Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer
SA 'crocks' star in UK
Cape Town – They may all be the wrong side of 35, but several former South African internationals keep producing the goods at county level in England.
All of Claude Henderson, Andrew Hall and Dale Benkenstein featured prominently in the second round of County Championship 2011 four-day fixtures which ended at the weekend.
Benkenstein, 36, the former Dolphins batsman and holder of 23 Proteas one-day international caps, had decidedly mixed fortunes as his Durham side beat Yorkshire by 146 runs at Headingley: he got a first-innings duck and second-knock 150.
But at least he confirmed his sprightly early-season form: he had posted 118 and 55 not out in the earlier fixture against Hampshire, which was drawn.
Hall, the tenacious all-rounder who is closing in on his own 36th birthday, struck a weighty 146 as Northamptonshire, the side he captains, downed Kent by an innings and 159 runs.
With Hall leading the way, Northants registered a beefy 480 all out in their only required turn at the crease.
Perhaps the most surprising feature of the ever-large South African contingent in the county game this year, however, has been 38-year-old Claude Henderson’s sudden rich vein of form as a lower-order batsman.
The left-arm spinner, who was bowler of the match a few weeks ago as the Cape Cobras beat the Warriors in the Pro20 final at Newlands, showed great defiance at No 8 in a losing Leicestershire cause against Derbyshire, for whom Durban-born Wayne Madsen scored 106.
Although Leicestershire crashed by an innings and 32 runs, Henderson struck 77 out of a total of 230 in the first innings, and then added 40 not out in the second (177 all out).
In the previous match, where they beat the Alviro Petersen-led Glamorgan, he had again upstaged the specialist batsmen above him in the order by scoring 80 not out in another modest total of 238.
Test opener Petersen had shown his own mettle in that match, at least, by remarkably notching 91 runs out of a dismal first innings total by the Welsh outfit of 146.