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Legend honoured with memorial cricket match

Young and old cricketers celebrate former professor of history at Wits University Emeritus Bruce Murray with memorial cricket match.

Institutional hometown rivalry was renewed as the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) first team locked horns with Wits Alumni at the Walter Milton Oval on the university’s east campus for the Bruce Murray Memorial Cricket Match.

The match on September 8 – formerly the Walter Milton Memorial Cricket Match – was a celebration of Wits’ contemporary cricketing sides, old and new, in memoriam of the former history professor and stalwart of Wits cricket, Emeritus Bruce Murray, who died on July 30 this year.

It was Wits’ first team who, on the day, blew away their more fancied predecessors, winning the match by a comfortable 78 runs. Liam Peters top-scored with 97 runs and was complemented by an equally impressive knock of 81 by Keagan Williams to ensure the first team posted a competitive total of 256 for the loss of five wickets.

Wits Alumni, who were always behind the eight ball as they lost wickets at regular intervals, managed only 178 all-out in their allotted 40 overs. Respective scores of 26, 38 and 36 by Yusuf Fredericks, Buxton Foremen and bizhub Highveld Lions campaigner Nono Phongolo could only put half the brakes on, to what was in the end an inevitable result.

The arms of Keagan Oschger and Stephen Riedel proved to be the chink in the Wits Alumni armour, as the two Wits first team bowlers walked away with three wickets apiece.

Reflecting on the match and the professor was friend and colleague Rob Sharman, who is also the director of Campus Housing and Residence Life at Wits.

He was full of praise for the late benefactor, citing the memorial match was a fitting tribute to a tour de force and giant of the institution, both academically and on the field of play.

“He was an accomplished academic and was chairperson of the cricket club, which in ’83 and ’84 won everything in the Transvaal, as it was then know.

“In 1985, Bruce took a sabbatical to Canada for nine months and upon his return became president of the Wits Cricket Club – a position he served in for 32 years,” said a reminiscent Sharman.

“The match was not held last year or the year before for various reasons. But when Bruce died earlier this year, I proposed to sports administration that it be resuscitated and be renamed the Bruce Murray Memorial Cricket Match,” he added.

He said the memorial match has been an important fixture on the university’s cricketing calendar since ’86, and that following Murray’s retirement from the cricketing structures at Wits, that he continued to be a regular donor of funds to the club. There are now plans to establish a memorial scholarship in honour of Murray.

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