Varsity Sports cancels hockey and cricket 

The well-known sports event disappointed qualifying teams by removing the hockey and cricket tournaments this year. 

Wits’ cricket and hockey team members qualifying to participate in the varsity cup games — alongside the top eight universities in South Africa — will not be partaking in the sports due to lack of sponsorship.  

Sharmin Naidoo, the sports officer for hockey at Wits said that sponsors pulled their funding from supporting these games; and new ones could not be found. According to the Varsity Sports website, the main sponsors for all included sports are FNB, Cashbuild and Suzuki. However, it is not yet clear why they pulled their money from cricket and hockey.  

Naidoo explained that all universities are part of a company called University Sports Company, which contracted ASEM Sports Entertainment and Media to manage and get sponsorships for Varsity Sports. 

 “This year they were only able to find sponsors for Varsity Cup [the rugby tournament] and some varsity sports. There have been no sponsors for cricket and hockey,” he said.   

The Wits Cricket team at the Walter Milton cricket oval on Wits main campus after winning their last match of the league in April 2023. Photo: Kimberley Kersten

Naidoo said that the varsity sports which have secured sponsorship besides rugby are men and women’s football as well as netball. 

The Wits hockey team has a history of competing in the Varsity Hockey tournament, according to Naidoo, and finished in second place in 2022. 

 However, Nono Pongolo, coach of the Wits’ cricket team said that to his knowledge, the team has never qualified to be included in the Varsity tournament, and “to have it ripped away from them like that is disappointing”. 

He said the team worked hard to win in their division in Pretoria, in the USSA tournament in 2022; and it is important for them to continue showcasing their talents. 

Pongolo added that the universities are organising a smaller cricket event amongst themselves which is set to take place at the University of Pretoria later this year, “so it’s not all doom and gloom, but it’s not the varsity cup.” However, he hope that they will be able to participate in the tournament in 2024. 

Wits’ cricket player Joshua Streak said Varsity Cup “is significant because of its name” and even though there are other tournaments, there are not as big. He added, “It’s an important tournament when it comes to [national and provincial] selections, and for exposure because it’s usually televised.”  

Wit’s hockey and cricket player Reese Scheepers said, “I’m extremely disappointed. We work extremely hard during the year to play in such a tournament. Now it feels like our hard work and talent won’t be displayed.” He continued, “I’m a passionate sportsman and I look[ed] forward to competing in such tournaments and now it feels like this year has been lost.”  

Storme Johnson, the chairperson of the Wits sports council, who played hockey for Wits in the Varsity Sports 2019 tournament said, “It was an experience that I will never forget. It is so sad that the younger girls in our team won’t get the opportunity to experience it.” 

Wits Vuvuzela reached out to previous sponsors of Varsity cricket and hockey for comment; but did not receive a reply by the time of publishing.

FEATURED IMAGE: a Wits cricket player kneels on the field after catching a ball at the Walter Milton cricket oval at Wits main campus. Photo: Kimberley Kersten


Wits Cricket Club Premier League Champions

An unbeaten season for Wits Cricket Club secures a historic first place victory in the Gauteng Premier League 50-over format.

On Sunday, April 2, Wits Cricket Club played in the last game of the season and beat Kagiso Cricket Club by eight wickets. The Wits side were first on the Enza league table and needed a win to maintain their position.

Wits Cricket Club celebrate after restricting Kagiso Cricket Club to 181 runs on Sunday, April 2, 2023 at Wits main campus.
Photo: Kimberley Kersten

After forfeiting the toss, Kagiso were sent in to bat first. They got off to a good start in the power play with the first few wickets, but shortly after Wits were able to pull that lead back. With Mohammad Manack’s fantastic spell of five wickets for 21 in 10 overs, Wits restricted Kagiso to a subpar 181 runs.

Ndumiso Mvelase, Kagiso Cricket Club’s vice-captain said that the game was competitive but enjoyable, he said: “We knew that we were playing against the champs and ultimately we came out on the wrong side.”

When Wits took to batting, they were met with the fall of the skipper (Deeran Baba) in the opening overs. But Billy Van Zyl 65* (106) and Manack 81 (78) steadied the ship with a match winning partnership. Lions player, Conner Esterhuisen, struck the final blow with an explosive 25 not out, propelling Wits to 182/2 with 17 overs to spare.

This win marked the second trophy for the team this season after winning the USSA B division in December 2022, which saw them qualify for Varsity Cup and promoted them to the USSA A division.

Spectator Willem Van Zyl said: “The coaches have a lot of experience, they really know what they’re doing.” The new head coach, previous Lions player Nono Pongolo, who took up the post at the start of the year, looks forward to building upon the season’s success by preparing for Varsity Cup in the winter.

Speaking to the season that was, Captain of the Wits Cricket club, Deeran Baba, said: “The boys have worked hard behind the scenes to put out results every weekend and success has come our way. There is definitely more to come.”

