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Rhodesia v Transvaal, Police Ground, Salisbury
Reports taken from the Rhodesia Herald unless otherwise stated - 22, 23, 24 October 1966


Fred Cleary's column (Sunday Mail, 16 October 1966)

A problem of paradox natures faces the national cricket selectors, Alwyn Pichanick, David Lewis and Percy Mansell, when they sit down today in Bulawayo to decide on the combination to take on Transvaal in Salisbury next weekend.

They have an abundance of experienced and proven batsmen at their disposal, but can only really look to four bowlers whose ability has been successfully tested in three-day cricket and above.

Test seamer Joe Partridge, old-ball seamer Eddie Parker, right arm leg-spinner Jack du Preez and left arm seam and spinner Dave Napier are the only current league men who have played for Rhodesia and can as yet be relied on to produce the goods again.

The gap left by the departure of Springboks Godfrey Lawrence and David Pithey looks even more ominous as the major matches approach. They have no obvious successors, so some time later today one or two comparatively untried men may be asked to face Ali Bacher, Tiger Lance, Eddie Barlow, Ray White and Peter Corbett - and still keep their nerve and bowl well.

This is a frightening proposition, especially when one bears in mind that most of these Transvaal batsmen are in cracking form.

Last weekend Test opener Barlow slammed 162 not out, Bacher made 109, White 62 not out, while Lance, in the last three weeks, has scored a century and been in the 80s and 90s.

But ambitious men cannot be hidden in the leagues for ever. Not that they want to.

So, those young seamers who want to make good are battling it out in Bulawayo and Que Que [now Kwekwe] this weekend [in Logan Cup matches], anxious to impress these three selectors, three men, I might add, who are as conscientious and knowledgeable as any I have met in similar posts over the years.

Who moves into the front line? This piece is written before the start of the Logan Cup games, so yesterday's performances are not considered here.

Brian Bennett and Brian Baxter found a receptive wicket at Bindura and looked good in a recent Mashonaland match against the country districts.

Neville Williams took six for 50 in 15 overs in a Salisbury league match last Sunday, while Bulawayo now push forward the claim of a comparative unknown, Huntsman Williams, a left arm inswinger.

In his early 20s, Williams was a brilliant schoolboy bowler, playing for South African schools and winning a place in the Free State side.

Then he suffered prolonged back trouble and his game understandably deteriorated.

His bowling career seemed in jeopardy, but this season he came back to Bulawayo league cricket with fire and gusto.

He took 5-32 and 4-50 in league matches by way of his pace and late movement of the ball. And I understand his back troubles him no longer.

So, provided he looks good enough this weekend against the higher class batting of Tony Pithey and company, then Huntsman Williams could be getting his first national cap tonight.

Peter MacKenzie, the Salisbury Sports Club player, who has long been regarded as a bowler with a future, was passed over for the Logan Cup games because of his suspect fitness.

MacKenzie can still come right, but he has to prove once and for all that he can last the rigours of a three-day match, and this he can only do by bowling consistently in the leagues and then winning and holding a Mashonaland place without breaking down again.

Spinners? Only Jack du Preez and Dave Napier are really under consideration at this stage, and both will almost certainly be included in tonight's team.

Du Preez, in fact, could go on to win Springbok colours this year against Australia, for his years of hard work at every level up to Test trials are now beginning to pay off.

Now the batting. Certainties for the Transvaal game should be: Ray Gripper, Nick Frangos, Rob Ullyett, Tony Pithey and Colin Bland.

Old Winstonians' John Wallace will be pushing hard for a place, as will Charlie Hepker, the neat, efficient Old Georgians man, and John McPhun.

But at this stage of a season reputations count for a lot. If any of the others start failing (and Ray Gripper must learn to score well in the first innings) then one of these might move in. But not until then.

Where does Howie Gardiner fit in?

Here is an interesting situation. In the last year this slim, tall Alexandra club man has emerged in the eyes of many as another Paul Winslow.

Like that exciting Salisbury of the last decade, Gardiner likes to have a go, hit the ball hard, and collect his runs with towering sixes and well-placed fours.

His 133 in a Salisbury league match last weekend was hailed as a masterly performance.

He has also scored a 49 this season in three league games, hit a brief, splendid 42 for Rhodesia against Eastern Province last December, and then proceeded to collect three league centuries in a row.

His team-mates think the world of him. His captain, Doug Watson, told me: ``Howie's potential is tremendous. He is rapidly settling down and playing mature cricket. We moved him up to No 4 this year and he is getting his head down and playing with great responsibility.

``In my view, Howie has the makings of a first-class cricketer, and once he gets in the Rhodesian team he will be thee for a long time to come.''

High praise indeed. But league matches are not Currie Cup, or higher. How would Gardiner fare against bowlers of the calibre of Don Mackay-Coghill and Athol McKinnon?

Many feel he is too suspect off the back foot. Said one experienced player: ``Howie can look great on the front foot and average when playing back.''

