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Ken Borland


Sadness as two players leave the Springbok family 0

Posted on January 19, 2018 by Ken

 

Coach Heyneke Meyer likes to talk about the Springbok team as being a family, and there was sadness in camp on Monday when two players left the squad ahead of the Rugby Championship finale against the All Blacks at Soccer City on Saturday.

While Jacques Potgieter, who has an abdominal strain, was a fringe player, Francois Steyn is a key figure in the team, having played 53 Tests despite being just 25 years old, and a senior player.

But his departure from the squad to have ankle surgery is undoubtedly in the long-term interests of both the team and the player.

“Frans has quite a few loose pieces of bone in his ankle and every now and then one of them gets lodged in the joint, causing him excruciating pain. As a long-term solution, we’re sending him for surgery to have it cleaned out on Wednesday. Unfortunately that means he will be out for three months and he will miss the end-of-year tour,” team doctor Craig Roberts said.

Full report – https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2012-10-02-rugby-tough-calls-for-the-springboks/#.WmHcfK6WbIU

 

Nahoon Estuary Nature Reserve 0

Posted on January 19, 2018 by Ken

 

Blue Duiker

Blue Duiker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amidst the suburban bustle of East London, the Nahoon Estuary Nature Reserve is a small oasis in which majestic Crowned Eagles can be spotted side-by-side with the more prosaic Hadeda Ibis.

In fact, when I visited the reserve in Beacon Bay, I was fortunate enough to see a Crowned Eagle, flying majestically low over the coastal forest, although it was seemingly being chased by a Hadeda, which was following right behind it!

Considering that Hadedas are actually amongst the Crowned Eagle’s favourite avian prey, it is way more likely that it was just an illusion of perspective and the Ibis would have been keeping its distance from the powerful raptor.

The favourite prey of the Crowned Eagle is Dassies and Blue Duiker, and there were lots of the little antelope around, easily spotted on the various paths through the forest.

The 77km long Nahoon River is the centrepiece of the reserve and an excellent boardwalk allows one to explore the tidal flats as well as Africa’s southern-most mangrove forest.

The river bank no doubt provides breeding sites for Black Saw-Wing Swallow, and a pair of these summer visitors were sailing above a clearing in the coastal forest, along with Lesser Striped Swallows. Forktailed Drongos stand guard on prominent perches, one of them having a weird double tail moult.

Forktailed Drongo with double tail-moult

Forktailed Drongo with double tail-moult

Whitebreasted Cormorant fly over along the estuary, with Tawnyflanked Prinia in bushes on the flats, Spottedbacked Weavers in the reeds and Goliath Heron and Little Egret patrolling the water’s edge.

There are rocky areas as well, while pristine forest is tightly packed on the dunes bordering the river and the Indian Ocean. Trails criss-cross this enticing habitat and a pair of Greenbacked Camaropteras were jumping around next to the path, while Terrestrial Bulbul kept to themselves in the thicker stuff.

Where is the Nahoon Estuary Nature Reserve?

 

Sightings list

Blue Duiker

Sombre Bulbul

Bronze Mannikin

Whitebreasted Cormorant

Forktailed Drongo

Laughing Dove

Redeyed Dove

Tawnyflanked Prinia

Black Saw-Wing Swallow

Crowned Eagle

Hadeda Ibis

Goliath Heron

Little Egret

Greenbacked Camaroptera

Terrestrial Bulbul

Lesser Striped Swallow

Spottedbacked Weaver

Cape White-Eye

Cape White-Eyes having a bath

Cape White-Eyes having a bath

 

Proteas end high up in rankings but hardly inspired in 2017 0

Posted on January 12, 2018 by Ken

 

South Africa ended last year ranked second in Tests and first in one-day internationals in the International Cricket Council rankings, but they were hardly inspired in 2017.

In fact, the Proteas were more like the bully in the schoolyard, bolstering their self-esteem, and rankings, by picking on easy-beats like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe at home. But when they were up against the big boys, most notably in the Champions Trophy and in the four-Test series in England, they folded in a heap.

Although they won in New Zealand, the ODIs were tightly-contested and they had good fortune in the Tests, rain washing out the final game when the Black Caps were in an excellent position to level the series.

In terms of individual performances, Hashim Amla and Kagiso Rabada continued to deliver world-class performances on a consistent basis, with the batting of AB de Villiers, Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis helping to make the ODI batting unit a dominant force.

