Claremont Cricket Club has learnt some lessons and are determined not only to retain their Premier Division status but to deliver more than survival.
Boasting a proud 140-plus year history, the Constantia-based club has captured 13 top league and one national title to date, including a three-in-a-row run between 1990 and 1993.
Former players include Jimmy Pothecary, Graham Chevalier, Alan Dawson, Duncan Fletcher, Jacques Kallis and Gary Kirsten.
Although history is a source of pride to the club, it is the camaraderie and unity of all players, coaches and members, irrespective of level played which is the essence of the Constantia-based club.
Claremont recently announced the double-appointment of former Proteas player Justin Kemp as coach and Billy Root, the Nottinghamshire left-handed batsman, as club professional, clear signs of intent for the oncoming season.
Kemp’s career includes four Tests, 85 One Day Internationals and 300 first class matches.
His no-nonsense approach to the game as a big-hitting batsman and more than useful bowler, has benefitted teams around the globe. Root made his debut for Notts last year and has amassed 350 runs in nine innings.
He bowls a useful right arm off-break which will come in handy during the oncoming season.
He is the younger brother of England batting phenomenon, Joe Root.
Dean Oosterwyk, an iconic club cricket figure in the Western Cape over the last decade, with Nottinghamshire Premier League experience, is an integral part of the coaching panel, his influence already felt through his efforts with all teams at the club to date.
“We have really strengthened our squad over the winter,” says James Cameron-Dow, First XI captain.
“We have some serious depth now. It’s great to see everyone working well together thanks to the likes of Dean,” he added.
Oosterwyk’s brief includes upskilling individuals to equip them to contest for higher teams, a basic of the club game which is integral to the success of all teams.
“We believe Justin will not only be beneficial to the club by conditioning and upskilling the players,” says Matthew Elsworth, Club Captain, “but by also offering his tactical and strategical advice for game days to James and the other skippers within the club”.
The “Mont” as they are affectionately known, have been hard at work ensuring the foundations of success are in place. Their off the field support from a hardworking committee is central to their resurgence and the players feed off this energy.
“Overall we are excited for a big season ahead and we believe that we have the right people in the positions needed to bring success,” says Elsworth. “We are looking forward to getting onto the field and seeing the hard work of coaches, players and committee paying off and adding to yet another fun season at Claremont Cricket Club.”
Indeed the fun aspect cannot be understated. There appears to be a resurgence in club sport around the Peninsula as players, their friends and family seek a more interactive form of socialising through sport and the facilities the Constantia club offer is conducive to a happy environment. With their clubhouse doubling as a popular family restaurant, the fields often burst with activity, teeming with youngsters of all ages enjoying various sports while their parents watch from afar.
To this end Claremont’s Junior section is grabbing the attention of locals.
Again under the watchful eye of Brad Bing, one of South Africa’s most qualified coaches, a well-organised coaching programme for children aged 5 to 14 is designed and presented on Sunday mornings from 9.30am. Matches are planned for Under-10, Under-11 and Under-12.
It may have taken Claremont four long years to return to the Premier Division but clearly the lessons have been learned. There are goals set for each team, success can be measured in so many more ways than just victory and log position.
* For more information contactt Clive Hoard at firstname.lastname@example.org
In the case of the flagship First XI, competing for silverware in the three competition formats of two-day, fifty overs and T20 is a given and with a driven group of coaches and players such as these, don’t be too surprised if they hold some trophies aloft come season’s end.
The club practices from 5pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays for any interested cricketers.
Claremont Cricket Club kick their season off with T20 fixtures on Saturday 8th, while the first Premier League match against Durbanville starts at Constantia on 15 October.