Gardiner is aware of this and, being the conscientious man he is, he is working hard to eradicate this weakness.

Assuming he does, where does he fit in? He keeps wicket, but Tony de Caila of Bulawayo has, I am told, the enviable record of only missing three chances in 24 games for his country.

If correct, this is incredible consistency.

So, Gardiner must try and win a place as a middle order batsman, and extremely tough proposition at this stage of the season.

But he is only 22, and even if he does not get his opportunity this season, he can afford to wait. But his turn will come.

As I said earlier, these notes are written before the Logan Cup games, so, unless this weekend's performances play a dramatic part and cause the selectors radically to alter their thinking, I would say the following Rhodesian combination will play Transvaal in Salisbury on October 22-24:

Ray Gripper, Nick Frangos, Rob Ullyett, Tony Pithey (capt), Colin Bland, Eddie Parker, Tony de Caila, Jack du Preez, Neville Williams or one other seamer, Joe Partridge and Dave Napier.

This is a balanced side, with five recognised batsmen, one genuine all-rounder in Parker, seam in Partridge, Parker, Napier and one other - not forgetting that Gripper is a more than useful seamer - and two spinners in Napier and du Preez.


Says John Parry (Sunday Mail, 16 October 1966)

Rhodesia's cricket selectors will today be choosing the Currie Cup side to meet Transvaal next weekend.

Messrs Lewis, Pichanick and Mansell have a considerable task in the shape of the team to be chosen, although they must be gratified that so many seasoned players have run into form early in the league encounters.

They may well go for proved experience at this stage of the season and make experiments later.

This is written before the Logan Cup match between Mashonaland and Matabeleland in Bulawayo this weekend: performances there may well cause last-minute surprises.

However, a highly probable batting order is - Nick Frangos, Ray Gripper, Rob Ullyett, Tony Pithey, Colin Bland, Eddie Parker, Jack du Preez, with Tony de Caila as wicket-keeper. That leaves four places which must include bowlers Joe Partridge and Dave Napier.

I can't see any spinners other than Napier and du Preez challenging for a place. If the last place goes to another opening bowler (such as Brian Bennett) that means the exclusion of some good talent much in form. John McPhun has been making runs, Gardiner and Ian Haig have been scoring centuries.

The selectors may well leave out the extra quick bowler and rely on support, if things go wrong, from Bland, Ullyett or even Frangos himself.

Possibilities include the substitution of McPhun for Gripper, who has been inconsistent so far this year; of Gardiner for de Caila, although de Caila's immaculate record for Rhodesia argues against this.

Haig has been unlucky in recent seasons. He is a gallant batsman who has often got his team out of trouble and he is of course a superb fielder.

A hand injury has kept him out of this week's Logan Cup games, but he is still a force to be reckoned with.

League cricket in Salisbury and, I gather, in Bulawayo has been much more dynamic this year. Last year Ullyett and Pithey helped their side to a dramatic last-over win against Old Hararians, with two remarkable innings.

At first they batted steadily, not risking what might have been a vital breakthrough; and then, after tea, piled on runs at well over 80 an hour against a tiring and limited attack.

This was one of the occasions on which the taking of a new ball becomes a gamble. Nick Frangos's seam bowlers were getting limp when he decided to take the risk.

In fact, it turned out to be exactly what Ullyett in particular was wanting. Pithey had overhauled him to reach his 50 first; but then Ullyett swept to his century in a dynamic knock, in which he took calculated risks to demolish the defensive field placing.

The whole partnership was a triumph of character and experience which augurs well for Rhodesia's chances of bigger scores this year.

Congratulations to big Eddie Parker for his outstanding feat in Bulawayo last week when he took all ten of his opponents' wickets.

A couple of seasons ago Parker seemed to be playing with a certain amount of despair. He never made the runs he was capable of, and his bowling suffered from alarming patches of wildness. But he has steadily improved and now is moving into the top class of South African all-rounders.

For Rhodesia he is very much a key man this year.

[Potted scores of the Mashonaland-Matabeleland Logan Cup match mentioned above: Matabeleland 365 (T W Dunk 92, B F Davison 106; J H du Preez 4/85) and 189 (J T Partridge 51*); Mashonaland 266 (N J Frangos 85, K C Bland 62; E F Parker 5/109); Matabeleland won on first innings.]


Monday 17 October 1966

Mike Huckle, the Matabeleland left arm spin bowler and right-hand batsman, is the only new cap in the Rhodesian cricket team to play Transvaal in a Currie Cup match starting in Salisbury next Saturday.

The team is: Tony Pithey (capt), Colin Bland, Tony de Caila, Jackie du Preez, Nick Frangos, Ray Gripper, Mike Huckle, Eddie Parker, Joe Partridge, Rob Ullyett and Neville Williams. 12th Man: John Wallace.


