02 Tuesday, 2020
Cape Town
Tuesday, Jun 02
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Sublime Vernon conjures up memories of skillful Spooky



Vernon Philander’s strength isn’t his extreme pace as a seam bowler, but rather it is his sublime skills and unique ability to conjure up magic with a cricket ball. 

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA – JANUARY 08: Vernon Philander of South Africa during day 4 of the 1st Sunfoil Test match between South Africa and India at Newlands on January 08, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)

Philander’ produced a brilliant career-best 6/42 bowling display taking three wickets in four balls to seal South Africa’s win over India by 72 runs in the first test match at Newlands on Monday.

His heroics with the cricket ball conjured up a sense of nostalgia that saw me battling to hold back the tears.

For those sports fans who grew up in the 1980’s and were lucky enough to witness, Daniel “Spooky” September, in action in the last line of defence for the then Tygerberg Rugby Union in Saru’s non-racial SA Cup competition in the 1980’s – Philander’s heroics comes as no surprise.

The Proteas opening bowler’s father, “Spooky”, as he was fondly known, was one of the best fullbacks I ever set eyes on a rugby field.

Not only was Spooky as safe as a house under the high ball, but his superb handling, searing pace and scintillating skills with the oval ball made him one of the most exciting rugby players I have ever seen.

Monday I had the privilege to witness that magic once again. Ironically this time it wasn’t on a dusty Cape Flats rugby field but on the pristine turf of Newlands.

Like his father, the 32-year-old from the Cape Flats has the unique talent to create something special with a ball in his hand.

Philander not only has the ability to move the cricket ball both ways at a sharp speed., but he also has the guile and acumen to relentlessly attack the stumps accurately, over long spells.  Similarly, his old man was not only devastating with ball in hand but his biggest weapon was his booming boot.  Spooky used this to great effect on many occasions to punish opposing sides.

Vernon grew up with his mother, Bonny, his grandparents, Lea and Mitchell, and his younger brothers, Tyron, Brandon, and Darryl in a biscuit-coloured house with a golf-ball postbox in 7de Laan, in the Cape Flats suburb of Ravensmead.

Ravensmead is the home of Florida Park and Tygerberg Rugby Union where Spooky made a name for himself as a rugby player.

Sadly because of the dreaded Apartheid laws at the time, Spooky never had the privilege of representing the Springboks and gracing the hallowed turf of the Newlands Rugby Stadium.

However, for the lucky few that saw Spooky in action, there is no doubt that like his son, he would have worn the Green and Gold.


  1. I played with the great Spooky for Tygerberg… as die Spook moeilik was inni bus…. then we know he is on that day…. Brilliant footballer and teamplayer. I concur with the writer of the article… One of the best

  2. Dankie Adnaan vir die erkenning aan een van SARU se grotes!!

  3. I had the privilige of seeing and playing against Spookie, he was indeed a very good player.

  4. Yes im in total agreement as a former team mate of ” Spookie” in the Tygerberg team and playing against him he could break your heart and jump for joy as well.I hope Vernon is not the little “pikkie “that almost ran in front of spookies black Xr3 in Kraaifontein(LOL).

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