Thirty year old Burton de Wett only arrived from East London in the Western Cape the day before his first match with Matlock CC, yet 16 hours on from touching down, he scored a confident 99 runs, took both a catch and his first wicket and has kicked on from there.
Burton can be seen playing with Matlock 1st XI in Division One of the Derbyshire County Cricket League for the rest of the season as the club endeavours to achieve its aim of an immediate return to the Derbyshire Premier League.
Primarily a left handed batsman, he also bowls leg breaks and googlies which really spin, is an alert fielder and qualified level two coach who is prepared to give lessons at Causeway Lane.
He already has experience of British summers, having played professionally for Irvine CC in Scotland ten years ago and later with Heaton CC in the Bolton League.
Last season he was the professional for Nelson CC in the Lancashire League, following in the footsteps of the likes of Learie Constantine (West Indies), Johnny Wardle (England), Kapil Dev (India) and Nathan Hauritz (Australia). Last season Burton scored 729 runs at an average of 51.5 and took 15 wickets.
Burton’s CV is impressive. He was educated at Selborne College, a sports-oriented school in East London, South Africa, which offers entry through a Jacques Kallis scholarship. Test player Mark Boucher is an old boy.
He gained entry to the Border Academy (equivalent to the county academies in the UK) and went on to join the country’s National Academy in Johannesburg.
For the past three South African seasons, he has played for South Western District, a First Class team equivalent to an English county or Australian state side and has played on all the Test grounds in South Africa.
His ambition is to be a “consistent player and perhaps play franchise cricket again”.
Burton says he will miss his four-year old son Christiano, living in Johannesburg and fiancé Arlene Bantham ,but will combat this with dedication to cricket. He has already been critical of Matlock’s training methods, having been used to three sessions per week, each one specialising in, bowling, batting or fielding.
Now living in Hackney, his first impressions of Matlock are good, “particularly the friendly service received when shopping”.
Having scored 171 runs in his first three league games at an average of 85, he has proved a welcome addition to the team, chipping in with five key wickets on Saturday against Swarkestone.