By Len Brown (Tuesday 18 October 1966)

The Rhodesian selectors seemingly played it safe, with little desire for experimenting at this early stage of the season, when they named the side to play Transvaal in the first of the season's four Currie Cup matches, in Salisbury this coming weekend.

In fact, their only concession to the claims of several youngsters knocking at the door of the national side was the introduction of Mike Huckle, the Matabeleland left-arm spinner, in place of the seasoned Dave Napier, who was probably hammered out of the side by the brilliance of Brian Davison in that hurricane century of his last Saturday in the Logan Cup game at Bulawayo.

Huckle only bowled six overs in that game, but came out of them with the wicket of Howie Gardiner at a vital stage.

But Huckle's only competition for a place in the side for the rest of the season will not be confined to Napier - there's another youngster in the shape of Mike Shacklock who will also be staking a claim.

His ability to spin the ball, rather than roll it, as Huckle sometimes does, was amply demonstrated at the Que Que batting paradise over the weekend. There is something more than just a hint of promise in Shacklock's bowling.

With Joe Partridge demonstrating his return to fitness with a long spell over the weekend, the rest of the side more or less selected itself, although Ray Gripper's continuing - and so far unsuccessful - search for runs must have occasioned the selectors some thought.

Young Tommy Dunk, with his excellent 92 in Matabeleland's first innings, reveals himself as a distinct prospect for the future, as does Davison.

But the batsmen treading closest on the heels of the current Rhodesian team are John McPhun, John Wallace, Howie Gardiner and that stout-hearted battler, Ian Haig.

Meanwhile there's a busy week ahead of the seven Mashonaland members of the side to play Transvaal. They are to attend nets at Sports Club this afternoon, Old Hararians tomorrow, and Alex on Thursday.

A panel of five seamers, plus two spinners, and England bowler Dave Brown, is standing by to give them a real workout in those nets. The bowlers are: Baxter, McVey, Bennett, MacKenzie, Jackson, Shacklock and Deudney.

Later in the afternoon the emphasis will be on fielding. Far too many catches have been spilled in senior cricket so far this season, and if the same happens over this weekend, Rhodesia will be in trouble.

One doesn't give players like Springbok Eddie Barlow and Tiger Lance second chances at the wicket without paying for it in terms of sweat and toil.

Umpires for the Transvaal game, which starts on Saturday, are P Lake and B Fothergill. Hours of play are 9.40 am to 12.40; 1.25 to 3.25; 3.45 to 5.45.


By Len Brown (Saturday 22 October 1966)

Transvaal, joint Currie Cup champions, have brought an exciting blend of youth and experience to Salisbury for the first of the season's inter-provincial games. And although one or two complained they were short of match practice, they looked good enough in their practice at the Police Ground yesterday afternoon to ensure that whatever success Rhodesia might have in this game they'll know they've been in a fight.

Of those Salisbury cricket fans haven't yet seen, perhaps most interest will centre on skipper Ali Bacher, who is being tipped freely as a possible skipper of South Africa in the coming series. He's already among the runs this season and looked quietly confident in his short knock yesterday afternoon.

Another who could go close to Sports Club selection this summer is all-rounder Don Mackay-Coghill. He bowls left-arm seamers at a brisk pace, and is a fierce driver off the front foot when batting.

But the one who impressed immensely - after that ebullient character Eddie Barlow, that is - was seamer Derek Esterhuizen, who gets his first cap for Transvaal in this game. He moved the ball both ways, and brought it back sharply off the pitch on occasions. On this one quick look, I'd say Transvaal have a find in this lad.

Transvaal had two casualties at nets yesterday. 'Tiger' Lance took a bouncer on the wrist, from Gary Watson, and although he batted on for a while, was later taken to see a doctor. There may be some doubt about his fitness this morning.

Second casualty was wicket-keeper Solly Katz, also playing his first game for Transvaal, although he has had Currie Cup experience with Eastern Province. He took two fierce blows on the elbow when batting, but is expected to be fit today.

Altogether a well balanced looking side, this Transvaal team, with a fine mixture of pace and spin in attack, and some of the finest attacking batsmen in the Currie Cup circuit.

Meanwhile the Rhodesians, with several league matches and last weekend's Logan Cup matches behind them, have also had three strenuous workouts at the nets during the week, and are in fine fettle.

Perhaps the most heartening sight at their final practice on Thursday at the Alex Club nets, was the form of opening batsman Ray Gripper, who has been struggling to find his true form all season.

As is fairly usual when that happens, Gripper hasn't enjoyed the best of luck in his search, but on Thursday he was stroking the ball as well as he has done at any time in the past, and that is good news for Rhodesians.

In fact, all the batsmen seem to have jumped to form by now. Ullyett has a league century under his belt already - one which helped his side to a last-over win, and there won't be many better innings played this season hereabouts.

Colin Bland, with a new zest for the game, also has a league century to his credit, and his 61 last weekend in Bulawayo was a fine innings.

