Sport at Merchiston


At Merchiston Preparatory School, we believe that sport plays an important role in the development of young boys, and teaches them the following essential lessons:


  • How to be a good loser
  • How to be a good winner, how to be modest
  • How to be a part of a team
  • How to give it your best effort
  • How to work towards a long-term goal, and
  • How to see that almost everything you do in life improves with practice.


The start of the third term signals the start of athletics season. The programme commences with Heats Day, where all the boys run in their houses, in the short sprints, to assist the Heads of House in their selection of their house teams. Then, during afternoon sport, the coaches and boys participate in a set programme where the boys gather standard points for their houses. Boys are encouraged to take part in extra athletics practices after normal sport to improve their technique. The Merchiston Inter–House Athletics Meeting is over a hundred years old and records of this meeting go as far back as 1911. It is an annual highlight for Old Boys, staff and athletes. Merchiston has dominated the Inter–Prep Athletics Meeting as well as the Inter–Schools Athletics Meeting and has won both these meetings for the last four years.


During the first and fourth terms, the school offers a comprehensive basketball programme. Four junior and six senior basketball teams play matches against local schools on a weekly basis. The school has two basketball courts and some of the best coaches in the province. During the basketball sessions, there is also a strong conditioning component. The Merchiston First Basketball Team has won the Midlands Championship Shield three times in the last six years.


Merchiston has a very proud cricketing history and tradition. The school has produced many provincial and national players over the years including: Jacky McGlew, Roy McLean, Kuan McCarthy, Dennis Lindsay, Tim Shaw, Graham Ford, Jonty Rhodes and Kevin Pietersen.

Cricket is played during the first and fourth terms and the school is blessed with wonderful cricket facilities. Merchiston has six cricket fields, four of which have grass and cement pitches, twelve cricket nets, flood lights and an electronic scoreboard on the main oval.

Merchiston has 22 cricket teams and all these teams play matches every week. Merchiston play cricket against the top cricket schools in the province and the first team play against some of the top teams in the country, when on tour. Merchiston is privileged to have a number of top cricket coaches, some of whom also coach at provincial level. Our resident professional cricket coach, who is assisted by three other Merchiston coaches, ensures that our cricket nets are busy full time with extra cricket coaching. Many of our U12 & U13 boys represent the KZN Inland Cricket Teams every year.

Cross Country

Cross Country is offered at Merchiston during the second term. The sport is a great choice for boys who wish to develop their endurance and build their fitness. Boys take part in a number of inter-school fixtures during the cross country season, in which Merchiston’s runners always do very well. Cross Country is chosen by some of our boys as a way in which to enhance their fitness for other sports such as rugby and hockey.


Merchiston has a strong hockey tradition and our 24 hockey teams have the opportunity to practise and play matches on astro turfs during the third term. We transport our boys to the Maritzburg College and AB Jackson Astro Turfs for practices during the week. Weekly matches are played against all the top hockey schools in the province. Merchiston is blessed with wonderful hockey coaches and many of the U12 & U13 boys represent the various Umgungundlovu Provincial teams every year. The first hockey team play some of the top hockey schools in the country at the annual SA Prep Schools’ Hockey Festival.


Towards the end of the first term, the rugby goal posts go up and the air fills with excitement as all the Mudrats gear up for rugby season. Merchiston has a strong rugby tradition and has produced many wonderful rugby players over the years including: Keith Oxlee, Craig Jamieson, Butch James, Daniel Kriel and Jesse Kriel.

Merchiston fields 18 rugby teams and we compete with all the top rugby schools in KZN, as well as out of province. The standard of rugby coaching offered at school, combined with the Rugga Rats Academy (specialised coaching) and our strong conditioning programme, ensures that our boys are well prepared for the physical demands of the sport. All our boys play on a weekly basis during the second term, with many of our U12 & U13 boys playing for Midlands and ultimately for the KZN Craven Week Team.


Soccer is offered during the second term. Sixteen Merchiston soccer teams play matches on a weekly basis against local schools. Merchiston has two full sized soccer pitches and three mini fields on which to practise and play matches. Some of the highlights on the soccer calendar include the various 5-a-side festivals hosted by Pelham and Laddsworth, as well as the end of season tournaments hosted by various schools for the different age groups. The Merchiston First Soccer Team has won the Midlands Open Soccer Championship on two occasions over the last five years and we have also had representatives in the Midlands Invitational Soccer Team for the last two years.


Squash is a popular sport during the first, second and fourth terms. Boys are taken across the road to the Collegians Club squash courts for their practices. During the fourth term, the Junior and Senior squash teams take part in the Midlands Schools’ Squash League and three teams play matches every week at various squash venues. The school has enjoyed a good representation in the various KZN teams over the last few years.


Merchiston is well-renowned for the strength of its swimming teams. The Merchiston A – Swimming Squad has won the annual Midlands Swimming Championship Trophy for 55 consecutive years. The school runs three swimming squads, each taking part in mini galas during the first and fourth terms. During the first week of March, all three squads compete in the various Midlands Swimming Championships. Both our A & B Swimming Squads swim in the annual “A” gala. The C – Squad has won their Championship Gala for the last two years.


Merchiston is fortunate to have five tennis courts amongst our other fantastic sporting facilities. Social tennis is offered during the first, second and fourth terms, with many boys being taught the basic fundamentals of the sport. At the beginning of the third term, the school tennis teams are selected. These teams take part in the Midlands Tennis League during the third term, playing matches every week against surrounding schools in the Midlands. Our boys also take part in the Midlands and Inter–Districts Tennis Trials every year. We have a very dedicated tennis staff who are totally committed to the sport and to developing the speed, agility and endurance of our tennis players.