As remembered by Howard Cook past Natal and Rhodesian provincial player –

1951 NATAL WATER POLO TEAM, JOINT NATIONAL CHAMPIONS. WINNERS OF THE 40TH CURRIE CUP TOURNAMENT IN EAST LONDON.Standing from left to right: R. Hooper, Howard Cook, R Beckett, J. Finnie and A. Littler.-Seated from left to right: B. Biljon. Lou Savage (captain) E. Column (manager) K. Job and D. Hill.


As remembered by Howard Cook past Natal and Rhodesian provincial player –

I am writing these notes from memory exactly as I remember them. They will be substantially accurate but not entirely considering they relate to things that happened between 75 and 55 years ago.

The South African water Polo Championship circa 1910

Before I write about what I personally experienced I would like to relate a water polo incident that took place in about 1910 in Durban (just after the formation of Union) and which I read about in about 1952 in a book on South African sport which I found in the Durban municipal reference library.

According to the article the circa 1910 South African Water Polo championship final took place in the Durban Beach Baths. The pool was then and still is 100 yards long and 25 yards wide and water polo was played in the deep end 25 yards – that is the polo field was 25 yards x 25 yards and between 7 and 8 feet deep. The pool was filled directly from the sea which is/was less than a stone throw away across the lower Marine Parade.

So swimming and water polo competitions took place in salt water which was pumped in raw from the sea, usually a heavy dark brown colour because of the pollution caused by the nearby Umgeni River. In those days an important rule of the game of water Polo was that when the referee blew his whistle players were required to remain completely stationary until the ball came back into play. Moving position to be nearer an opponent or to get away from one was an offence resulting in a free throw for the opponent. Repetitions resulted in the offender being thrown out of the pool until the next goal.

Regrettably these periods of immobility provided an ideal opportunity for older, less scrupulous players to engage in various abominable kinds of fouling such as attempting to break an opponent’s little finger, kicking in the testicles, and other equally despicable acts. That was the case in most swimming pools but the filthy seawater in Durban created ideal conditions to take these activities to extreme.

Apparently during the South African championship final referred to, between Natal and Transvaal, the water was particularly dirty and the game deteriorated beyond the control of the referee. Transvaal was receiving a battering and the spectators from that province began verbally abusing the referee for his lack of control. There were about 300 spectators watching the game, and spectators began verbally abusing one another on the stands. At one stage a particularly aggrieved Transvaal spectator ran down to the water’s edge and physically attacked the referee, resulting in both he and the referee landing in the water amongst the players.

This in turn incensed the Natal spectators who physically attacked the Transvaalers on the stands. The turmoil went on for several minutes and something over 100 people ended up in the deep end of the swimming pool. I can’t remember whether the game was abandoned or completed that night or at some subsequent stage. Anyway it sounds as though a jolly good time was had by all.

Learning to swim

In the period from the early 1940s to the mid-1950s which I am writing about, most of the Durban water polo players lived along or near to South Beach. Most of them were never taught to swim but learned by going into the sea or Durban Bay with their friends when they were around five years of age. Their first swim would typically be in the company of friends who themselves had just spontaneously swum the first time they tried. This would happen when they, like me, simply dived into the sea or the Bay and swam. I was about 13 years old in my initial year at high school when I first met anyone who couldn’t swim.

It’s not surprising that kids raised in that environment should go on to be extremely good natural swimmers and water polo players.

From the sea to the swimming pool

They literally lived in the sea and many became voluntary lifesavers. Round about the age of seven or eight many of them started frequenting the Durban Beach baths and some joined The Otters Swimming Club which was based in the Town Baths located in West Street opposite the City Hall.

The Town Baths was an indoor pool about 25 yards long and 15 yards wide and going from 2 feet deep to 6 feet deep. I’m not sure if it is still there. This too, was filled from the sea (or Durban Bay which was a little closer) and mostly was Umgeni brown in colour and very salty. Here the youngsters received their first formal swimming lessons and training and many of them became top swimmers. Those that didn’t took up water Polo and played a lot of it when not on duty with the Durban Surf Lifesaving Club or the Pirates Lifesaving Club both of which manned different Durban beaches.

The only other swimming club that I remember at this stage (probably 1943 to 1947) was The Tech Swimming Club.

