May 25, 2000

Harrow v Eton: Who is this Compton fellow?

Neal Collins

The oldest cricket fixture on the Lord's calendar got underway yesterday with a a couple of very interesting names on the scorecard.

A glance through the list of Harrow players to play Eton in the 163rd clash between England's two major private schools reveals two fascinating surnames: NRD Compton and K Motaung.

Sound familiar? The first one should. Nicholas Compton went to Durban High School in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, before his dad Richard packed him off to England, home of his forefathers, to improve his on-field and off-field education.

Oh, have we mentioned his grandfather Denis?

As a batsman with England and Middlesex, Denis Compton was the Ian Botham/Shane Warne of his day, and will always be remembered as one of the legends of the game.

Uncle Patrick, the Durban-based cricket writer who also went to private school in England, recalls: "Nick is a bit like his grand-dad really. He arrived at Harrow aged 15 and called home to say he didn't have much trouble with the bowling of the sixth formers (who are mostly aged 18).

"He went straight into the first team and I hear he's been spotted by England scouts."

He has indeed. Nick is now on the books of Middlesex and has been drafted in to the England Under 17 squad.

So how about this lad K Motaung? Does anyone there know his first name, I asked the headmaster's secretary yesterday. "Ah, here it is," she said, "Kaizer , that's K-A-I..."

"That's okay," said I, "Kaizer Motaung is a quite well known name in some parts of the world!"

Indeed, England will wake up this morning to find two Kaizer Motaungs on our little island.

Dad Kaizer senior, the owner of Kaizer Chiefs Football Club in Soweto, South Africa, flew in this morning to watch his son open the batting for Harrow.

If you've never heard of Kaizer Chiefs, you don't know African football. The Chiefs attract mammoth crowds throughout the continent and are the Manchester United of South African football.

Despite the awful restrictions of Apartheid, Kaizer Motaung rose to prominence as one of the few successful (and powerful) black businessmen of the early 80s and remains a powerful voice in sport and politics in the Rainbow Nation.

The school appeared understandably reluctant to talk in much detail about the lads, but I'm told: "Kaizer has all his dad's skill and determination. He's a very single minded boy - and a damn good cricketer."

Unlike Compton, who appears to be following in his grand-dads footsteps with England, Motaung looks likely to become a Protea of the future: "Young Kaizer's got every chance of making it to the top," said my source, "He could probably play several different sports but if he sticks to cricket, I can see a Test future ahead of him."

Watch this space tomorrow for a result - and how the lads enjoyed their day at headquarters.