Ray’s star still shines bright

SEDIBENG. – In 1985 the batting phenom Ray Schoeman wreaked havoc, hitting 96 sixes in 26 innings for Meyerton Cricket Club’s first team.

This incredible feat caught the attention of cricket legend and former teammate Clive Rice, who sent him a bat to honor his accomplishment.
Today the 67-year-old optometrist stays in Craighall in Johannesburg with his wife Diane (64) who is also an optometrist and still has a practice in Three Rivers, Vereeniging.
His exceptional form in 1985 was not a flash in a pan. He was born to brandish a bat and to kick a rugby ball. This was highlighted in grade 11 when he became the first student of St Stithians College to represent Transvaal in rugby and cricket.
“My first memory was going to a net practice in Grade 2 and watching a Grade 7 fast bowler and thinking wow, you must be really good to face that pace. Never forgot that image,” he says.

Graeme Pollock, who is widely considered as South Africa’s best cricketer ever, once said that Ray Schoeman was the best hooker of a cricket ball he has ever seen.

In 1962 he started to attend St Stithians, playing soccer in the winter and cricket in the summer. “In high school, soccer was replaced with rugby which I really adapted to and chose to play flyhalf.”
In grade 10 he was chosen for the Transvaal Colts eleven to tour Rhodesia where they played two “tests” against the Rhodesian Fawns and beat them comprehensively. The Colts’ coach and manager was the famous English test umpire, Dickie Bird.
In 1971 he joined the army and was chosen for the SA Army Rugby and Cricket team. During his studies at Wits he made the Transvaal B-team at fullback. He also played cricket in the Pirates Premier League with Clive Rice as skipper, his brother Richard, Jimmy Cook, Danny Becker and Kenny Cooper (who later opened the bowling for Natal).
“When I arrived in the Vaal in 1979 to do a locum for Joe Witkin at Vereeniging Optical Centre I played some rugby at centre for Vereeniging.”
“I opened a practice in Meyerton and moved from Joburg to Henley on Klip. I was later persuaded to play rugby for Meyerton and had two amazing years at fly half again,” he recollects.

Ray Schoeman lead by example when he captained the Meyerton Cricket Club’s first team.

After beating RAU and Goudstad in his second year at Meyerton Rugby Club he and his teammates upset Wanderers with Ray Mordt (WP), Robbie Blair (TVL) and Dave Zietsman (Blue Bulls) in their ranks. Thereafter he was chosen for the Vaal Triangle rugby team at fullback that played against the Southern Free State team.
He hung up his boots in 1982.
In 1981 he joined a strong Meyerton Cricket team.
“We made a point of getting the local schools to play at the club and this created a larger pool of players. We had four teams at one stage led by a strong Chairman, Boetie Rietoff and the club was able to grow,” he says.
When Kim Hughes’ Rebel Aussie tour in 1984 hit the SA shores, the Transvaal Country Districts team of which Schoeman was a member played against the Aussies in Potch.
He finished his career in the early 90s at Vereeniging Cricket Club. He became a Transvaal Country district selector.
“It was not something I enjoyed much as my thoughts were that I should still be on the field playing,” he admits.

Highlights of Ray Schoeman’s sports career:

Cricket career:

Transvaal Schools
Cricket SA Army 1971 and SADF
Transvaal Country Districts

Rugby career:
Transvaal Schools
SA combined forces
Tvl senior B-team
Vaal Triangle

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