Water polo leagues

Both clubs had a number of water polo teams and the water polo league in Natal took place between them and The Seals club in Pietermaritzburg. There was a first, second and third team league and from time to time an under 18 league.  Needless to say, females never played water polo in those days and the boys considered themselves very lucky if they could persuade some of the girls to join them in a friendly water Polo match from time to time.

Rachel Finlayson

There were a number of swimming coaches in the clubs but the most prominent of them was Mrs Rachel Finlayson after whom the Durban Beach baths were subsequently named. She was affectionately known as Ma Finn and was at the Durban Beach baths for about an hour and a half every single weekday for years and years. She made more effective the swimming style and the fitness of any swimmer that she could lay her hands on, including water polo players if they couldn’t get away.

I was first exposed to her when I was about 12 years old and she was still coaching whoever wanted her help when I eventually left Durban for Northern Rhodesia in 1954. She did it for the love of the sport and never charged a cent. For all those years she was the official coach of the Natal swimming team and she trained many a South African champion.

Natal Water Polo

During the years that I am referring to here Natal was a formidable force in South African water polo. I can’t recall which club was the main force in Natal during the earlier years that I played, but I strongly recollect that Seals from Pietermaritzburg dominated the Natal water polo first league from 1947 to about 1952. This was mainly under the influence of their captain Lou Savage who continued to play well into his 40s and captained the Natal team for quite a few years. The most powerful players for Natal then were Alfie Littler a formidable centre forward, Ron Hooper, right wing, Derek Hill, right back and of course Lou Savage centre half.

In the late 1940s a major new sports field was created on the south side of Addington Hospital which was located on the beachfront at South Beach. A club was established called Addington Sports Club which had soccer, baseball, hockey and swimming/water polo sections. The facility did not include a swimming pool so the water polo team based itself at the Durban Beach baths. In about 1953 the Addington club’s first league water polo team gave the Seals team their first defeat for years.

Currie cup

The Natal water polo team was during this entire period one of the top three teams in South Africa and won the Currie Cup from time to time. The other top teams were Southern Transvaal and Western Province, followed closely by Northern Transvaal. The other teams that participated in the Currie Cup were Border (East London), Eastern Province (Port Elizabeth), Orange Free State (Bloemfontein) and Rhodesia (including Northern and Southern Rhodesia).

The Currie Cup and Ellis Brown Trophy competitions took place at a different venue every year, but both during the same week.

Getting and keeping fit

Natal also produced many South African champion swimmers. While the swimmers were subjected to rigorous and disciplined training, the water polo players in those days were not. They got fit by doing a bit of distance swimming and a huge amount of playing water polo games and in groups of 5 to 10 guys shooting at goal for hours on end every evening.

They also played a great deal of “Tiggie” or “tag” which involved one person being “on” and having to touch one of the other players, upon which the person touched was “on” and had to chase the others until he touched one of them. The game took place across one corner of the deep end of the pool. Players were not allowed to run around the corner but had to dive into the water and climb out on the other side to evade the person who was “on”. This game would be played, particularly by the water polo players still at school, every afternoon from about 3 until 5 PM at which time water polo matches would take place followed by shooting at goal until about 7 PM each night.

During the winter – almost non-existent in Durban – most of the guys played hockey and a huge amount of touch rugby was played on the beaches in between body and a board surfing.

Additional fitness was achieved by the players who would ultimately make up the Natal water polo team being involved interminably in water polo trial games. These methods were pretty unscientific but they were a lot of fun and produced teams that were repeatedly amongst the best in the country.

In about 1952 Alex Bulley who had been South African Olympic swimming coach based, I think, in the Southern Transvaal, came to live in Durban and took over as the main swimming and water polo coach of the Natal team. He brought with him much more formal and rigorous training methods, which for water polo players started every evening with 1000 yard swim, regarded by some players as completely lunatic. Notwithstanding that it certainly had a very positive effect on the fitness of water polo players.

New Rules

Currie Cup 1951, which took place in Kimberley and was my first Currie Cup, saw the last of the old rules in which players had to remain still after the whistle blew for an infringement. With the introduction of the new rules which allowed players to move after the whistle blew and considerably speeded up the game of course, many of the old timers dropped out of the game because they couldn’t keep up with the pace. In those days the game had no chukka’s and lasted for two halves each of 7 minutes actual playing time. Each player played for the whole 14 minutes because replacements were not permitted, except for injury.

The arrangement of no replacements and no chukka’s continued after the introduction of the new rules allowing movement after the whistle blew and, of course, required players who were much fitter than under the old rules.