Imran Tahir was their best white-ball bowler but it was the Test spinner, Keshav Maharaj, who perhaps made the greatest strides in 2017 and, at the age of 27, he is clearly a future star for the Proteas.

The arrival of Aiden Markram as a technically solid opening partner for Dean Elgar, who was the mainstay of the Test batting with 1128 runs, behind only India’s Cheteshwar Pujara and Aussie maestro Steve Smith in the year’s tally, helped bolster a batting line-up that was exposed in England, especially during De Villiers’ hiatus from Test cricket.

Markram will obviously face far sterner challenges than Bangladesh and Zimbabwe in 2018, but he couldn’t have been expected to do much better than 380 runs in his first four innings, including two centuries.

But that there were more question marks than answers over the Proteas’ performance was borne out by the departure of Russell Domingo as coach before the start of the summer and the arrival of former West Indies head coach and England assistant Ottis Gibson.

After a gentle introduction into the job, his charges feasting on minnows Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, Gibson faces his first real test in the new year as world number ones India arrive.

He will need to keep De Villiers available for Tests just to settle the batting line-up, while the bowlers are certainly there to challenge for the number one ranking, the only problem being keeping them fit and getting the right balance in selection due to the transformation targets.

Most importantly, Gibson will be focused on the creation of a steely edge in the team, and has already created expectation for the 2019 World Cup by declaring that winning that elusive trophy is his goal.

When put under proper pressure by the likes of England, and by Pakistan and India in the Champions Trophy, the old signs of muddled thinking and near-panic were once again there. Gibson will want to make the Proteas a side that plays the big moments well and seizes every opportunity that comes their way.

The South African women’s team provided some of the highlights of the year and captured the imagination of cricket fans back home by narrowly missing out on a place in the Women’s World Cup final, hosts and eventual champions England just sneaking through in a pulsating semi-final.

Players such as Marizanne Kapp, the number one ODI bowler in the world, and Dane van Niekerk became global stars.

 

CSA board ignore their own dire mismanagement to take on players 0

Posted on January 07, 2018 by Ken

 

Despite their dire mismanagement of the postponed T20 Global League, Cricket South Africa (CSA) look set to take on the South African Cricketers’ Association (Saca) in the new year in a bid to weaken what they perceive as the players’ undue influence on the game in this country.

Speaking with CSA president Chris Nenzani alongside him, acting CEO Thabang Moroe said on Wednesday that CSA would be pushing towards plans to dictate to the Proteas what franchise they should play for and to renegotiate the revenue-sharing deal which has been in place with the players for several years.

Given the level of uncertainty surrounding the majority of players in South Africa, and the numerous lucrative offers they are tempted with from overseas, any aggressive moves by CSA are likely to antagonise their most valuable assets and chase them away to greener pastures.

“The Proteas need to be allocated to franchise teams or there could even be a draft system. We want all our Proteas to participate domestically. We were very happy with the RamSlam T20 Challenge, but it could have been even better if all the Proteas were playing at once in different teams.

“Change is definitely needed and it’s unfair on those unions that work so hard to develop players and then lose them, what are these franchises doing in their own provinces? We might not even consult Saca. The players are our employees and in the corporate world, when you are an employee, you just get an e-mail saying ‘this is the new direction, this is the way it’s going to go’.

“A trade union doesn’t have a say in our view of how our company should be run and how we engage with trade unions. There is no room for a union to intervene if CSA decide to go in a different direction. There is nothing to stop us from moving away from revenue-sharing. CSA makes the money for cricket in this country and not the players’ union,” Moroe said in Port Elizabeth.

When asked about how much money CSA had lost due to the postponement of the T20 Global League, Moroe could not resist another attack on the players.

“The money we spent on upgrading facilities has not been lost, the money we spent on buying the trophy has not been lost. The only money we’ve lost is what we paid to players for not even bowling a ball,” he said.

Moroe and Nenzani defended the board’s handling of former CEO Haroon Lorgat and his failed business plan for the T20 Global League, saying they had to resist the urges to interfere until it became absolutely necessary.

“We had management that had performed extremely well in the past and the board had complete trust in them. They drive the projects and the board does not want to interfere in daily operations, but we do get regular reports. We only became uncomfortable with the details in June/July,” Nenzani said.

https://citizen.co.za/sport/south-africa-sport/sa-cricket-sport/1769502/1769502/

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