A Proud Cricketing History
DHS was established in 1866 in a two roomed building in Smith Street with an enrolment of seven. This had increased to 40 by the end of that first year. After a few moves the “new” School was built on the Berea, on its present site, opening in 1895. Today 900 learners attend the School, including 120 boarders. The School motto is “Deo Fretus”.
The School Colours are Oxford Blue and Old Gold. The School cricket cap is blue, the 1st XI cap is gold and the full colours cap is half blue and half gold.
The first mention of cricket at DHS was in 1888 when the Headmaster, W H Nicholas, sought funds from the Town Council to lay out a cricket pitch on the old Hospital site. There were only two matches played against Maritzburg College prior to 1897. The first was at the Durban Oval (now Albert Park) and the next in Pietermaritzburg. Between 1897 and 1906 a series of matches took place between the two sides in which the Greenacre Cup was at stake. Hilton College also participated but later withdrew. The first DHS Old Boy to represent Natal was E G Lamport in 1889, and the first to represent South Africa was G H Shepstone in 1899.
The L C W Theobald Oval was named in honour of the doyen of DHS cricket coaches and a driving force in Natal Schools’ cricket.
The first of a number of highly successful periods in the cricketing history of DHS was immediately after the 1st World War with Jack Siedle, Cliff Tutton and John Stirling leading the cause. Ten years later (1930 to 1932) it was the Sparks brothers (Dudley and Harry) who formed the spearhead of a fearsome attack. It was, however, the early 1960’s that produced probably the most memorable DHS sides. It culminated in the 1962 team led by B L Irvine and contained the likes of B A Richards and M B Heath. Irvine scored 1310 runs in 21 marches (5 centuries) and Richards 898. There were 9 century partnerships compiled by the team which averaged 81 runs to the hour throughout the season. Lee Irvine captains SA Schools that year as did Barry Richards in 1963 when the Nuffield side toured England.
The list of highly successful men who coached the DHS 1s XI over the years includes two who were to become Headmasters (A C Martin and D C Thompson), C Payn (better known in rugby circles), A Goldwater and D H Tregear in the 20s and 30s and many others. There is no doubting that the best known of them all was “Theo”. L C W Theobald coached between 1950 and 1965 and, apart from the success he had with the School side, played a significant role as Selector, Offord Week Organiser and Natal Schools’ Manager in the administration of schoolboy cricket in Natal.
The School has produced 36 South African Schools’ players, including six Captains. The Tayfield family filled three of those places but the legendary Hugh was not one of them. Many others became well known at higher cricketing levels. Thirty Six DHS Old Boys have been selected to play for South Africa, three as Captain, and the list includes five in the 1960 side that toured England. Not in the list is P M Dodds; a left arm spinner, who in 1962 established the record for the most number of wickets taken for Natal in a season, and in the words of the immortal Theo, “was singularly unfortunate not to have represented his country”.
Since 1993 the School has had a successful period producing 10 SA Schools players of which two were Captain of the team. During this same period the School provided Mike Rindel, Dale Benkenstein and Jon Kent to the SA One Day side; Tyrone Henderson to the SA 20/20 team and Richard Snell, Lance Klusener, Hashim Amla and Imraan Khan to the SA Test side. Lance Klusener was named Player of the Tournament in the 1999 World Cup held in England. Imraan Khan and Jonathan Vandiar have also captained the SA U19 team and Hashim Amla and Imraan Khan have both captained the Dolphins.
The history and achievements of our cricket players is impressive.