Skipper Tony Pithey is also going well, and it is a pity he suffered that early run out in last week's Logan Cup game. A good innings then would have suited him.

But the Rhodesian showing finest batting form since the season started is opener Nick Frangos. Right from the first match Frangos has gone boldly for his shots and, starting with the Sports Club anniversary game, his innings so far this season read . . . 105, 74, 45, 101, 54 and 85. And that's real consistency.

But if Rhodesia is to win this match, my own conviction is that the job will have to be accomplished by the bowlers, and puts the onus on the shoulders of Joe Partridge, Eddie Parker, Neville Williams, Jackie du Preez and Mike Huckle.

After a look at the pitch yesterday afternoon, it was quite evident that there is more in this one for the bowlers than there was in that featherbed last season, on which Rhodesia and Eastern Province fought out that single innings match over three days.

There's more grass on this pitch, and although it looked hard and fast, I'd hazard a guess the seamers on both sides will find more than just a little help throughout the game.

With Joe Partridge back to full fitness, and Eddie Parker bowling better than at any stage of his Rhodesian career, they could prove the key figures in the Rhodesian attack . . . backed by the reliable seamers of Neville Williams, and the spinners of du Preez and Mike Huckle, only newcomer to the national side.

And, if skipper Tony Pithey has any say, that attack will be backed up by some of the best fielding in the Currie Cup circuit, with Bland, right back to form, leading the way.

The last time Transvaal A played here, half the first day was washed out by rain. Thee could be stoppages in this game, too, with the wind blowing strongly from the north yesterday, and showers just about due.


By Fred Cleary (Sunday Mail, 23 October 1966)

Ali Bacher's Transvaalers played commendably aggressive and skilful cricket yesterday and deservedly moved into a commanding position against Rhodesia on the first day of their A Section Currie Cup match.

Taking full advantage of a Police Ground pitch where coarse grass roots allowed the ball to turn viciously, spinner Athol McKinnon took five for 76 and bundled the home side out for only 227 in 250 minutes.

And when Eddie Barlow successfully appealed against the light 25 minutes from the scheduled close, Transvaal were 135 for two - 92 behind with plenty of strong batting to come.

With two days to go an outright victory looks possible. And even at this early stage of the game the odds must be on a Rand combination, who looked the more thorough craftsmen.

Jack du Preez bowled with real fire and spun the ball well yesterday afternoon, but he did not take wickets. McKinnon did. Joe Partridge sent down a flow of good, accurate seamers. But his 13 overs were also fruitless.

Therein lay the difference. The Rhodesian batsmen played rashly at times and paid the penalty. The Transvaal batsmen may have had use of a wicket that eased up after lunch, yet even so, they grafted away and got results.

The Rhodesian camp was full of complaints about the state of the wicket when lunch saw five men back in the pavilion for only 156.

They argued that no wicket should turn so spitefully so soon in the first two hours of a three-day match.

``We want a lively wicket,'' said one, ``but this pitch is ridiculous. One does not know what to do with the ball kicking so much.''

This it did, indeed, with both opening seamers Don Mackay-Coghill and Derek Esterhuizen greatly troubling the Rhodesian openers, Ray Gripper and Nick Frangos.

Then, when the burly, genial Springbok McKinnon loomed into view at the Stragglers end and proceeded to bowl unchanged and screw the ball off the grass and into the Rhodesian batsmen, the crowd of over 2000 realised that there were no mammoth totals coming this time - at least from their own men.

But while agreeing that a kicking wicket is no help to batsmen, a careful analysis of their batting shows that only Tony Pithey really fell because of the wicket. The ball which got him shot up quite sharply from McKinnon and was hungrily snapped up by Barlow at silly mid-off.

Three men, Ullyett, Gripper and du Preez, should not have done as they did. They went swinging wildly and on each occasion they had fallen after they were in complete command and on the verge of possible high scores.

Ullyett was particularly at fault. He had batted with real majesty, hooking and cover driving with smooth, effortless efficiency. Even McKinnon was wilting under his onslaught. Then he flayed at Esterhuizen and was easily caught behind by Katz for 42.

Had he had the patience of the Barlow we saw late in the afternoon, Ullyett might have reached three figures, and the story might have been different.

Gripper cannot seem to get going in the first innings and his modest 23 yesterday may mitigate against him when the selectors start looking for the team to face the Australians in a fortnight's time.

Overall, it was lack of concentration and patience that saw Rhodesia crumble. The poor quality of the wicket was only a contributing factor.

Tony Pithey was happy when he won the toss and decided to bat. He anticipated a crop of runs.

How he misread that wicket. Gripper and Frangos looked for quick runs, but found the going difficult.

Then Frangos went at 31 to a fine diving catch by Corbett at leg gully. Gripper hit a handsome four past point as if to reassure himself and the home crowd, but when he had reached 23 and the total was only 56, he became McKinnon's first victim, edging the ball behind to first slip when trying to slash the Springbok slow left-arm bowler out of the ground.

