Ian Saunders devoted most of his life to the game of cricket and was honoured by the Western Province Cricket Association (WPCA) when he received a presidential award for his service to the game, in 2014.
He played for a number of cricket clubs across the city and served on the Western Province cricket board.
Saunders was a pace bowler but closer to the end of his career he change to off spin.
As a batsman, he would be best remembered for his running between the wickets and was not involved in a lot of run outs.
As a bowler he always had a long run-up which put fear into batsman. They were always scared of him because they did know what to expect.
As a pace bowler, he always use to open the bowling before he changed to spin.
As a player, he started out at Island Rose Cricket Club in Vasco, in the 1940s, where he lived before it was declared as a “whites only” suburb by the apartheid government.
In the late 1950s, he moved to Worcester to take up his first teaching post and joined Marigolds Cricket Club. He then moved back to Cape Town in the early 1960s and joined Glenville Cricket Club, which was based at William Herbert Sports Complex, in Wynberg, at the time. Glenville was then absorbed by Silvercrowns, which, after various amalgamations, eventually became Wynberg CC.
He ended his playing days with Heathfield Cricket Club and called time on his active involvement with Victoria Cricket Club in the mid-1970s.
Saunders began his administrative career while still playing, from the mid-60s to the mid-80s.
He was the first convener of junior cricket at Wynberg and District Cricket Unions (subsequently Cape District Cricket Union) from the mid-60s. This involved him overseeing the running of junior cricket in all aspects – drawing up fixtures, ensuring that the groundsmen had the mats laid on time, making sure that teams had managers and umpires. He also made sure that games started on time (done by sounding a siren promptly at 9am, so that senior matches weren’t delayed later), and ensuring that players were properly attired.
Discipline played a major role in cricket those days and still does today.
My father would not hesitate to scold a boy if he was not dressed in spotless whites from collar to shoes.
One memory is of an unfortunate young man who proudly sported his Rudy Jordache (of the 70s hit series Rich Man, Poor Man) iron-on, only to be called off the field and sent home to get an all-white shirt. Saunders’ time was divided between the William Herbert and Rosmead sports complexes, respectively walking from one venue to the other as he did not have a car.
Some luminaries who played junior cricket under his convenership include Vincent Barnes, Clinton Ravens, Cyril Martin, Royston Liddle, Adeeb Abrahams, Michael Doman and Eddie Harris, to name but a few. Besides being the convener, he was also a selector and team manager of junior board and provincial sides. Current WPCA President, Beresford Williams, played in a provincial team under his management at one stage.
* Barry Saunders is an English teacher at South Peninsula High School and son of Ian Saunders.