Thursday 9 November 2017: a crowd of the who’s who of 21st century Wynberg Cricket gathered at the Bill Bowden Pavilion to honour outgoing coach Eric Lefson for his outstanding contribution to Wynberg Boys’ High School over his 18 seasons at the helm of the 1st XI.
Master of Ceremonies for the evening, Wynberg Old Boy, and a former Master-in-Charge of Wynberg Cricket, Shaun Hewett, opened in a series of tributes to Eric delivered in person and digitally from around the world.
Irreverent and entertaining, sometimes hilarious, and all from the heart, the tributes summed up the lasting and positive impact Eric has made on almost four high school ‘generations’ of players, on our Wynberg Cricket Culture, and schools’ cricket beyond our Jacques Kallis Oval.
Shaun Hewett, in true cricket statistics style, described Eric’s 1st XI career in numbers:
827 – the record number of matches in charge of the Wynberg 1st XI. [Surely a South African Schools’ Cricket record? – Ed.]
43 – the number of domestic tours and festivals overseen by Eric as 1st XI coach.
32 – the number of Wynberg cricketers who earned 100 1st XI caps during Eric’s tenure. Only 32 Wynberg cricketers in the school’s 176-year history have achieved this distinction.
24 – the number of first-class cricketers who can call Eric Lefson their Wynberg coach. We’re certain this number will increase in the seasons ahead.
18 – the number of years in charge of the Wynberg 1st XI, 2000 – 2017.
16 – the number of Cape Schools’ Cricket Weeks attended by Eric.
10 – the number of times Eric coached a Wynberg 1st XI to Knockout Cup glory (including each of the final four years of his tenure).
7 – the number of Wynberg 1st XI players (so far!) coached by Eric who went on to captain the Western Province U19A side.
4 – the number of occasions Eric led a Wynberg 1st XI to the National Champs, including 2017. The win eluded him.
3 – the number of times Eric led a Wynberg 1st XI on tour abroad; Pakistan (2006), England (2007) and Sri Lanka (2013).
Shaun Hewett finished by describing Eric Lefson in words:
Let there be no mistake, Eric liked to win!
Believing more cricket makes for better performances, Eric has driven an annual fixture list that has taken the Wynberg 1st XI from 24 matches (including an overseas tour) in 1999, to the 64 matches contested in 2007.
Eric was the driving force behind the Wynberg/Paarl Boys’/SACS co-hosted Cape Cricket Festival, questioning why Cape Town-based 1st XIs traveled inland in January when Cape Town guaranteed the best cricket weather in the country.
Eric drove the concept of the Wynberg Winter Tour, in this case to the Highveld.
Eric pioneered the 100-cap honours board in the Algie Pavilion.
His coaching and administrative catchphrase remained one and the same: ‘Make it happen’.
Eric gave everything – and some more – for the betterment of Wynberg Cricket. He coached the team for free for nigh on a decade, preferring his salary to be fed into a scholarship to enable talented cricketers to attend WBHS; his annual leave was determined by when the 1st XI was playing or touring; his Sundays in February and March were spent identifying talent for Wynberg at WP U13 trial matches.
I was thrown into the deep end when I was made Master-in-Charge of Cricket at Wynberg in 2011. Eric had my back unconditionally from the first to the last day of my tenure.
May the annals of Wynberg history record Eric Lefson’s outstanding contribution to Wynberg Boys’ High School. He is an undoubted legend of this great institution.
From the speech by Shaun Hewett, Old Boy, and MIC Wynberg Cricket 2011 – 2016
‘The Lefson End’
The plaque, presented to Eric Lefson by Wynberg Boys’ High School, will be set on the Alexandra Road end of the Jacques Kallis Oval. A tribute into the future to a #WynbergLegend. The text reads:
THE LEFSON END
THIS END OF THE JACQUES KALLIS
OVAL IS NAMED IN HONOUR
OF WYNBERG 1st XI COACH, ERIC LEFSON,
AND BEARS TESTAMENT TO THE LASTING
LEGACY CREATED DURING HIS
RECORD-BREAKING 827 MATCHES IN CHARGE
OF THE TEAM BETWEEN 2000 – 2017
HIS COMMITMENT TO
WYNBERG CRICKET WAS TOTAL
A #WynbergMedia report, with grateful thanks to Shaun Hewett, Jan de Waal, Keith Richardson, Geoff Dods, Dalin Oliver, Dom Telo, Wayne Meyers, and Oscar Nauhaus. #SuperaMoras