Ullyett, meanwhile, was retaliating with an exciting array of shots, all of them hard and accurate. Pithey went for two, and then Bland and Ullyett took up the challenge.

The 100 went up in 117 minutes, Tillim was driven out of the firing line with his average quality leg spinners, and at least here Rhodesia were fighting back.

But at this century mark Ullyett whacked out thoughtlessly and went after a stay of 87 minutes which realised 42 good runs by way of nine fours.

Jack du Preez joined Bland for what proved to be a fruitful partnership.

Bland decided the only way to score was by lofting his shots around the ground. This is a risky way to score, but Bland is a man who does not believe in carrying too much batting insurance.

So the runs came and the score mounted. Du Preez played a less adventurous role, but still found the gaps.

But Bland's good fortune could not last too long, and at 148 (and his own tally 48) he appeared to play a lazy shot off Mackay-Coghill and was easily held at mid-off by Bacher. They had added 48 runs in 40 minutes for this fifth wicket.

Parker and du Preez continued this quest for runs after lunch, and Parker looked particularly good during his stay of 35 minutes for 37 runs, which came by way of seven fours.

Then when du Preez was trapped leg-before to Mackay-Coghill for 29 the end was in sight and Rhodesia were all out at 2.35 pm for 227 runs collected in 250 minutes.

McKinnon fully deserved his five wickets for 76. And he must take credit for the way he bowled unchanged for 28.4 overs without flinching, even when he was taking hard punishment.

Transvaal lost an early wicket when Clark slashed at a bad ball from Parker and was easily caught at deep point by Gripper with the total on six.

However, those experienced Springboks Barlow and Bacher got their heads down and, grinding away, put on 117 in 100 minutes.

Their batting reflected their considerable application and thoroughness, and even persistent bowling by Partridge and du Preez could not dislodge them.

Rhodesia's new cap, slow left arm bowler Huckle, could not turn the ball, even on this helpful wicket, while one was puzzled why Pithey did not use Neville Williams, a seam bowler whose cutters would be made for this track.

So Barlow is still there and in line for his second successive century on this ground.

Rhodesia's only hope at this stage is an early breakthrough in the first hour this morning.


By John Parry

Was it the pitch? Or the bowlers? Or the batsmen?

Rhodesia batted first after winning the toss against the Transvaal, and collected, excitingly but disappointingly, a modest 225.

The pitch in the morning was a good deal livelier than I can remember from a Police Ground wicket; certainly it took more spin and lift from Athol McKinnon than that good bowler needed as a spur to his efforts.

Left-handed Don Mackay-Coghill was lifting the ball a lot from a pace you could hardly call express, in terms of bowlers like Heine and Adcock.

And the Rhodesian batsmen, many after showing tantalising glimpses of ability, succumbed to an apparent need to score off as many balls as possible while brief life was their position.

Tony Pithey was one of the few to get a really nasty one. It lifted from a length, and a spinner jumping glory-high against a forward defensive shot so early in the game was more than unexpected.

So then, despite some very attractive batting from Rob Ullyett and Nick Frangos, some admirable strokeplay from Eddie Parker, helped by determination from Jack du Preez, the Rhodesian total did not seem big enough.

It seemed much smaller in the afternoon. Transvaal batsmen Ali Bacher and Eddie Barlow apparently found fewer terrors in the pitch.

As so often happens so early in the season, Rhodesia looked a trifle at sea; sea-sickness induced by that unexpected morning life in the pitch.

Some hard work, plus the operation of the traditional uncertainty of the game, will be needed to restore the balance today. Rhodesia will have to pull a lot out of the bag and get on more realistic terms with McKinnon.

He was last year's 'bogey' man in Bulawayo, too, remember?


By Len Brown (Monday 24 October 1966)

Transvaal are set for an easy outright win over Rhodesia in their Currie Cup cricket match at the Police Ground this morning. With the last pair at the wicket, in their second innings, Rhodesia are only 22 runs ahead, and all today left for play.

Rhodesia have a grand fighting century by Ray White, some excellent spin bowling by Springbok Atholl McKinnon, and their own spineless batting in the second innings, to thank for their present predicament.

There have been some hard things said about this pitch at the Police Ground, and some rabid Rhodesian supporters blame the current state of the game on that maligned strip of turf.

But the facts speak for themselves surely - when Transvaal were all out shortly after 2 pm yesterday, 561 runs had been scored at a fraction over a run a minute. And that's good going in any class of cricket.

Of course, the spinners spun the ball, prodigiously at times, but that in itself was a test of skill which should have called for the dedicated application of courage, technique and patience. And in this respect the Rhodesian batsmen fell down, while Transvaal applied themselves diligently and intelligently when batting.

