The past one hundred years of Sport at King Edward VII School is chronicled in the almost one hundred volumes of the annual School magazine.
It is a rich tapestry of sporting triumphs often tempered by disappointing defeats. The truth is that the victories certainly outweigh the losses but that is not what is of paramount importance. Like a Breughel painting dotted with hundreds of sporting figures the history of King Edward sport is glorious and intriguing.
The many figures on this sporting landscape are generally heroic, a hallmark of the School’s sport being the pride and commitment from all who donned the King Edward colours.
The mens sana in corpore sano (a healthy mind in a healthy body) concept coupled with the educational benefits of competing in sport and learning to take life’s knocks, both physical and emotional, has ensured that sport will always play a very important role in the School’s educational activities. The Baron Pierre de Coubertin credo of competing being more important than winning probably will not be widely accepted by sports coaches in the modern world but it has been very much part of King Edward VII School’s ethos.
Debates have raged on at the School including whether sport creates demigods or balanced citizens. The short answer is that like all things, perspective and moderation will reveal that sporting triumphs at school or after are only a stepping stone to one’s career, social and family life.
Another very topical debate revolves around whether King Edward VII School is a rugby or a cricket school. Whilst the almost fanatical following of the First XV Rugby team may give a certain impression it is true to say that the School’s Cricket, Hockey and Water Polo have produced many more international and provincial players than rugby players. The School has endeavored to give all its sporting, cultural and academic pursuits a place in the sun. In its sporting persona, the School would rather be known as one of all round sporting excellence.
Then there are the sporting heroes – a list of which appears in this.
In Golf, Gary Player voted South Africa’s greatest sportsman of the last Century, King Edward VII School has produced probably its most famous sporting son. With no less than 9 majors and countless tournament victories and awards, Gary has truly been one of South Africa’s greatest ambassadors. Remarkably, one of the School’s finest all-round sportsmen, Duncan Lindsay-Smith, who may well have played cricket for South Africa save for the isolation years, ultimately became a Springbok amateur golfer and later captured the South African Seniors Golf Championship. The late Roger Brews also won the South African title.
20 International and many provincial cricketers have emerged from the School two of whom, Buster Nupen and Ali Bacher, captained the South African team with great distinction. The comprehensive 4 – 0 victory of Ali’s 1970 team over Bill Lawry’s Australians will always remain a sweet memory. In recent years despite boycotts Kevin McKenzie, Lee Barnard, Ray Jennings, Hugh Page, Adam Bacher, Neil McKenzie, Nick Pothas and Graeme Smith have played with distinction for South Africa. Who can ever forget Paul Winslow’s magnificent century at Old Trafford against England (1955) when he reached his hundred with a towering six. Scotch Taylor opened for South Africa and before that the likes of Dennis Begbie, Dooley Briscoe, Chud Langton, Len Brown, J. Cochrane, Eddie van der Merwe and Sid Pegler graced international fields. Len Brown was remarkable in that he also played soccer for South Africa.
Of course, Ali Bacher is also a highly respected cricket administrator who has won countless awards, and is Chairman of the World Cup Organizing Committee.
Joe van Niekerk, at the tender age of 21, gladdened King Edward VII hearts in 2001 when he became the School’s first rugby Springbok to play in an international match, Bryan Habana is the School’s second rugby Springbok. Fatty Forrest having some years back been on the substitutes bench but not actually playing in a test. Hugh Bladen, the great Junior Springbok fly half, Gauteng Lions Board Member and Supersport commentator was another to come within a whisker of Springbok colours.
In Aerobatics, Angling (Tom Knight and John Pledger) and Athletics (notably Jon Lang and Alan Smith) we have produced Stars. In Baseball (including Tex Richards and Graham McKenzie) where we presently have arguably South Africa’s finest current player – Nick Dempsey, Basketball and Boxing likewise.
The School has produced South Africa’s two most famous karate stars the incomparable Stan Schmidt and the remarkable Malcolm Dorfman both of whom have won more titles and awards than any of their peers.
Peter Lindenberg, has the outstanding achievement of representing the country at Waterskiing, Barefoot Waterskiing, Ski Boat racing and Power Boat racing. He is a legend in South Africa’s water sport history.
Our soccer stars include Gary Bailey (Manchester United and England), Richard Gough (Glasgow Rangers, Everton and Scotland), Julie Kaplan and Cliff Durandt. We have all been thrilled by their exploits whether at Wembley, Hampden Park or the Rand Stadium.