In the 1951 Currie Cup there was a triple tie between the Natal, Western Province and Southern Transvaal for first place.

The 1952 Curry Cup took place in Johannesburg. It was very difficult for Natal players who were used to playing in warm conditions – and the Durban players in the Natal team were used to playing in salt water so the altitude, the cold and the fresh water had a devastating effect on the performance of the Natal team which did badly that year. It would have been even more devastating had it not been for the more rigorous training methods of Alex Bulley.

The game between Southern Transvaal and Rhodesia

The Rhodesian team usually came about 5th in the Currie Cup competition after Southern Transvaal, Natal, Western Province and Northern Transvaal and before Eastern Cape, Border and Orange Free State and had a reputation for being somewhat less than the cleanest team around. Captain of many years had been a really tough and uncompromising player called Richard Foster who motivated the team to great exploits at Each Currie Cup.

The 1952 Curry Cup game in Johannesburg between Southern Transvaal and Rhodesia turned out to be one of the most remarkable games that I ever saw. About halfway through the game when Rhodesia was under great pressure some dirty play found its way into the game which resulted in four Southern Transvaalers and three Rhodesians being thrown out by the referee due to serious fouls.

This left a goalkeeper and two other players in the water for Southern Transvaal and a goalkeeper and three other players for Rhodesia, with the rest sitting out until the next goal was scored. The game went on for a surprisingly long time with a total of seven players in the water for both teams and eventually Southern Transvaal scored a goal right near the end of the game, to win. Most of the spectators thought they had witnessed something pretty unusual.

That was one of Richard Foster’s last Currie cup games because he retired not long after.

Shark attacks

During World War II some ships were sunk by submarines off the Natal coast and from time to time human bodies washed ashore. There was one particularly bad occasion probably around 1942/3 when over 300 bodies washed ashore on Durban’s north and south beaches. Many of them had been badly mutilated by shark attack probably posthumously. The City authorities had a hard time finding cold storage space for the bodies until they could be buried. According to press reports at the time they used some of the cold storage facilities provided for Durban’s meat supply. Many of us ate meat with lang tande for quite some time after that.

There were some shark attacks during the war – particularly surf fishermen near River mouths – and after the war shark attacks increased. I particularly remember the period from about 1949 to 1951 when four young men that I knew were attacked by sharks, one of them on two separate occasions.

I mention this because all of the water polo players were avid surfers and fear of shark attack became a nasty reality which, in fact, remained with us for the rest of our lives – to this very day. I guess that much less time would have been spent in the swimming pools and much more in the sea if it hadn’t been for that fear. However, it never really stopped us from surfing.

Here is a brief description of the five shark attacks on the four people that I knew.

The first involved a youngster of about 18 years old who was a member of the Durban Surf lifesaving club’s first lifesaving team. The incident occurred when they were training for the South African Surf lifesaving championships at about five o’clock one afternoon at South Beach.

His name was Brian van Berg and his role was patient, which involved swimming out beyond the breakers and waiting for the beltman who was usually the strongest swimmer in the team to swim out and “rescue” him. No one had thought of using a plastic bottle to keep people in distress on the surface while they were pulled to shore by their rescuer.

Instead the rescue team comprised a beltman whose job it was to swim out to the person in trouble in the water, wearing a harness to which was fastened several hundred metres of strong thin white rope; a team of strong young men had the job of feeding the rope out as the beltman swam towards the drowning person and then to pull the beltman and his patient in to shore when the beltman indicated that he had a firm grip on the patient.

Pulling the rope was a highly skilled activity because if the pullers got the timing wrong and pulled when a wave had rolled over the beltman and patient they could be drowned because it was almost impossible to get to the surface while being dragged under the water at high speed.

The beltman, who incidentally was my cousin Neville Cook, saw Brian disappear under the water when he was about 2 yards away from him and assuming that Brian was fooling around he dived underwater to grab him. As he dived he threw his arm into the air to get impetus to go underwater and his teammates on the rope took this as a signal that he was ready to be pulled in and immediately began to pull. Neville’s frantic efforts to signal them to stop pulling him had no effect initially and he was pulled several yards back. As soon as the team stopped pulling Neville swam back to where Brian had been and dived around for him but he was not there.

He was never seen again and it was assumed that he was taken by a big great white shark.

