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Back You are here: Home Sports Cricket Kwa Zulu Natal Dean Pengelly- College Cricket Captain
Wednesday, 02 September 2009 07:22

Dean Pengelly- College Cricket Captain

With the cricket season about to start we will be giving our full attention to the sport and profiling the various players and coaches from the top cricketing schools. To start this off we take a look at the Maritzburg College all rounder Dean Pengelly and hear from the man himself as to what direction he would like to see his team heading and his goals for playing the sport after school.

Maritzburg College has for over 145 years drawn plenty of pride from the fact that they have been able to field one of the most competitive 1st teams regardless of the sport. This in turn has led to College excelling in being able to produce players who would go on to play on the international stage. Cricket has been no different with the school justifiably proud of its fourteen international players.

Dean Pengelly, who was thrust into the captaincy of the College First XI in 2008 due to an injury to the appointed captain,  has captained the Pietermaritzburg team well this year. He is obviously aware of the huge responsibility that he has to lead a team with so much history behind it. Having played representative cricket for the KZN U13 Coastal side as well as the KZN Inland U15 and U19 side he is another player in KwaZulu-Natal that is bursting will ability.

As with most talented College players his interest in cricket and hockey was sparked at a young age whilst still in junior school and under the guidance of dedicated coaches has developed into an all-rounder that forms the backbone of the College team.

D.P.  Yes I was pretty talented in the sport. My dad played cricket and rugby so that was the first introduction I got to the game. When I got to Durban I went to a guy by the name of Mr. Boucher who was an old cricket coach and he got me used to the basics and I went to him for about 3 years. From then on I just kept at the game and made good progress.

There are unsurprisingly any number of schools in KwaZulu-Natal which also have a proud history of playing top class cricket and producing talented players. However for Dean Pengelly the choice to start his high school career at Maritzburg College was a decision based on the schools previous achievements.

D.P.  Well in terms of the sporting tradition that College has it was a natural choice. I also had a few mates that were coming here and I wanted to be a boarder. However the tradition of College is unique and it has produced so many top sportsmen in so many different sports and I just wanted to be a part of it.

Having not captained a cricket side since he was in junior school the sudden elevation to captaining the First XI in 2008 brought with it a sharp learning curve that Pengelly adapted to with relish. Being an all-rounder he was already involved in most aspects of the game but the added responsibility would test his leadership skills.

D.P.  Yes basically the last time I was captain was in junior school so it was quite tough in the beginning and there were a few nerves about as I did not really know what to expect in the beginning. But once we managed to get a few wins under the belt it became a lot easier and I felt more comfortable.

When you start you don't only think about fielding but you have to keep thinking about other things like  who should bowl next, or should I  put another slip in or take one out. So you have to keep mentally involved in the game. Luckily enough I had a very supportive team and even the couple of players that were older than me gave me their fullest support which made the job easier. Fortunately there haven't been many mistakes that have been made and I am looking forward to 2009 to put the experience that the team and I have gained into practise.

The pressure to captain a College First XI should not be underestimated, they are a team that have managed to win more than they have lost and they pride themselves in competing until the last ball is bowled.  Dean Pengelly is all too aware that 2009 will be a challenging time for the team and on a personal level he would be hoping to produce some excellent form to put him in contention for selection to the SA Schools team.

D.P. In 2008 Maritzburg College were very competitive. In terms of our beginning of the year results we really wanted to improve and we succeeded in that and we did a lot better at the end of the year. At the Michaelmas Festival we had a solid week with only losing one of the four matches that we played which was good. Personally it was a satisfying festival where I managed to get a half century and a couple of thirties and picked up four wickets in one of the match, so overall it was a good tournament for us.

I think I have been able to progress in the sport because I practise very hard. I don't just practise to get through the day but my way of practising is very serious. I try to practise in such a way that when it comes to a match I can bowl six good balls in a row and when it comes to my batting I practise so that I can play a long innings and I want to improve my fielding with every game so I give plenty of attention to that as well.

To consistently produce players and teams that are competitive requires that the school place emphasis on developing the talent that is available. Without proper facilities and a dedicated coaching staff who is committed to nurture players like Dean Pengelly it would be virtually impossible to sustain the record that College has. It is a factor that the young captain realises has contributed to his personal development as a player more than any other.

D.P. Definitely! Mr. Be'chet has been a great influence in my game and seems to teach me something new every time that I play.  He has really helped me throughout my time here. Before that I also benefitted from Mr. Morris and Mr. Veenstra who also have been very good coaches and have also helped me through all the age groups. Mr. Morris in my first year at College taught me plenty that went beyond just playing cricket as a 'mess around hobby' but to take the game seriously which was good to learn from an early age.

Here at College we take all our sport very seriously and especially cricket.  We are constantly reminded about the great tradition that the school has on the sporting fields and Mr. Be'chet always works out for us the win/loss ratios that we have against the other teams and when you look at that you realise that College has been very successful and have not lost many games over the long history of the school. So that in its self is a motivating factor just to be reminded all the time about the people that have come before you and played and won. You have a feeling that you do not want to let them down as well.

I think College is an equal if not better than most of the schools in the country when it comes to the coaching and the facilities on offer. I think of the pitches that are prepared at Goldstones or the other fields and I can't remember a single complaint about them. The grounds right through all the age groups are nicely sized and the pitches have been good and pleasure to play on.

It is no secret that South Africa seems to have an untapped flow of talent that keeps on streaming from the top schools in the country. If there is ability and dedication by the schoolboys,' cricket can realistically offer a career that can pay off handsomely in the future. It is a goal that Pengelly has set for himself and is determined to achieve as much as he can in the sport and to one day follow in the footsteps of other Collegians and play cricket on the international stage.

D.P.  My goal for this year is to try and make SA Schools and to have a strong year and maintain my performances right the way through the year. Basically Coca Cola Week at the end of the year is the biggest event as a schoolboy cricketer. If you make good runs and take wickets there, you have a chance to get selected.

Where would I like to see my career going? Well in 2009 after matric I would like to go to England as a boarder master and spend a gap year over there and play cricket. If I do well over there possibly I would want to spend a few more years playing the game in those conditions. Otherwise I will come back here after a year and try and get myself set up in the Dolphins Academy or one of the other franchises in the country. Eventually of course I would want to play for my country as well. I definitely want to make a career out of cricket.

Dean Pengelly certainly has the credentials to go a lot further in the sport of cricket. Talented and dedicated and surrounded by a coaching staff and team offering their fullest support the sporting public could well be hearing the name Pengelly mentioned many times in the future.  Yet there is still an important job for Dean to do and that is to captain his side as best he can throughout 2009. What would he like to achieve as Maritzburg College First Team captain?

D.P. I would like to win all our games obviously! However cricket can be a funny game sometimes with the weather and that, so it might be difficult. But by the end of 2009 I would want our win ratio to be around 85-90%. For the team that would be the goal. For me personally I will be doing all I can just to get better and learn from every game that I play.

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