That time Rob Andrew ran into Garth le Roux ...

South African cricket fans of a certain generation know all about the pace and fearsomeness of Garth le Roux, but former England flyhalf Rob Andrew got to experience that hostility first-hand.

For those who never saw him in action, Le Roux was a tearaway fast bowler who intimidated many a star batsman while playing for Western Province and Sussex. He also starred in World Series Cricket, taking 17 wickets in three ‘Supertests’ at just 15.88 apiece.

Andrew, of course, was a world-class flyhalf who won 70 caps for England, but few people know that he was also a quality cricketer with a First-Class century to his name.

“I grew up playing rugby and cricket at school as a lot of people do, and was lucky to be at a school that was heavily involved in both,” he tells the Veterans Cricket Association of South Africa.

“I then went to Cambridge University, and the standard of uni cricket back in the 1980s was pretty high; we played a lot of First-Class matches against the counties. I captained the cricket team in 1985, and somehow managed to scramble a First-Class hundred against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge which is in Wisden [Cricket Monthly]!

“I played a little bit of Yorkshire Seconds in 1985 as I left Cambridge, but that was sort of the pinnacle of my cricketing career. I was never good enough to go any further.”

Andrew also once managed to dismiss future England Michael Atherton for a duck, although he is quick to admit: “Athers was only about 15 at the time!”

While at Cambridge, Andrew played a game against Sussex, where he currently serves as Chief Executive. That match back in the mid-80s, he recalls, was something he’s not likely to forget in a hurry.

“I played against Sussex at Fenner’s, the Cambridge cricket ground, in 1984, and there was a certain Garth le Roux who was playing for Sussex [as] part of a bowling attack which also featured Imran Khan.

“Fortunately Imran didn’t play in that particular game, but I did face Le Roux, which was quite an interesting prospect. And he managed to hit me full on the head with a bouncer which I didn’t quite pick up in time. He was a massive guy … he should have been on a rugby field, not a cricket field!”

Andrew will be in South Africa in early March as a member of the Lord’s Taverners Celebrity Cricket XI. The UK-based disability sports charity will play two cricket matches in Cape Town against its sister organisation Lord’s Taverners South Africa to help raise awareness of the work of the charity locally, which includes Table Cricket, an adapted version of the game which gives those with physical and learning disabilities the chance to play the sport we all love.

“It’s very big in the UK; they have something like 8 000 mentally and physically disabled kids playing Table Cricket,” Andrew says. “There are matches being hosted all across the counties, most of whom work very closely with the Lord’s Taverners.

“It’s just a fantastic way for the kids, some of them with very severe disabilities, to be part of a team. I’ve had a go at it as well - it’s quite an interesting challenge - and it’ll be great if on this tour, along with the Taverners in South Africa, we can help raise the profile of Table Cricket over there and help grow their programme.”

* The Lord’s Taverners charity celebrity cricket team and supporters will be in Cape Town to support Lord’s Taverners SA at the Sporting Legends Dinner at Kelvin Grove on March 7. The event will be hosted by Dan Nicholl, and will include chats from cricket legends like David Gower, Mike Gatting, Andy Caddick and Vincent van Der Bijl, as well as rugby stars Rob Andrew and George Chuter. Proceeds will go towards Lord’s Taverners SA’s various charity projects.

For more information or to book your spot, contact Ruth Mackenzie

Email: ruth@imergeconcepts.com

Phone: +27 (0)82 886 2818