The second of the five attacks also took place at Durban South Beach immediately next to West Street Pier which was a favourite fishing pier erected many years before.

It was about four o’clock in the afternoon and a number of swimmers and water polo players were surfing. The waves were breaking several hundred yards from the shore. The victim this time was Ernie Thomson – later the father of Sean Thomson who became world surfing champion. Ernie was at the time South African 100 yards swimming champion. He had just caught a slide and had turned to go back out to the breakers when he was attacked by something that ripped one of his biceps from his arm and left him bleeding badly and seriously shocked.

Ernie managed to stay afloat and all of the swimmers out where the waves were breaking realised, from the shouting of people on the pier and on the shore who had seen the incident, what had happened and swam like hell for the shore. All of them in terror swam past Ernie, except one Brian Biljoen, a Natal water polo player who stayed with him despite the risk of further attack because of all the blood in the water, and helped him to the shore.

Ernie survived the attack but was maimed for the rest of his life. Obviously he never swam competitively again. This attack sent shockwaves through the whole of the Natal swimming fraternity.

The third attack also took place on Durban South Beach at about five o’clock in the afternoon immediately in front of Addington Hospital. This time the victim was Clive Dumayne

He was a member of a Glenwood High School lifesaving team that was training for the Bronze Medallion. I was their coach and had spent lunchtime on the day of the attack training the team. Clive went down to the beach for an hour or so of surfing at about 4: 30 that afternoon. The surf was great and there were quite a few youngsters with him when the attack occurred. Their consensus was that he had been hit by something very large and had screamed “shark” and then disappeared under the water. He was never seen again.

The fourth attack took place at one of the beaches south of the Umgeni River mouth where the Pirates Lifesaving Club was based. I never heard the details of the attack but it resulted in serious injury to the foot of the victim Gawie Botha a well-known member of the Pirates Club.

The fifth attack was on the same victim some time later. Again I don’t have the detail but this time the injury was that a big chunk of Gawies buttock was taken out. He remained an avid lifesaver and swimmer despite the two attacks which had left his foot and buttock rather badly disfigured.

A number of other attacks occurred up and down the Natal coast until the Durban City Council authorised the installation of shark nets at all important beaches in 1952. These had the effect of almost eliminating shark attacks on the Natal coast, and of course shark nets remain an important deterrent to this very day.

A couple of light-hearted events involving an ex-water polo player called Louis Fridjon

After of those harrowing stories of shark attacks here are a couple of light-hearted stories of events that took place at the Durban beach baths around the same time.

Most of the competitive swimming and water polo activities, both training and competition took place between 6 and 7 AM and 4 and 7 PM. However during the day, especially in the mornings the beach baths were a hive of activity. A large number of retired people used to swim for exercise every day and there was what today would be called a personal trainer who ran a successful business helping people to improve their physiques and their physical fitness.

His name was Louis Fridjon. Louis at that time was about 55 years of age, slightly shorter than medium height, very muscular and in superb physical condition. He had clients all over South Africa and came to the beach baths daily with clients for coaching sessions. He was an ex-Southern Transvaal water polo player who occasionally joined the youngsters during afternoon sessions shooting at goal. His sole shot was an unbelievably powerful back flip that could pin the goalie to the back of the net, that he delighted in shooting at goal from beyond the halfway point, with great success.

  1. The shark challenge

During this period a Durban shark fisherman broke the world record for the landing of a shark caught from the shore as opposed to from a boat. His name was Cecil Jacobs and he received huge publicity for the feat. By the way the shark weighed over 2000 lbs.

Being an astute businessman Louis decided to get a slice of the publicity and challenged Cecil to a contest to take place in the beach baths at a swimming gala.

The challenge was that Cecil could not pull Louis with his rod and line the length of the pool (100 yards) in less than a specified time. I can’t remember the time but it was about five minutes I think.

The challenge caught the imagination of the press and the public and received unprecedented publicity for a swimming event in Durban. Swimming Gala’s at the beach baths typically brought in about 300 spectators, rising to about 500 for more important events. The shark challenge, as it was called, attracted about 4000 people and took place at the beginning of a normal swimming gala.

There was a great buzz of excitement before the event began while Cecil got his tackle ready and Louis limbered up. Cecil was located at the entrance to the men’s change rooms on the edge and in the middle of the deep end of the pool. 100 yards down the pool in the shallow end Louis donned a canvas harness attached to the end of Cecil’s line.