FEATURED IMAGE: Wits batsman, Mohammad Manack, hits a ball against Kagiso Cricket Club on Sunday April 2, 2023 at Wits. Photo: Kimberley Kersten



Wits Cricket heading to the top

WICKET DOWN: All-rounder Imeraan Fredricks leaves the field after only batting a few runs. Photo: Lutho Mtongana

WICKET DOWN: All-rounder Imeraan Fredricks leaves the field after only batting a few runs.   Photo: Lutho Mtongana

Wits University is hoping to walk away with a comprehensive win against Randburg Cricket Club this Sunday in a time format game at home.
Croxley Wits Cricket is currently second on the Gauteng Premier league table with Old Parktonian Cricket Club in top spot. Randburg is currently in 6th place.
Wits will be relying on their bowling and fielding strength and hoping to improve on their batting performance in this weekend’s game.
Player-coach Neil Levenson, a former Randburg head coach, says he knows that Randburg has a good bowling unit with experienced players but says their batting is weak and he hopes his team will capitalise on this.
The plan is to “put them under pressure by leading with a good score”, Levenson said.
Wits batsman Nono Pongolo said they want to “carry on batting well. “Posting big scores so that we can have a chance of bowling them twice.”
But, Pongolo said, Wits lacks a strong batting partnership as they are still a young team. He believes though that if they carry on batting well, combined with their strong bowling unit, Wits will be “difficult to beat”.
Levenson added that he had a good relationship with Randburg players and when he was with them cricket was different, “it was about developing their players … They are an experienced team now.”
Last Sunday the team played their strongest opposition in Dobsonville Cricket Club and drew the match after running out of time.
The premier league is played in a time format with two innings a day and 60 overs. In the first innings there are 10 wickets and the second, five. Wits cricket have three games left.
Wits has played 7 games since the league started, won three, lost two and drew 2. They have three games in hand before the league finishes at the end of March.

SCIENCE INSIDE: I don’t like cricket, I love it!

We’re one week into the cricket world cup and today’s show looks at the science behind the sport. Experts and cricketers explain how the speed of the ball effects the game, what lucid dreaming can do to improve a batsman and all about the size, shape and make of cricket gear.

Finally, Michael Stevens from Jumping Kids and Dr Mariette Conning from the CSIR talk about how to build a prosthetic limb for a child cricket star.

The Science Inside, the show that goes inside the science of major news events, is produced by Paul McNally, Anina Mumm, DJ Keyez and Lutfiyah Suliman for The Wits Radio Academy. Tune in live to VowFM every Monday at 6pm.

If the full podcast does not load automatically, please click here.

An easy win for Wits against VUT

THE PRESSURE: Nono Pongolo, captain for first team cricket after being taken out by VUT.

THE PRESSURE: Nono Pongolo, captain for first team cricket after his dismissal. Photo: Lutho Mtongana

The Croxley Wits Cricket Club beat out  the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) yesterday in a time-limited format that lasted 9 hours.

Both teams were expected to bat twice but Wits only took to the pitch once after bowling out VUT in both innings.

While Wits emerged victorious their win was not easy with VUT putting up a strong bowling performance. The Wits wickets tumbled after they lost their batting partnership of player-coach Neil Levenson and JC Maritz. VUT put pressure on Wits on the first innings but Wits managed to win the innings with just one wicket. In the second innings Wits bowled out VUT on 48, winning to the match by 112.

“VUT is struggling a bit, it has lost quite a few players because a lot [of players] moved to another university so it’s been quite tough for them”, Levenson said.

VUT coach Orkie Engelbrecht said his team’s biggest competitor in the league is Wits and he knew this was not going to be an easy game for them.

“The highlight of the game is the discipline in bowling on both sides … Wits is doing very well with the catchers”, Engelbrecht told Wits Vuvuzela.

Nono Pongolo, first team captain for Wits, said they had the best bowling team in the league even though their batting still needed some work.

“Our batting is still coming together because we’re still quite a youngish team. There are 18 and 19-year-old players in our team … So there’s a lot of learning but also we’re trying to win the game so it’s not easy,” he added.

Wits will face Dobsonville, their toughest competitor in the league, in two week’s time.

Croxley Wits Cricket Club have played five games since the league started, winning three with six more games to play.



Don’t get stumped by cricket bru

Infographic by Mia Swart

It’s that time of the year again – when camp chairs, people  lathered in sun screen and crowded cars make their way to stadiums to watch cricket.

I use the word “watch” loosely here because even though I have been to many cricket games, I’ve never really watched. I have no recollection of who won and who lost.I don’t even remember who was playing.

What I do recall is the amount of booze that was flowing, getting burnt by the sun and the many details of the “deep meaningful conversations” I had with my friends pitch side. This cricket season I refuse to be a mindless spectator. I want to engage and scream my lungs out like the rest of the crowd. I sought out the help of a few fanatics. CRICKET 3

Hopefully what they told me will help other people who have been using the cricket as an excuse to work on their phuza faces.


