Thu 5 Aug 2004 | 12:00


Thu 5 Aug 2004 | 12:00



School profile


We profile Hoër Landbouskool Marlow of Cradock, the oldest agricultural school in South Africa and a school with rugby at its core.

Cradock is sheep country and Marlow's nickname is Wolram, fortuitously Marlow spelt backwards.

Sir John Francis Cradock, an Irishman, became governor of the Cape in 1811 and was much involved in the unhappy wars of the Border area. He was not long at the Cape, returning to England in 1812 where he was later created a baron.

The town, about 260 km from Port Elizabeth, was founded in 1813 on the banks of the Great Fish River to look after migratory farmers. One of the ten oldest towns in South Africa, it is a centre for the farming of sheep, goats and cattle. It is a beautiful town amongst the mountains.

Nearby is the Cradock Mountain Zebra part which played an important part in saving the animals from extinction. There is a sulphur spa and was the home of Olive Schreiner whose grave is on the top of Buffelskop.

Perhaps the most famous happening at the town was the funeral of the Goniwe Four in 1985 which gave rise to the uprising which ended apartheid.


The railway line between Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth runs past the school and there is a siding there called Marlow, named after a railway engineer of that name. His name has now been transported to the famous school.

Hoër Landbouskool Marlow/Marlow Agricultural High School is the oldest agricultural school in South Africa, founded on 1 January 1931 on the banks of the Great Fish River. It was founded on a farm of 3 400 hectares some 10 kilometres north of Cradock.

The Orange-Fish River scheme provides opportunities for irrigation, a great place for mixed farming.

Most of the 248 pupils – all boarders – come from the Eastern Cape, boys from farms.

The curriculum is the same as in other schools but adds Agricultural Science and Applied Agricultural Science in six branches of farming – sheep and wool, dairy, pigs, poultry, fruit and vegetable, field husbandry and farm mechanics.

Most of the schools Old Boys go back into the farming sector.

The number of applications grows each year. The school usually has 100% passes in matric with 55% gaining university entrance.

On the sporting field Marlow does better than most schools in the Karroo and Eastern Cape Midlands.

School information

Name: Hoër Landbouskool Marlow/Marlow Agricultural High School
Founding date: 1 January 1931
Motto: Handhaaf en bou (Maintain and build)
Number of pupils: 248
Number of rugby teams: 12


The small school has 12 teams and travels some 33 000 kilometres each year in search of opposition – in the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, South Western Districts, Boarder and the Free State.

In 2004 it had the following achievements by its pupils:

Eastern Province Craven Week: Johan van Niekerk and Louwrens Lombard
Eastern Province Under-16 team: Daniel Muller,  Jacobus Odendaal, Nielbert Kitching (selected but withdrew through injury)
Eastern Province Country Districts at the Academy Week: Elroy Barend, Ken Prinsloo, Tommy Roux, Herman Kok, Willie Hayward, Noppe van Heerden, Abraham Marx, Werner Nortjé.

Old Boy rugby achievers

Willie Meyer and Philip Smit, while Jorrie Kruger and Chris Kruger, who has also played for the South African Barbarians, have played Sevens for South Africa. Steve Sykes left Marlow in 12002 and in 2003 played for the SA Under-19 side which won the World Championship in Paris.

Marius Corbett plays provincial rugby from time to time. In 1997 he concentrated on athletics and won for World Championship for the javelin.


The biggest match of the year in Cradock is the one with Cradock High School, though Marlow has dominated the encounter in recent years.

Then plays against many top sides around the country, including fellow-agriculturalists Oakdale of Riversdale. Beating them in 2004 was a grand occasion.

Matches between Cradock and Marlow down the years

1951 Cradock won 6-3 and Marlow won 3-0
1952 Cradock won 8-6 and 9-0
1953 draw 3-3 and Marlow won 11-3
1954 draw 3-3 and Cradock won 6-0
1955 Marlow won 9-3 and 9-6
1956 Cradock won 9-0 and Marlow won 9-3
1957 Marlow won 6-3 and Cradock won 11-3
1958 Cradock won 9-6
1959 Cradock won 8-6 and 3-3
1960 Cradock won 8-0 and 15-3
1961 draw 3-3
1962 Marlow won 9-8 and Cradock won 13-0
1963 Cradock won 11-8 and 8-5
1964 draw 9-9 and Cradock won 5-3
1965 Cradock won 8-0
1966 Marlow won 8-0
1967 Marlow won 8-3
1968 Marlow won 6-3 and Cradock won 12-8
1969 Marlow won 8-6 and 9-8
1970 Cradock won 14-9
1971 draw 6-6
1972 Marlow won 15-3
1973 Cradock won 7-0
1974 Cradock won 3-0
1975 Cradock won 15-3
1976 Cradock won 18-4
1977 draw 9-9
1978 Cradock won 25-6
1979 Marlow won 22-16
1980 Cradock won 11-7
1981 Marlow won 15-7
1982 Cradock won 6-0
1983 draw 0-0
1984 Marlow won 10-9
1985 Marlow won 15-6
1986 Marlow won 14-6
1987 Marlow won 9-6
1988 Marlow won 13-6
1990 Marlow won 7-0
1991 Marlow won 9-6
1992 draw 9-9
1993 Marlow won 30-3
1994 Cradock won 10-3
1995 Marlow won 9-5
1996 Marlow won 18-6
1997 Cradock won 8-3
1998 Marlow won 10-3
1999 Marlow won 19-9
2000 Marlow won 11-0
2001 Marlow won 41-6
2002 Marlow won 29-10
2003 Marlow won 15-10

In 68 matches Marlow have won 32, Cradock 26 with nine matches drawn.

PV: 82
Hoer Landbouskool Marlow | Rugby365