The idea was that at the signal from the starter, a pistol shot, Cecil would start winding Louis in and the latter would try to remain in the shallow end using his powerful breaststroke (and it really was powerful). Excitement expanded to a crescendo of voices shouting for one or other of the contestants as the starter raised his pistol.

Of course there was no one else in the pool, which had four strong wooden stairs, for people who didn’t want to dive into the water to walk down. The stairs were removable, for cleaning purposes. As soon as the pistol was fired Cecil placed himself into a squatting position which enabled him to rock to and fro pulling Louis and with the backward movement and winding the loose line up with the forward movement. Within seconds it became abundantly clear that the human swimmer, powerful as he was, was no match for a man who could land a 2000 pound shark on Durban South Beach, even although it took him about 10 hours to do so.

Notwithstanding this Louis put up a heroic fight with much diving under the water, splashing and swimming from side to side of the pool. When it became clear to him that he didn’t stand a chance he swam for the nearest stairs and grabbed hold to prevent being pulled any nearer the deep end. This offended the normal South African sense of fair play and incensed part of the crowd who screamed abuse at Louis. Cecil was powerful enough to pull him off the steps and continue dragging him towards the deep end.

Being the fighter that he was Louis went for the next steps about 25 yards nearer the deep end and grabbed hold more tightly than with the first one. This further incensed the crowd which, incidentally, was standing about four deep around the entire swimming pool to watch the event, many very close to the water. Some started to shout abuse at the swimmer and a number surged forward and tried to kick him off the steps. When this failed to dislodge him a number of spectators grabbed the heavy steps and threw them, with Louis hanging on desperately, on top of his body into the water.

This finally dislodged him under the water and he was dragged some distance towards the deep end before he surfaced, grasping for air. After that the end was a matter of a minute or so while Cecil pulled him swiftly across the surface of the water to the edge of the deep end to win the competition.

The whole thing lasted less than 5 minutes as we should have known it would, comparing the 2000 pounds of a hugely powerful great white shark and the hundred and eighty pounds of even the fittest of men. Strangely enough the event attracted all those people and caused such excitement (it was the main discussion point in Durban during the previous week) because people were not able to make that comparison.

Anyway Louis Fridjon received transient fame and considerable publicity for his trouble.

  1. The Cast iron shoes

One afternoon I arrived at the pool at about 4 PM to find the professional lifesaver sitting at his favourite spot on the stands convulsed with mirth. He couldn’t wait tell me what had happened. I should mention that the man in question was the exact opposite in attitude, physique and activity of Louis Fridjon. He drank and caroused his way through most nights, chain smoked all day, and I think was lucky to keep his job as one of the professional lifesavers at the Durban beach baths. Heaven knows what would have happened if he had had to exert serious energy to save someone from drowning.

Notwithstanding that he was a lovable character and very popular with the swimmers and water polo players.

This is what he told me.

He was sitting on the stands in his favourite spot when at about 3:15 that afternoon Louis Fridjon arrived for his afternoon swim which usually comprised about 500 yards of crawl and breaststroke in equal proportions. However on this day he noticed that Louis had with him two rather heavy flat shoes made of cast iron with suitable straps to hold them onto his feet.

While he was strapping the shoes on the lifesaver asked him what he was doing and he explained that he had decided to attach the weights to his feet in order to give his arms and legs more work during his swim. The lifesaver was a bit sceptical but decided to watch with interest.

Louis walked with some difficulty to the edge of the pool at a point about 15 yards from the nearest steps, prepared himself to enter the water and then jumped in feet first, the shoes being too heavy to allow him to dive head first as normally.

While the lifesaver watched, according to him for nearly 30 seconds, there was no sign of the physical trainer and he became anxious for the man’s safety. Bear in mind that the water was completely opaque because of the mud from the Umgeni River. Just as he decided that he would have to dive into the water and rescue Louis the man came walking out of the water up the steps, breathing rather heavily. The shoes were much too heavy for the role that they were intended to play and might well have led to the extremely unfortunate situation where the reprobate lifesaver had to actually enter the water to save somebody.

Because of Louis’s strength he was able to walk along the bottom of the pool feeling his way for the stairs, knowing approximately where they were. He never used the shoes again.

The Northern Rhodesian Copperbelt and Rhodesian water polo

In 1954 my wife and I emigrated to Northern Rhodesia and settled on the Copperbelt which was in many ways as close to paradise as you will get on earth.

