Blasts from the past: Jolly good show by SA tennis chap
Today in SA sports history: June 2
1907 — South African cricket skipper Percy Sherwell scores the country’s first century on foreign soil, striking 115 in the enforced second innings on the second day against England at Lord’s. This was the first Test the visitors played outside of South Africa. With no play possible on the final third day, the match ends in a draw.
1921 — Brian Norton becomes the first South African to get into the men’s singles final at Wimbledon, and takes defending champion Bill Tilden the distance as he goes down in five sets 6-4 6-2 1-6 0-6 5-7. But it was a match Norton might have won, failing to convert two match points in the final set. Officially he remains the only South African to have reached the men’s final, with Kevin Curren having switched nationality to the US by the time he appeared on centre court in 1985.
1935 — South Africa beat England by 157 runs in the second Test at Lord’s to take a crucial 1-0 lead in their five-match series. It’s the first time South Africa has won a Test in 20 attempts in England. Opener Bruce Mitchell scored the only century of the match, an unbeaten 164 in the visitor’s second innings, which closed on 278/7 declared. Needing 309 to win, the hosts were bowled out for 151, with medium-pacer Chud Langton and spinner Xen Balaskas taking four wickets each. The win would prove decisive, giving South Africa their first-ever series victory in England after the remaining three matches ended in draws.
1960 — Sandra Reynolds is the first South African woman to reach the Wimbledon ladies’ final, but the 21-year-old is beaten 6-8 0-6 by defending champion Maria Bueno of Brazil. Bueno and Reynolds met again in the women’s doubles final later in the day. The Brazilian and her American partner Darlene Hard downed Reynolds and her compatriot, Renee Schuurman, 6-4 6-0. Also on the same day, Rodney Mandlestam came back from one set down to beat Jaidip Mukerjea of India 1-6 8-6 6-4 for the boys’ singles crown, and Lynne Hutchings lost 4-6 4-6 to Karen Hantze for the girls’ title.
1983 — Nkosana “Happy Boy” Mgxaji, past his best at 33, delivers a last hurrah as he dethrones Arthur Mayisela for the South African junior-welterweight title at Mdantsane Stadium in East London. Mgxaji had been stripped of the belt after failing to make the weight in 1979, and had lost two subsequent attempts to win it back in 1981 and 1982. His reign would be short-lived, with Mayisela returning to East London early the following year to reclaim the crown.
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