Lamb c Kourie b Rice


February 16, 1980. Alan Kourie, Western Provinces’ long-standing all-rounder, combined with Allan Lamb and Clive Rice to form a scorecard entry in the 1979-80 Datsun Shield final that has been a part of pub quizzes. Abhishek Mukherjeelooks at a culinary delight of a scorecard entry.

This article probably includes some cheating, but the topic has been used so frequently as a quiz question that I presume I can get away with this. While “lamb” and “rice” are proper common nouns, “kourie”, unfortunately, is not. However, one of the two variants of the pronunciation of the word is similar to “curry”, which left South African cricket fans hoping for a dismissal involving the three. 

Clive Rice made his First-Class debut for Transvaal B in 1969-70. Alan Kourie turned up for the same team, a season later. Allan Lamb marked his arrival two years later, for Western Province.

Rice was named South African Cricket Cricketer of the Year four times, in 1971, 1985, 1986, and 1988. He also had a successful tenure for Nottinghamshire, and was named Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1981. He led South Africa on their first match after their return from the apartheid ban.

Lamb was named South African Cricket Cricketer of the Year twice, in 1980 and 1988. He had a prolific run for Northamptonshire, played 79 Tests and 122 One-Day International matches for England, and even led England in Tests. 

Unlike most of his contemporaries (but like Graeme Pollock), Kourie did not take up a County Championship contract. Just like Pollock (though not in the same league), he could have been a superstar in English cricket. He was named South African Cricket Cricketer of the Year in 1980, and finished with numbers as remarkable as anyone else’s: 4,470 runs at 34.38, 421 wickets at 23.44, and 148 catches from 127 First-Class matches.

Rice had dismissed Lamb for the first time in 1975-76, and several times ever since. In fact, at Portsmouth in 1979, Lamb fell to Hampshire’s John Rice. 
In the Currie Cup match that started a fortnight before the match in question, Lamb’s dismissal in the first innings read c Pollock b Kourie, but seldom do they prepare a curry of both pollock and lamb. In the second innings he was bowled by Rice. Something was certainly cooking (did I tell you Jimmy Cook also played for Transvaal at this point of time?).

With the who’s who of contemporary South African cricket featuring on both sides, the Datsun Shield final of 1979-80 was a mouth-watering (not only literally) prospect. While Western Province boasted of Eddie Barlow, Peter Kirsten, Garth le Roux, Hylton Ackerman, and Lamb, Transvaal featured Graeme Pollock, Ray Jennings, Neal Radford, Cook, Kourie, and Rice. 

What can get better than a combination of rice and lamb curry and cricket? Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

A culinary delight

Barlow elected to bat, but Kourie and Rice turned out to be a formidable force. Lamb walked out at the fall of the second wicket, and steadied ship in company of Kirsten and Stephen Bruce. Then Rice ran in.

Kourie had already played a part in three dismissals: he had bowled Barlow and had caught Lawrence Seeff (off Rice) and Kirsten (off Radford). It was now the turn of Lamb, top-scorer of the innings, to play one from Rice into his hands.

And cricket fans, gluttonous or otherwise, cheered. New Wanderers witnessed a scorecard entry straight out of a menu.

A victory is Cooked

Barring Lamb (56), Bruce (33) was the only other batsman to go past 30. Rice took 3 for 31, Kourie claimed 5 catches (and returned figures of 12-2-37-1), and Western Provinces crawled to a sub-par 224 for 9 from 60 overs.

Andre Nieuwoudt struck early in response, and Barlow took out a second wicket. At 43 for 2 Transvaal may have been in some sort of trouble, but Cook and Pollock (58) eased into the proceedings, combining defiance with masterful strokeplay. 

Once the 122-run stand ended, out walked Rice; having earlier been part of a full menu entry, he now joined Cook to finish things off. Cook (113*) and Rice (33*) made small task of the target as Transvaal romped to victory with 81 balls to spare.

What followed?

In the 1980-81 Currie Cup (see what I did there?) match between Western Province and Transvaal at Newlands, the scorecard entries read Lamb c Cook b Rice in the first innings and Lamb b Kourie in the second.

Brief scores:

Western Province 224 for 9 in 60 overs (Allan Lamb 56; Clive Rice 3 for 31, Alan Kourie 5 catches) lost to Transvaal 228 for 3 in 46.3 overs (Jimmy Cook 113*, Graeme Pollock 58*) by 7 wickets with 81 balls to spare.