His greatest test

When 16 year old South African Ross McCreath realised that many young people in the Bathurst’s Nolukhanyo’s township were turning to crime to fill their spare time, he put his mind to finding an alternative way to channel their energy.

At just 14 years of age and inspired by the thought that sport would offer a solution, Ross decided to form a cricket team as a way of providing a constructive outlet for the young boys in the area.  He quickly convinced his parents of his idea and with their help contacted their local councillor for sports who enabled him to find a playing field on the edge of the township.

Ross’s instinct was proved right. Since the formation of the Tiger Titans cricket team, over 40 boys have registered and regularly attend practice. There has been a notable decrease in criminal activity in the area and the team has grown so much there is now an under 15 side and an open side for older boys. Having been introduced to the Award at school and having completed his Bronze and Silver Awards, Ross has used the management of the project to fulfil the requirements of the Gold Award.

Many of the boys have kept away from social vices and have made more effort at school as a result of having a rewarding social activity to concentrate on in their spare time.

Overcoming hurdles

Initially unable to find a decent ground suitable for cricket and enough proper kit and equipment for the boys, Ross focused his attentions on corralling a group of local people to help level a local playing field. Once word was out in the local media about Ross’s efforts he also gained support from individuals and local businesses to finance the team kit.

Testimonies to his success

No-one speaks more highly about Ross’s initiative than the players themselves as Zukisani Simanga, star batsman of Tiger Titans testifies: “I am working hard to be what I want to be. Cricket has changed my life and I would like to be one of those professional players. If it was not for cricket maybe I would be involved in drugs or crime.” 

Mduduzi Mkalipi, Coach of Tiger Titans adds: “You don’t often get it that a white boy comes into a township and, more so, comes up with such an idea. It’s commendable. This is a second home for the boys. Attacking social vices using sports is our aim.”

Ross has more ambitious plans and has recently expanded his project by starting up a soccer team, the Scorpions.

Barbara Scott, Ross’s Award Leader at St Andrew’s College concludes: “Ross is a deep thinking, brilliant young chap and a source of inspiration in a humbling way. At school we didn’t even know that his project was established until he came to request a game against the school’s team.”