Forty not out and still going strong

Cricket veterans, from left, Deon Kemp, Richard Holman, Nazeem White and Montrose Cricket Clubchairman, Razeen Allie.

Veteran cricketer Richard Holman has been playing club cricket for four decades now, and is still going strong.

This may sound like just another description, yet one cricketer has dedicated forty years to his craft, his passion, the game of cricket.

Holman started playing club cricket at the tender age of 12, when schoolboys were a common sight striding up to the crease for their club. Forty years later, with countless achievements and accolade to his credit, he is still going, the passion undiminished and the enjoyment obviously still evident.

So just how does a man commemorate such a milestone? One supposes most would regard it as a personal achievement, something to cherish and not make too much of it. And that is the way it probably was intended for Holman, if it was not for his opponents and teammates with whom he had built a healthy relationship through the game.

Just shy of his 13th birthday, the young lad turned out for the Gardens-Tech Second XL in the beginning. As a 17-year old, he got his first double for them, scoring 194 and taking 5 wickets in a match against Somerset West.

From those heady days, his career has been a long series of wickets and runs, although he readily admits to becoming less of an all-rounder and more of a bowler as he got older.

Asked what his club cricket tally of wickets taken is, and he is limited to offering an educated estimate, the significance of the game to him clearly lying elsewhere.

“I think it is around 2 300 wickets in between 700 and 800 matches,” he says.

Perhaps this is underlined by him joining Montrose Cricket Club in 1992, the year unification of cricket’s governing bodies took place.

While most cricketers stayed at their respective clubs, Holman joined the giants of the WPCB, where he became a respected member of their senior side, competing in the 1A League.

“Many of my friends, with whom I played action cricket, belonged to Montrose CC, so it was a natural progression for me,” he says.

Last Sunday saw a commemorative match between two star-studded teams taking to the field. Heading the opponents, was Homan’s younger brother, Donovan. The younger Holman, a whippersnapper at 49, is himself an accomplished cricketer, a star of the Cape Town Cricket Club of the 90s, where he earned and still holds bowling achievement records.

The teams featured players such as Proteas Adnaan Meyer, Shukry Conrad, Allison Johnson, Kenny Jackson and Hassan Pangarker.

Although match statistics would be of interest, it does not befit the occasion. The spirit was relaxed yet very competitive, although the older Holman’s team bagged the win. Defending a total of 99 off 20 overs, they won by 10 runs.

In our modern world of short careers and instant satisfaction, this achievement will remain unique.

The character of the man and his passion for the game burns brightly. Do not be surprised if you see a commemoration of his fifty years of club cricket.