At that time there was a copper boom in the world and Northern Rhodesia was the third biggest producer after Chile and the then Belgian Congo. Young people were flooding into the Copperbelt from all over South Africa and also from Britain. Employment conditions were extraordinarily good including sporting facilities provided by the copper mines.

The Copperbelt is approximately 4000 feet in altitude, which means that the tropical climate is considerably cooled down by the altitude, and also by the tropical rains that typically belt down between three and four almost every afternoon and leave the sky clear for the rest of the day. It has five towns located about 50 miles apart from one another roughly in a circular formation. The towns then were called Bancroft, Chingola, Mufulira, Kitwe, Kalulushi, Luanshya and Ndola. Kitwe was more or less in the centre and the others located around it in a 50 mile radius.

Each town had its own golf course, beautifully kept by its mine (except Ndola which did not have an operating mine at this time but had a generous copper refinery), magnificent swimming pool, rugby, soccer and hockey fields, tennis courts and every other imaginable sporting facility in addition to its own cinema, and little theatre for amateur dramatics.

For sporting purposes the whole Copperbelt operated as one city. In other words sporting leagues involved every town, so that you would play your particular game in a different town every weekend, travelling the 50 miles there and 50 miles back quite happily on very good tarred roads.

In this environment every town except Kalulushi and Bancroft, which were very small and each very close to a much bigger town – Kitwe and Chingola respectively – has its own sporting team for each sporting discipline. The more popular sports had first, second and sometimes third league teams, as for example with tennis.

All of the towns with the 2 exceptions mentioned, had their own swimming clubs which had water polo sections. The standard was very high and competition was very keen.

Towards the end of the swimming season trials would begin – usually held in Ndola – for the Northern Rhodesian water polo team to play Southern Rhodesia and participate in the national team which would take part in the South African Currie Cup. The team representing Northern and Southern Rhodesia was a national team because it represented the newly created Federation of Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia, and Nyasaland.

We were still playing under the rules where replacements were not permitted except for injury and the game comprised two halves of 7 minutes playing time each. Because the trials took place towards the end of the season everyone was reasonably fit from training and playing in the league, but as had been the case in Natal, players were brought to peak fitness by having to participate in trial games one after the other with no break for as many as five games at a stretch.

The one-year that I participated in the national trials we played Southern Rhodesia in the then Salisbury (I can’t remember the score but I think they beat us) and then went on to the then Gwelo (located between Salisbury and Bulawayo) for the national trials.

The team-leader also selected to represent Rhodesia was mainly Southern Rhodesian but had a good number of Northern Rhodesian’s, including the captain.

That year (1955) the Currie cup was in Pretoria. The Northern Rhodesian team travelled by car from the Copperbelt to Salisbury, spent a few days there training and then went on with the Southern Rhodesians by car to Pretoria, taking two days over the trip, with a stop at Messina for a heavy training session.

As I have mentioned earlier in these notes the Rhodesian team was not known for being the cleanest in the Currie Cup, and they also had a reputation for pranks. We arrived in Pretoria on the Friday afternoon before the start of the Currie cup on the Monday. On the Saturday afternoon (I was team captain) the team manager contacted me and told me that our team was alleged to have “kidnapped” one of the Southern Transvaal players and to have secreted him away for several hours, to the consternation and increasing annoyance of his team management.

I was instructed to get him back to his team. I had not been with the Rhodesian team during this episode and had to go looking for the players, whom I eventually found tucked away in a corner of the hotel with their hostage. I had been told by our manager that the Southern Transvaal management was genuinely annoyed and might take the matter to the civil authorities if their man was not returned unharmed immediately. This, of course, could have serious implications for those involved.

The Rhodesian team members that had carried out the “kidnap”, one of whom was a professional magistrate (the famous Rex Killick), couldn’t believe it was being treated so seriously and I had great difficulty persuading them to release the player forthwith, which after much more persuasion they did.

After that The Currie Cup proceeded with its normal excitement and activity for the next week terminating, as usual in the Saturday night dance. That year Rhodesia finished fifth in the competition – which was its normal position – and everyone went home having had and unbelievable week, as usual.


Standing: R Wood  P Hancock  T Jones  G James  D Wood

Sitting: W Duncan  Howard Cook (Capt.)  G Inge (Manager)  R Killick (Vice Capt)