Hein Raath has become the sixth-ever Honorary Life Member of the Northerns Cricket Union, having been nominated by sitting NCU board member Sollie Barnard.
A versatile sportsman who excelled in cricket and rugby, Raath was the first-ever Afrikaans speaking player in the history of South African cricket to be captain of a Nuffield Side.
A proud product Affies and the University of Pretoria, he had a distinguished school and tertiary career, playing representative cricket in junior and high school, before starting at Affies in cricket, rugby and tennis.
He played for Northerns at Nuffield Week with distinction, before captaining the side in 1971.
As he grew into adult life, Raath started showing his appetite for sporting administration.
He was instrumental in the building of the New Cricket Oval at the Technicon of Pretoria in 1981, before being appointed as the Director of Cricket at the Technicon Pretoria sport office. Under his leadership, the Tech team improved from fifth league cricket to the premier league within five years.
During this period of success, Raath introduced the first ever Benson & Hedges Night Cricket Series in the province, at the New Technicon Oval.
He was still playing first team club rugby with distinction during this period.
He was also constantly organising iconic events, such as the first ever International Cricket Match (Test) game between an Australian XI and SA XI at Technicon Cricket Oval.
Armed with an international Level 3 senior coaching course, Raath has always had a massive interest in the game.
Having served on the Northerns board, he was appointed as the Director of Cricket at the Sports Foundation of Southern Africa.
Some of the practices he implemented are still being used in South Africa today.
From 1987 to 1992, Raath was appointed as National Leader of the first ever National Plascon Academy for International and National Players.
This academy has been integral in producing quality players for Proteas sides for generations.
Naturally, Raath has served on numerous boards and selection committees, in both rugby and cricket.
From 1998 to date, he has been Chairman of Tuks Cricket Club. Indeed, he has been involved with Tuks Cricket Club for the past 33 years as Captain, Player, Chairman and President.
For his incredible contribution, he was awarded Honorary Life Membership at Tuks Cricket Club in 1999.
He has served as President of Tuks Cricket Club since 2006, while he has been Chairman of Blue Bulls Rugby Trust since 2014.
For his contribution to cricket, he was Awarded Honorary Membership to Titans Cricket in 2017.
“He has served the game with such dedication and distinction,” Titans Cricket CEO Dr Jacques Faul explained.
“Oom Hein has been a pillar of strength in administration and his knowledge of all structures is pivotal to our continued success,” Faul added.
Raath is still involved in Provincial Rugby structures.
In 2012, he retired as a businessman and has lived in Franschhoek. After the passing of his wife in 2014, after he returned to settle in Pretoria.
Amarlal Soma’s dedication to transformation has also been recognised, with an Honorary Membership. Now 79 years young, Soma has a deep love for the game, and his life’s work at Laudium Cricket Club is testimony to his dedication at all levels.
He was critical in the alliance of SuperSport and Northerns and Easterns, to form the Northerns Titans. He also has a strong charity legacy, through the Allan Gray Legacy Fund, as well as the Child Welfare Organization, which has brought heroes into the lives of young children who need inspiration.
Amarlal remains a massive supporter of sport, at all levels.
Brian Pritchard’s incredible work in cricket development has been rewarded with an Honorary Membership.
Son to the legendary Richard Pritchard, Brian has carved out his own legend by rolling up his sleeves and dedicating his life to the game’s structures.
He galvanised Eersterust Cricket Club from a single club in the lower tiers, into a throbbing cricket community with a massive family reach.
From Bakers Cricket, Academy structures, to playing a decisive hand in the career path of current Titans coach Mandla Mashimbyi, Proteas icon Daler Steyn, and Titans evergreen Alfonso Thomas, Pritchard has had an outstanding innings.
He is a gleaming monument for others to follow in dedication and passion for the sport.
“We need leaders who bring humility and dedication to administration,” Dr Faul said in saluting Soma and Pritchard. “Their contributions will never be forgotten.”