The days are long for Bryce Parsons. He lives in Benoni, so he has to leave home before 6am to get to school on time, and it is cricket after school almost every day so he never gets home until after it’s dark.
But, looking back on the four years he has been at King Edward VII School, he has no regrets. “As a cricketer, it’s been fantastic,” he said. “Not many players get exposed to the sorts of competition that we do, and we have top facilities, and you get to be coached by coaches like Jimmy Cook. I have picked up knowledge that I would never have got If I’d stayed at Easterns.”
That’s where he came from. He was at CBC Boksburg, playing for the Easterns under-13 team when he was spotted and encouraged to come to the school. His family was having difficulty with paying the fees, so he was offered support by the TAG Foundation.
Jimmy Cook became his personal coach and, he said, he spends just about every day in the indoor cricket facility under the eye of the school’s 1st team coach, Gordon Matheson.
His natural ability, along with his hard work and dedication, has seen him develop into one of the top cricketers in the country in his age group. He played for Gauteng under-15A in grades 8 and 9, and for the provincial under-17 team last year, in grade 10, and is favoured to make the Gauteng under-19 team at the end of the year.
He is fully aware of the role that the school is playing in his success, and of his responsibility to be worthy of those who are backing him. That includes his performance in the classroom which he admits, is not as good as it could be. “I’m averaging in the 60s, which is OK, but the time I spend on cricket is a problem,” he said, so I need to make arrangements for that.”
Bryce has loved his four years at the school. “Not everyone gets the opportunity to attend such a prestigious school,” he said. “The history, the tradition, and the people in the school make it so fantastic. And then there’s the list of people who have come out of the school and achieved big things.”
If there is one thing that bothers Bryce, it’s being compared to other players that have gone before him. “I don’t want to be called the next whoever. I know it’s a cliché but I want to be the next me.”
Wise words from a 17 year-old, and his performance so far, and the long days he is putting in, show he is he becoming just that.