I have to admit that I was excited by the prospect of playing against my old school, Prince Edward, in the PE Old Boys team, partly because I vividly remembered being on the other side of this fixture once upon a time when I was still a student in the 90s.
I faithfully arrived at 1.30pm, half an hour before kick-off as directed, along with a handful of other eager beavers and found myself in good time to take a look around. The school grounds look as good as they ever did when I was a student here and I was instantly transported back through a collage of different school day memories. My partner remarked that we seemed like some sort of secret society with our ‘PE handshakes’ and Old Boys regalia as the rest of the team began to arrive one by one.
Shortly after the allotted start time, everyone else had arrived and our ragtag group of unfit, unpractised and slightly hung-over, would-be cricketers made our way over to Tower field. Worried that our lack of match fitness would prevent us from giving the PE Under 16 team a good run for their money we decided to let the youngsters bat first and we quickly dispensed with official fielding placements like ‘fine leg’ and ‘gully’, opting instead for the more practical ‘over there’ and ‘back a bit’.
The first couple of wickets fell quickly, which was just as well as the under 16s began scoring runs at an alarming rate and the youngsters reached 80 odd inside the first 10 overs.
The wickets continued to fall and the best part of my own contribution came in the 14th over when I managed to bowl two of the sneaky run scorers out. We continued to take regular wickets through to the 19th over when we bowled them out but even these attempted heroics couldn’t stop the Prince Edward side reaching a daunting 165.
Filled with false confidence and a touch of hidden worry, the Old Boys team began our run chase and while we managed to play out our allotted 20 overs, we only managed 111 in reply to the Under 16s’ tally.
The Under 14 vs. Old Boys match played itself out with almost an identical score, as the Old Boys managed just 109 in reply to Prince Edward’s Under 14s who also scored 165. And so we all adjourned to the Pavilion for drinks and snacks and a few words from Willard Muchena, ringleader of the PE old boys, the headmaster Mr Aggrippa G. Sora, Dr Brian Campbell, an old boy who was already grey haired even when I was at school, and Sebastian Garikayi, a former classmate of mine who is now head teacher in charge of sports at the school.
Everyone spoke passionately about the support the school still needs from its ex-students and I was pleased to see much love and pride for the school from the staff and old boys alike. It seems that after the hiccup of a few years ago when the PE Old Boys association almost collapsed entirely, it is now very much alive and well. I guess it is a testament to the profound effect that being a student in the school had on all of us, especially as the majority of Old Boys I met who currently have children of school-going age have opted to send them to private schools like St Georges or Peterhouse: and yet here they are, coming together and doing their bit to try and return their old school to its glory days.
Results PE U16 165 All out. Old Boys 111/8. PE won by 55 runs.
PE U14 165/8. Old Boys 109 All out. PE won by 57 runs.