For Springbok spinner Athol McKinnon, Christmas arrived early, in the shape of a wicket that took spin, and allowed the odd ball to kick now and then. McKinnon doesn't miss opportunities like these and, helped by the inept home batting, looked a real international.

It was a seventh-wicket partnership - full of guts and fine batting - between White and Tillim which put Transvaal on top yesterday morning.

Before this pair came together Jackie du Preez, giving just about the best exhibition of leg spin bowling we've had since Percy Mansell, had bagged the wickets of Barlow (a real gem of a ball), Lance and Mackay-Coghill, and with Partridge having Corbett caught at the wicket, four wickets had fallen for the addition of 71 runs to the Transvaal overnight score, giving them a total of 206 for six, still 21 runs behind the Rhodesia first innings total.

Then came tragedy. With White barely arrived at the wicket, Partridge should have accepted a sharp caught and bowled chance, and in the next over, with his score at nine, the luckless Partridge dropped White again off Du Preez off a knee-high chance at short mid-on.

Had that chance been accepted, all the recognised Transvaal batsmen would have been back in the pavilion, and their first innings lead could conceivably have been reduced to a handful of runs.

But White, hitting the ball powerfully, and making his own scoring shots from balls others would have ignored in this game, seemed to take those refused chances as an omen that this was his day.

He was finally out, caught on the long-on fence, after 164 minutes of highly entertaining and skilful batting, having hit one six and 13 fours.

The only consolation derived by Rhodesia during this innings was the brilliant ground fielding, and the bowling of du Preez. His lengthy morning spell read: 18 overs, five maidens, 46 runs and three wickets.

The figures could have been even better, with luck. Parker finished with the best figures, but he has bowled much better than this, and his habit of bowling no-balls, even to the tail-enders, was irritating.

With 190 minutes' batting left to close of play, and a deficit of 107 runs on the first innings, Rhodesia made a bright start.

Frangos and Gripper put on 45 runs in as many minutes, with Frangos batting with all his usual gusto and willingness to go for his shots.

He hooked Mackay-Coghill's bouncer for a superb six, did the same to Barlow, and hit four resounding fours before slashing at McKinnon's spinner and being caught at backward point.

Barlow then weighed in with two quick wickets, the second being skipper Tony Pithey, who was unlucky again when he received a ball that kicked sharply - the first he received - and Mackay-Coghill took the second of his three smart catches in the innings.

Ullyett flattered for a short while before being bowled round his legs, and Bland, after being dropped two balls earlier, swung wildly across the line and was well caught by Corbett from a high ball swirling about in the covers.

At the end, Partridge and de Caila battled it out, and just when Transvaal skipper Ali Bacher had asked for, and been granted, the extra half hour in an endeavour to finish the game off yesterday, an appeal against the light was upheld.

It was a most disappointing batting display by Rhodesia.


By Len Brown (Tuesday 25 October 1966)

It took Transvaal just 18 minutes of play yesterday morning to complete the formalities which gave them a ten-wicket win over Rhodesia in their Currie Cup game at the Police Ground. Rhodesia were all out at their overnight total of 129, and Transvaal were 23 for no wicket at the end.

With Joe Partridge being caught off the first ball of the day, Rhodesia left Transvaal 23 runs to win - and 14 balls later it was all over.

Springbok Eddie Barlow was in no mood to potter about, going after those few runs. He took three fours and a two off Eddie Parker's first over, and after Clark had taken a single off Bland, who opened at the other end, Barlow slashed the next ball past point for four - 19 runs in two overs.

Rhodesian skipper Tony Pithey then took over the bowling from Parker, and Clark hit his second delivery high over mid-on to end the match.

And looking back over the past two days, it might be said with some truth that that shot of Clark's brought to an end a match which Rhodesia - players and spectators alike - would like to forget as quickly as possible.

Although one remembers the batting of Ullyett, Frangos, du Preez and Parker, and the excellent spin bowling of du Preez, plus some fine ground fielding, with Bland, Gripper and Frangos outstanding, there wasn't much over which local enthusiasts could enthuse, in this tanning of our cricketing hide by the workmanlike, keen and spirited Transvaalers.

One hesitates to suggest wholesale changes in the Rhodesian side, just because the season has got off to a poor start. But there was a lackadaisical approach, and an unwillingness to get to grips with the realities of a spinning pitch among our batsmen, which suggests a heart-to-heart talk between the officials and the players might do more good than the rolling of heads from a selectorial point of view.

As Transvaal skipper Ali Bacher said after the game, ``Since I've been playing for them - about six years now - this is possibly the most efficient, workmanlike performance I've seen from a Transvaal side. Everybody did their part - White with a glorious innings, McKinnon with his spinners, the new boys Corbett, Katz and Esterhuizen all did well, and our fielding and cutting off the runs was keenness itself.''


By Fred Cleary (Sunday Mail, 30 October 1966)

The Rhodesian cricket team is in need of psychiatry, not surgery, before it tackles Bobby Simpson's Australians in Salisbury next weekend.

