-innings Test played against England at Centurion in 2000. His following, and final, Test was against India in Mumbai. He also played 10 one-day Internationals.
Although Ronnie played in only two Tests, both against Australia in 1949-50, he hit a hundred before lunch four times in first-class cricket and occupies an important place in South African cricket as the first player to score two centuries in a Currie Cup (for Griqualand West vs Border at Kimberley in 1952-3). He also made a hundred – 114 against Orange Free State – on his first class debut in 1945-46.
Rupert “Spook” Hanley moved from St Andrew’s College to matriculate at Grey High. His first class career debut for Eastern Province was during his matric finals examinations in 1970. Spook made his mark in the 70’s as a young fast bowler, by representing SA Invitation Teams/President XI’s (the closest equivalent of the National XI in isolation times) against the Derrick Robins’ XI and the International Wanderers XI. In 1975 and 1984 he was chosen as one of South Africa’s Cricketers of the year. In 1983/4 Rupert played two unofficial tests against the Rebel West Indian XI, as well as a handful of ODI’s with a best return of 6 for 22 and had the honour of taking a hat-trick in the Wanderers ODI. Rupert ended his career playing for the Transvaal “ Mean Machine”, after many seasons with Eastern Province and also enjoyed a season with Northamptonshire. He also has the infamous distinction of taking more wickets than he scored runs in his career!
After having played three years of Nuffield cricket, Dave was chosen for the talented SA Schools team that toured England under the guise of the Albatrosses in 1983. This team included future National players in Mark Rushmere, Dave Rundle, Merrick Pringle and Darryl Cullinan.
Dave started his long and illustrious career for Eastern Province in 1984 with his School mate Vlam Michau. These two were to play an important role in Eastern Provinces rise to success in winning the Currie Cup for the first time in 1989 and the Treble the next year.
Dave started his international career in 1993/4 with tours of India and Australia. He was to play many ODI’s, but was unfortunate not to ever play a Test math. The highlight of his International career was the brilliant undefeated 169 against New Zealand at Centurion Park in the 1994/5 season.
One of his many challenges in life was when he was diagnosed at 26 years old with cancer. 15 months later after debilitating chemotherapy treatment that left him temporarily bald, Callaghan returned to the cricket arena.
Dave is one of the few players who has played both rugby and cricket for eastern Province. He partnered the great Danie Gerber at centre, before he decided to devote all his talents to cricket.
Dave was not only a top class allrounder who took more than 100 wickets and scored more than 7000 first class runs, he was also a always great team man.