Let’s start with the teams. There are 11 players on each team. “Teams bat in successive innings and attempt to score runs, while the opposing team fields and attempts to bring an end to the batting team’s innings,” said student and player, Kagiso Mathaba.

An inning is just one half of the game that each team gets an opportunity to bat or bowl.

Simply, apart from winning, part of the game is to get as many runs as possible without losing too many wickets.


The fastest way to do this is to hit 4s and 6s. A 4 is when the ball hits the boundary line and a 6 is when the ball is hit clean over that line. The slowest way of getting runs is manually running between the wickets.

Some of the main ways of being taken out are: a direct catch after the ball has been hit by a batsman, LBW (leg before wicket) when the ball hits a batsman’s leg which is directly in line with a wicket.

A  run out is when a batsman fails to make it back to the crease (you might have to look this up, I did). Also each batsman represents a wicket, so by the time 10 wickets/batsmen have been bowled out it’s late for the said team.

Duckworth-Lewis method

What I found most interesting is the fact that a team can win a game without playing an entire game.

Apparently when it rains, the Duckworth-Lewis method is used to calculate how a team would have carried on playing had it not been for the rain – but they have to play for a considerable amount of time for this method to be used.

“It’s a strategic game, it’s as much about playing as it is about thinking – it’s about tactical one-upmanship.

“The greatest thing about cricket is the commentary,” said a sports aficionado in the Wits Vuvuzela newsroom.

It’s all in the hands, from spectators who lift beers to umpires with their customised signals, to commentators who offer visual illustrations of the game as it unfolds.

Wits outplayed by Alberton

Croxley Wits lost by one run to Alberton Cricket Club to miss out on a place in this season’s 20/20 club final, at the Lindeque Oval in Alberton.

Alberton won the toss and elected to bat first, scoring a modest 140 for nine in their allotted 20 overs.

Hancke von Ravenstein and Duvaal Patel stood out as the in-form bowlers. Von Ravenstein ended the innings with figures of two for 19 in his allotted four overs. Patel stood out with figures of three for 23 in his three overs.

Croxley Wits were set a target of 141 by the in 20 overs.

Gareth Benton and von Ravenstein, both fresh from good innings’ in the previous three games and in top form, came out aggressive. Benton and von Ravenstein set the Wits innings up well as they put up 85 for the first wicket, before von Ravenstein was dismissed for 48 off 35 balls.

Von Ravenstein’s wicket started the collapse, as James Pagan (0), Jason Ferreira (4), Douglas Clack (1), Duvaan Patel (1) and Gareth Benton (47) were dismissed in quick succession.

Croxley Wits were left at trailing at 117 for 6, requiring 24 runs off less than three overs.

Jekkro Mawydzi tried in vain to rescue the innings with a brave 21 runs off 24 balls, but Wits fell just one run short of a draw forcing a super-over.

Alberton cricket club won the match with one run and booked a place in the final of this season’s Gauteng club 20/20 tournament.

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Croxley Wits hits opposition for six

BA- uties’ Winning Performance

Titans on Top: The Humanities Titans celebrate with a few cold ones after extending their winning streak to 16 maches.

The faculty of humanities is dominating the sport at Wits with the Human-a-titties cricket side reaching the final of the interfaculty league, and the Humanities Titans rugby side stretching their unbeaten run to 14 matches.

BA students get criticised for their apparent lazy approach to university life, spending more time on the lawns than in the classroom. Many students will point out that BA stands for ‘Bugger All’ but results on the sports fields might silence those critics once and for all.

Unity amongst team members is vital for any successful club. When speaking to Richard Leaver and Kyle Moschini of the Titans rugby side, as well as James Pugin of the Human-a-titties cricket club, team chemistry is the one factor that both members of management encourage the most.

“It’s the bond between the players that is the reason for our success” Moschini said. “We have built a team spirit and ethos from playing together at Wits Rugby Club, and this unity has existed since U-19 level.”

“Most of us went to all boys schools and our characters just seem to gel really well” says Leaver. “We know each others’ lines exceptionally well since we have been playing together for years.”

“We’re a club that keeps Wits rugby players involved in Wits rugby,” added Leaver. “We encourage our boys to stay for a beer after the game, to make some friends. We really are more than just a rugby club and that is evident by our performances.”

The same unity exists in the cricket side and Pugin believes that it is no coincidence that they are now competing for top honours in the final. “It’s really just about having fun, but at the same time trying to win. So far we have played some excellent cricket but have not lost sight of what is important.”

“Maybe the other teams have underestimated men in pink wife beaters” said Pugin, referring to his team’s unorthodox uniform.

The Human-a-tittes are in action tonight at the Bozzoli Oval at 17:30. The Titans are in action every Wednesday night at the Rugby stadium.