Although the instincts of many after that humiliating ten-wicket defeat by Transvaal, with virtually a day to spare, was to cry out for a wholesale chopping of most of the team, a rational and constructive analysis of the eleven 'vanquished' leads this reporter to conclude that only one or possibly two changes will be made.

Basically, the combination that played Ali Bacher's men is the best this country can put out. It was the mental attitude of several batsmen which brought about their defeat, not their lack of ability.

The talent is there. All it needs is the right application. And I am sure the three national selectors, Alwyn Pichanick, David Lewis and Percy Mansell, share this view.

Men who failed last week were Pithey, Huckle (batting and bowling) and Gripper, while Ullyett, Frangos, Bland and du Preez (as a batsman) made costly mistakes after shaping well.

Pithey scored 2 and 0, but to be fair to the Rhodesian captain, on each occasion he received deliveries which kicked up sharply. One could split hairs and say he did not get to the pitch of the ball which had him caught off Barlow in the second innings and, therefore, technically he was at fault.

But it was the first delivery. He had not, as some of the others, been in there for a while and in full flight and then tossed his wicket away.

And without wanting to dwell on this, it was this recklessness by the batsmen which gave the selectors ulcers and brought about so much wrath from the Rhodesian cricketing public.

Bland batted soundly and constructively in the second innings for that 23. Then, having already been let off once with a dropped catch, two balls before, slashed out at McKinnon and was caught.

Why didn't this experienced Test player cool down and not lash out like a novice?

Ullyett was brilliant in that first innings, until he played a baseball stroke and was caught behind. But I must say here I have doubts about his second dismissal. Was he bowled, or did the ball rebound from the wicket-keeper's pads and hit the stumps?

Frangos revealed silky, aristocratic strokes. His hook for six in the second innings was the finest shot of the match. But why did he try to play every shot in the book when, on that turning wicket, such an attempt was out of the question.

The Transvaalers played the wicket and the Rhodesian bowling far more intelligently.

Gripper was completely out of form. This happens to every batsman, great and average. I will deal with his position later.

This inability of Rhodesian batsmen to knuckle down and concentrate in adversity has been a plague to our cricket for years, but particularly during the more recent leadership of David Lewis and Tony Pithey.

Is it any wonder that the highest score yet made by a Rhodesian in first-class cricket is 179 by an average batsman in his day, Bernard Carew, against North-Eastern Transvaal in 1952/53?

No one has scored a double century. Several centuries, yes, but once they have passed the 100 (and even 50) so many batsmen I have seen appear to think they have done their job and flay out regardlessly.

Not like Arthur Morris, who I saw cruelly carve Middlesex to pieces one day at Lord's, then, after collecting a hundred took a new guard and started all over again.

As far as this great Australian left-hander was concerned a century was only a milestone.

I maintain that Gripper, Frangos, Pithey, Ullyett and Bland are still the best technically equipped batsmen in this country. Others are breathing down their necks, but these are the men to be deposed. Others will have to prove they are better.

The problem of Gripper is straightforward. Technically, he is only a shade behind Pithey. His current bad run has shaken his confidence, but do the selectors look elsewhere, or do they persist with him, taking into account his experience and hoping he will come out of the tunnel of depression in time for Simpson's Australians?

I believe all depends on how John McPhun shapes for the Matabeleland Invitation XI against the tourists on Wednesday and Thursday. At 26 he is no young colt in need of 'blooding'. He first played for Rhodesia seven years ago, then lost his place to his Old Hararians clubmate Frangos.

His habit of playing across the line has cost him his wicket frequently, but if he gets runs this week, then Gripper may be out.

Howie Gardiner is the most exciting young batsman in the country. He was passed over for the Transvaal match because Tony de Caila is a better wicket-keeper.

But de Caila, with two and six not out, did not exactly sparkle with the bat, while Gardiner kept wicket well in the Logan Cup match in Bulawayo the previous week and through hard net work is rapidly overcoming his weakness off the back foot.

There is no doubt that, with Huckle and de Caila failing to provide the lower order resistance which was expected of them, the selectors may now be tempted to give Gardiner a chance, notwithstanding de Caila's soundness and fine record behind the wicket.

Again, if he scores well in Bulawayo, Gardiner could be in the side for the four-day match in Salisbury. The Rhodesian team selection has been held back until after the Invitation game for the very purpose of looking at Gardiner, McPhun and company.

Before getting on to the bowlers, let us first have a breakdown of the actual combination the selectors will be looking for.

As the new ball cannot be taken this season until 85 overs have been sent down, an average rate of 17 overs an hour means that the new ball can only be taken every five hours, most of a day's play. So no captain can go into a match these days without at least two spinners.

One could not expect seamers to labour away all day, and there must be variety.

