The Early Days
My first experience of experience of Hermanus cricket was during the late 1930’s when I played for a Caledon team against a Hermanus side at Hermanus as a school boy.
The match was played on the field of the present Primary School and Hermanus won the game. I remember that in their side were well known Hermanus personalities at that time, such as Dr Lipschitz, the captain, Frank Elliot, a prominent building contractor who scored a century against Caledon that day and three teachers, namely Mr Lomberg the principal, Mr Jopie Joubert who died recently and a Mr Scheepers. I have an idea that cricket in Hermanus was started when Dr Lipschitz came to practice here. When the war broke out no cricket was played for many years.
After the war Mr Osrin from Bredasdorp donated a cup, known as the Osrin Cup and the competing teams were Hermanus, Caledon, Swellendam, Bredasdorp and later Riviersonderend. These games were wonderful games.
When I came here in 1953 the driving spirit in the club was the late Alec Groenewald. He spent hours and hours improving the cricket field and was ably assisted by his groundsman, Jackson Tubu, who is now a Minister of religion in Zwelihle doing wonderful work. The later members of the club should appreciate all the work that Mr Groenewald and MrTubu put into the cricket field and the wicket. Even in those days the grounds were praised by visiting teams. Alec Groenewald was also instrumental in starting the Sir deVilliers Graaff, the president and Hermanus Club captain game. Alec once prepared a cement slab and on that occasion all the players taking part in the Sir deVilliers Graaff game had to sign on this cement slab, but unfortunately this historic cement slab has disappeared. As a mark of respect of what Alec did for Hermanus cricket, his family after his death asked that his ashes be scattered on the field and this request was acceded to. Alec certainly lived for cricket.
A person who also had a lot to do with the grounds later on, was Mr Charles Meyer who was foreman at the local Municipality. He did a lot in improving the condition of the field. He had a son, Oswald, who played cricket for Hermanus and did very well. Later on Mr Eugene le Roux took over the duties as groundsman and also did an outstanding job.
Sidney Steensma came to Hermanus during the late 50’s. He played Provincial cricket for Western Province as a wicket keeper and he certainly meant a lot to the club during those days, because he was not only an outstanding wicket keeper, but also a very good batsman.
The club later took part in the Boland junior league and games were played against Caledon, Swellendam, Robertson, Worcester and De Dooms. The games against Swellendam were always very competitive as Swellendam had a player by the name of Alec Powell, who was an outstanding cricketer who played for Griequaland West. He was a left handed batsman and left handed bowler who gave the Hermanus batsmen and bowlers quite a torrid time. Mr Basil Barnes who had a jewelry shop in Hermanus played for Border before coming here. He had a lot to do with the improvement of cricket in Hermanus, so much so, that for two seasons the 1st team played in the Boland 1st league. Unfortunately not too successfully and I remember the side being skittled by Paarl for 21 runs one day. Players of note during my time were David Davidowitz who was an outstanding wicket keeper, Frank Pope, who one day hit Clive van Ryneveld for a few sixes at the ground in one of the deVilliers Graaff games. Others were Charlie Sim, Ray Hodgson, Charlie Theron, Bunny Nigrini, Ronnie van Zyl, Bill Flint, Eugene le Roux, Johan van derWesthuizen and Koegelenberg. Ray and Johan were outstanding bowlers and contributed plenty to the success of the club in earlier davs. If names are omitted, mv apologies.
In those days when we played away from Hermanus we made a point as a team of having a mixed grill at Christie’s Restaurant in the Strand – they were most enjoyable evenings.
In the earlier days the wives and girlfriends of the Cricket Team took turns to make tea and provide refreshments at tea time, which was appreciated by the players and the visiting teams. The facilities at the club were very primitive in those days and water had to be boiled on a primus stove, but they were prepared to make sacrifices. There was also no pub at the club. We had to entertain the visiting players at some hotel after the game. It is indeed a pleasure to see the progress made by the club in the last number of years.
Thanks to those who started the wonderful game of cricket in Hermanus, those who contributed to the game, those who continued with the game and those presently playing and upholding the name of Hermanus cricket.
The public and players should appreciate the outstanding facilities offered by the club and the setting of the field with the mountains in the background.
OOM PIETIE THERON