SASCOC are mourning the death of former Proteas’ cricket captain, Clive Rice and apartheid era player and administrator Nico Van Oordt who both passed away on Tuesday, 28 July after lengthy illness.
Rice died at the age of 66 after complications following surgery in India for a brain tumour earlier this year. Van Oordt was three years older.
Rice was one of the world’s leading all-round cricketers, whose career coincided directly with South Africa’s sporting isolation, and his international experience was limited to his post-prime days. He played just three One-day Internationals for South Africa, all against India in 1991 following the country’s return from sporting isolation.
Just months later, he was however controversially left out of the squads for the one-off Test against the West Indies and the 1992 Cricket World Cup.
Rice would play 482 first-class games in a career that spanned some 24 years. An all-rounder, Rice amassed 26 331 first-class runs at an average of 40.95, including 48 hundreds and 137 fifties. And as a seamer, he took 930 wickets at 22.39.
His career saw him play for the then Transvaal Currie Cup side and English county Nottinghamshire. A punishing right-handed batsman with a particularly brutal cut shot, and a seamer capable of genuine pace, he was a captain who led from the front and never took a step backwards.
He also went on to play for Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket – more global recognition of his abilities. He was the epitome of the modern professional cricketer, quick to recognise the financial opportunities that began to arise in the game.
Van Oordt, having been born in a disadvantaged, under-resourced community, was a non-racial, anti-apartheid sportsperson, who chose a sports life of struggle because freedom of the oppressed was more valuable to him as an oppressed black South African.
A former vice-rector, senior director of human resources and registrar of student affairs at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Van Oordt was an administrative icon in Western Province cricket circles for several decades.
Van Oordt joined Ravensmead-based club Tigers (now Tygerberg) in 1963, served as secretary from 1964 and later went on to become president and life-president, as well as captaining the first team.
He was a grass roots and community cricketer on the Cape Flats. Tygerberg CC is a club which was founded in his mother’s lounge so the boys could play on the field and not aimlessly roam the street.
Until his death, Van Oordt, together with his legendary cricketer brother, George, was a committed club member.
Tygerberg is the same club, which has produced international bowler Vernon Philander, and the only club in South Africa which, in one playing season, had both the women’s and men’s cricketers of the year.
Said SASCOC CEO, Tubby Reddy: “As a sports movement we are saddened by the loss of these two great sportsmen. We have lost truly great talent who both contributed immensely to nurturing the cricketing pool. May their souls rest in peace and our thoughts are with them and their families during these extremely sad times.”
SASCOC President Gideon Sam added: “Clive and Nico were great cricketers who played the game with a whole heap of passion. They will be sorely missed by the sports movement.”