Thus the selectors want to see three seamers and two spinners, a wicket-keeper, two opening batsmen and three middle order batsmen. This is bearing in mind that Rhodesia do not have an opening batsman/wicket-keeper in the Waite/ Ames mould, or a batsman who is a genuine spinner like McGlew, Graeme Pollock, Simpson or Barrington.

Rhodesia's three seamers will almost certainly come from Joe Partridge, Neville Williams, Eddie Parker, Huntsman Williams and Peter MacKenzie.

Unless he bowls particularly well this week, I rule out Mackenzie because of doubts about his physical ability to last out four days, while Huntsman Williams may also be too inexperienced to be tossed in against such ruthless executioners as the Australian batsmen.

England bowler David Brown has been working hard on Williams in Bulawayo and he is most impressed by his action. But having had back trouble, Williams is bowling within himself and, on the advice of Brown and the selectors, is switching to bowling over the wicket. For a left-hand fast bowler this is essential.

Williams may be held back for the Natal Currie Cup match later in November, in place of Partridge, who alas is rapidly showing his age.

Partridge bowled accurately enough last Saturday, but he lacked a yard in pace to be really troublesome to Barlow and company, and even though he is almost certain to be retained for the Australian match, his wonderful career could well be on the wane.

Thus, my seam bowlers would be Parker, Neville Williams and Partridge and possibly David Napier, or that genuine left-arm spinner Mike Shacklock joining Jack du Preez, whose fine right arm leg spinning last week must put him right in line for the Springbok team.

As I said, it could be either Gardiner or de Caila for wicket-keeper, the opening batsmen will be either Gripper or McPhun and Frangos, with Pithey, Ullyett and Bland as the middle order men.

The team could therefore read: Gripper or McPhun, Frangos, Ullyett, Pithey (captain), Bland, Parker, de Caila or Gardiner, du Preez, N. Williams, Partridge, Shacklock or Napier.

The only worrying aspect is the thought that Partridge, Napier and Williams will greatly reduce the team's fielding standards, an essential factor at any time, but particularly against an international side.


Says John Parry (Sunday Mail, 30 October 1966)

Nothing went right for Rhodesian cricket in the match against Transvaal last week. Over the two days when this Currie Cup fixture was lost, Transvaal were the better side.

But not all that much better; the visitors' ten-wicket win was due as much to the spineless batting of the Rhodesian second innings as to the Transvaal bowling.

Inevitably there has been some local witch-hunting by cricket enthusiasts who, all too often, are fair weather friends to the national team. It's fine when things go right, but in adversity they want to get out the axe and chop half the players.

Well, the rugby selectors adopted this policy last season, making as many as eight changes in the 15 from one match to another. And look what happened: the most disappointing record we have had for a long time.

Obviously, there are wide open vacancies which could be filled from the well-chosen Invitation XI which plays against Australia in Bulawayo. But it would be foolish to advocate wholesale cricket reconstruction at this stage. It must be remembered that no team can lose key bowlers like Godfrey Lawrence, David Pithey and Vernon Dickinson in one year without inevitable problems being set up, if there are no obvious replacements.

Rhodesia's captain, Tony Pithey, has come in for more than his share of criticism. The skipper is always the Aunt Sally of the spectator. Even when David Lewis was leading Rhodesia so brilliantly, there were yells for his head if anything went wrong.

Pithey had a difficult job last week. Maybe he misjudged the pitch, and should have put Transvaal in after he had won the toss. Would it have made any difference?

Only a week earlier Pithey put Matabeleland in under similar conditions - that is, with an unbalanced attack - against a more formidable bowling opposition. Matabeleland still won the game.

The Rhodesian batting in the first innings against Transvaal was no more than adequate, though a total of 227 on that pitch at least was a potentially difficult target.

As the team had not got two real opening bowlers, Pithey was forced to open with Parker, who is much better with an older ball, and as first change. Parker got a bonus wicket, thanks to a rash shot by Clarke, and was quickly replaced by Jack du Preez.

Du Preez proceeded to seal up the south end, which meant that, with Partridge and Parker bowling respectably enough from the north, Williams became the third seamer, and wasn't used.

Pithey is being heavily attacked for this, but his policy line is defensible. He experimented briefly with Huckle and again got a bonus wicket.

Pithey's policy nearly paid off. With six wickets down Transvaal was still behind the Rhodesian score, with no significant batting to come.

But Ray White was twice dropped early on and went on to make 103. That was the turning point of the game.

Then came the Rhodesian debacle in the second innings. The Rhodesian captain was one of the few who could not be blamed for his low scores. He got two balls which lifted wickedly off a length, the one in the first innings being almost unplayable.

Far too often in the past big Rhodesian totals have depended on Tony Pithey acting as a sheet-anchor, and his failures in this match only serve to highlight the brittleness of the Rhodesian batting.

The point is this: whatever Pithey's merits or shortcomings may be as a captain, there is no obvious alternative; his overall record is a good one (look in the book), and it would be foolish and morale-destroying to consider changing him.