Here am I, widely sneered at for being a Swartland groupie and I didn’t even know that there’s a Swartland Independent Producers cricket team. It’s been established a few years already, apparently, and “plays a few matches each year” – according to a proud Chris Mullineux. “Some against other regions (we have played a few times against Constantia and Franschhoek and Overberg so far), but also against other league teams.”
Wow. And it’s not even as though they don’t want people to know about it – if you’re in Johannesburg on Saturday 12 November you’re invited to go and watch them play a match against the Gauteng wine trade, which sounds likely to be a very liquid affair. The game is scheduled to last all of three hours – presumably if one or other team is either extremely good or extremely bad it could be over even more quickly and they could retire early to the dressing room for a nice Swartland chenin. It’s being held at St Stithians College in Randburg – presumably not coincidentally the school of which Chris Mullineux is an Old Boy.
“Spectators are VERY welcome”, Chris emailed me. The capital letters are his, which might speak to some desperation at the prospect of luring people to watch Adi Badenhorst, no doubt wearing his current Paul Kruger disguise, wielding a bat. But there’s a lunch afterwards, to which you’re also invited (for that you have to buy a ticket), and that sounds more enticing. And then wine-tasting.
I only found out about this cricket when I heard rumours of Swartland Independent moving into Gauteng in a big way and asked Chris for details. Though I could have gone to the SIP website, where there’s plenty of info about the two days of events (and also, heartwarmingly, about The Oaks Cricket Club of rural Limpopo kids, who will be the beneficiaries of the weekend’s silent auction.
There’s also a poster, which I reproduce here, giving many of the details. It doesn’t mention the producers taking part, however, so let me list them here. Be impressed: Badenhorst, El Bandito, Silwervis, Clayton, David & Nadia, Dragonridge, Fram, Intellego, Swerwer, Mullineux, Nativo, Porseleinberg, Kloovenburg, Aspoestertjie, Wildehurst, Rall, Huis van Chevallerie, Môrelig, and Lammershoek. Taste wines from all of those and you’ll have a good start in understanding why South Africa is regarded by Tim Atkin (and others) as the most dynamic wine producing country in the world.
Tickets for all the events are on sale at Webtickets, here.
Incidentally, I also have some forward news about expansions for the 2017 SIP SKOU (presumably it’ll be held in Malmesbury again, as it was this year). Mark your diaries for 28-29 April. In addition to the wine and food stuff, I fear the “kultural” activities are to be extended to include a “Skou Dance” on the Friday night (sadly I have another commitment). And there will be four “Soapbox discussions”, covering different topics, on the Saturday.
I’ll look forward to at least some of that. As to the Gauteng events, I will not be there. I’d love to go for the wines, and even more to attend that grand dinner in Pretoria – but confess I wouldn’t get to the cricket. There are some things that even the most fervent groupie shouldn’t be asked to endure.