In squash Cecil Kaplan, Graham McDonald, Jeff Maisels, Leo Melville and Brian Lefson were all champions and in addition to Leo Melville, Simon Malone and Rob Wise became Chairpersons of SA Squash.
In hockey, Gregg Clark (presently on 195 caps) is South Africa’s most capped player of all time and together with Brenton Key is currently in the national team. Wayne Graham captained South Africa’s first Olympic Men’s Team to the 1996 Atlanta Olympics where Matthew Hallowes, one of our star midfielders, accompanied him. Steve Jaspan after his international playing career was for many years at the helm of South African Hockey and serves on the Board of World Hockey. He also captained South Africa’s indoor hockey team. Jock Coombes, with his amazing workrate also later emerged as one of South Africa’s top coaches. In Ponky Firer and John Gardiner we had a pair of superb goalkeepers and Viv Greve a truly great half. Our earliest Springbok was Peter Winslow, Paul’s brother.
Our Water Polo stars are riding the crest of the proverbial wave with 5 representatives in the present national squad Alistair Stewart, Shaun and Michael Bond, Neville Watt and Tim Potgieter. Over the years Dave Adams, Derek Kneebone, Mike Renwick and Peter Sandstrom have performed heroics but never forget Olympians Leon Nahon and Rob Schwartz, the latter who also has the remarkable distinction of also representing South Africa at flying and aerobatics. Brian Zeederberg is also renowned in flying circles.
In swimming our greats have dominated pools at home and abroad. The names of Dennis Ford, Murray McLachlan, Tony Briscoe, Ivan Schlapobersky, Dean Price, Gary Bonney, Rodney Glatt, John Thorburn and Roy Abramowitz are legendary. A very notable achievement was Billy Stewart who represented South Africa at the Empire Games in 1954 whilst still in Standard VIII.
In tennis the remarkable Norman Farquarson led the way and the imperious Wayne Ferreira attended the Preparatory School and one year at King Edward VII School.
In Motor Racing, Eddie Keizan became one of South Africa’s household names and continues this in the Motor Industry.
In rowing we have produced brilliant oarsmen including Paolo Cavalieri who capped a wonderful rowing career by coaching and managing our oarsmen at our Olympic readmission in Barcelona in 1992. Bob Tucker is the current President of Rowing South Africa. Bryan Hodgkinson and Andrew Fussell and Colin Foot were amongst others also rowed for national teams.
The list goes on in gymnastics with inter alia multiple South African Champion and one of South Africa’s greatest gymnasts Neville Graham, Wayne’s Uncle.
King Edward School alumni have also left big footprints in sports such as show jumping, skydiving, ice hockey, skiing, kung fu, and war games.
Neville Cohen has the superb achievement of being a triple Springbok in disabled sport – archery, ski-boat racing and swimming.
We apologise if we have omitted any names but in a short article one simply cannot chronicle the achievements of all the amazing sportsmen that King Edward VII School has produced but we refer you to the list of international players that follow. There are others who have played vital roles in sport such as Evan Speechley, Physiotherapist to the Springbok Rugby Team and Andrew Gray present fitness trainer to the South African Cricket Team.
Tribute should also be paid to the King Edward Old Boys Club – The Old Edwardian Society-for the support of our sportsmen.
The School’s sporting heroes constitute a dazzling array of stars that shine brightly in the sporting firmament and on “The Night of the Stars”.
To a man these stars would like to be remembered for their superb qualities as sportsmen but as sons of King Edward VII School also for their sportsmanship and graciousness.
Congratulations and thank you – you have done us proud!
There are unbeaten teams, many of which are emblazoned in photographs in the Cricket Pavilion presently the Rob Wray Pavilion.
Notable amongst these are:
1st Cricket 1993/4 played 35 won 19 drew 16 lost 0 – Captain Neil McKenzie
1st Rugby XV 1974 played 14 won 14 lost 0 points for 503 against 125 – Captain Lee Barnard
1st Rugby 1973 played 13 won 13- Captain Lee Barnard
1st Rugby 1978 played 16 won 16- Captain Brian Hodgkinson
1st XV Rugby 1968 played 17 won 17 points for 393 against 88, 66 tries for 8 against – Captain Norman Picker
1st XI 1963 Cricket played 23 won 17 drew 6 lost 0 – Captain David Raphaely
U14 Rugby Team 1960 played 15 won 15 points for 345 against 0 – Captain Jimmy Punter
1st Cricket XI 1959 played 21 won 15 drew 6 points against 0 – Captain Ali Bacher