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Ken Borland


Disappointing in the context of finals, but joy for ruthlessly efficient Titans 0

Posted on December 20, 2017 by Ken

 

In the context of thrilling T20 finals it was a disappointment, but for the Titans it was the sheer joy of ruthlessly-efficient accomplishment as they strolled to a hat-trick of RamSlam T20 Challenge titles on Saturday night with a thumping seven-wicket win, with 53 balls to spare, over the Dolphins in Centurion.

Their victory was set up by a magnificent display in the field, Chris Morris leading the attack with four for 13, the best ever figures in a franchise T20 final, as the Dolphins were shot out for just 100, the lowest ever total in a final.

Against a batting line-up as powerful as the Titans, it was never going to be enough and the home side knocked off their target of 101 in just 11.1 overs, with Quinton de Kock leading the way with 39 off 27 balls and AB de Villiers blazing a cameo of 27 off 13 deliveries.

The Titans had won the toss and sent the Dolphins in to bat, and the visitors started well enough, the opening batsmen, Vaughn van Jaarsveld and Morne van Wyk, both collecting a boundary in the opening over bowled by Albie Morkel.

But the introduction of Morris for the next over from the West Lane End signalled the start of the Titans’ dominance.

Van Wyk (6) skied the second ball bowled by the all-rounder high over the point region, Farhaan Behardien back-pedalling and then taking the trickiest of catches over his shoulder.

Van Jaarsveld fell in Morris’s next over, the left-hander being bogged down with 14 off 16 balls, driving on the up and being caught at deep mid-on.

The Dolphins were 25 for two and being squeezed relentlessly by aggressive, accurate bowling and ground fielding that was also of the highest order. The development of any partnership was painstaking for the visitors and quickly nipped in the bud.

So efficient were the Titans that the biggest partnership of the innings was the 26 Dane Vilas (21) and Khaya Zondo (7) shared for the fourth wicket.

Ngidi returned to add the wicket of Dolphins captain Zondo to his earlier dismissal of Sarel Erwee (3), finishing with outstanding figures of two for 15 in his four overs, while Malusi Siboto (3-1-10-2), so obviously targeted by the Warriors in the semi-final, bounced back to get rid of the Dolphins’ two most dangerous hitters – Vilas (21) and Robbie Frylinck (0) – in the course of producing a double-wicket maiden in the 13th over.

At 67 for seven, the Dolphins were obviously not going to post anything substantial and Junior Dala (3-0-21-1) and the brilliant Morris wrapped up the innings.

De Kock showed the fluency that had eluded him so far in the campaign, collecting four fours and two sixes as he gave the Titans a brisk start, despite the early loss of Rivaldo Moonsamy (7), who fell to the wiles of Frylinck.

The part-time off-spin of Zondo accounted for De Kock, but the capacity crowd was delighted to see the skills of De Villiers, who managed to clear the boundary three times in a dozen balls, before Aiden Markram (18*) and Behardien (4*) finished the job.

https://citizen.co.za/sport/south-africa-sport/sa-cricket-sport/1761380/magic-morris-finds-his-mojo-as-titans-win-3-in-a-row/

Time for the Cape Cobras to learn to ‘tai’ 0

Posted on December 18, 2017 by Ken

 

The Kalenjin tribe of Kenya’s Rift Valley are famous for their dominance of long-distance running, numerous world and Olympic champions having come from their population of about five million, a staggering statistical anomaly that has had sports scientists scrambling to study them.

While scientists have pointed to a complex interaction between genetic and socio-economic factors for their success, the Kalenjin runners are also famous for their stoicism and endurance. It is that combined with natural abilities, that makes them world-beaters. They use the word ‘tai’ as an exhortation to keep going forward and they certainly do just that.

Much of the work on the persevering, “no gain without pain” Kalenjin has been done at the University of Cape Town and perhaps the cricket fraternity based in the city that enjoys the best standard of living in the country needs to go and study up on key traits for sporting success like determination and not blaming your failures on your opposition.

The RamSlam T20 Challenge final takes place on Saturday in Centurion and some of the Cape Cobras management and media seem to believe that they are not there due to some incredible conspiracy that involves the Titans and the weather conspiring against them. Never mind the fact that the star-studded Cobras team did not win their first three games and then threw away a winning position in their last round-robin match, where victory would have seen them hosting the semi-final against the Dolphins that was washed out on Thursday evening in Durban.

As the 2019 World Cup nears and the mental fortitude of our players is once again put under the most ruthless of microscopes, it is alarming that many of our Proteas are playing in an environment where excuse-making, blaming others and even accusing other teams of matchfixing is encouraged.

The Titans, by topping the log by miles, earned the right to prepare for their semi-final in whatever manner they saw fit, and they decided to spare their leading players the exertions of travelling to Cape Town to play on Friday, then to Durban to play on Sunday and then returning to Centurion on Monday, leaving just one day to prepare for the knockout match.

Such are the rewards for performance and they should be praised for the high standards they have brought to the competition, not tainted by slanderous allegations in the Cape that they were involved in some sort of matchfixing.

Instead of trying to bring everyone down to their under-performing standards, the Cobras, who have a wealth of talent at their disposal, should rather be focused on bridging the gap between themselves and the Titans.

In keeping with the sore-losers image they are cultivating so well in Cape Town, some of their media were quick to jump all over the Titans for only fielding five players of colour in their semi-final win over the Warriors, due to Henry Davids mangling his knee shortly before the toss.

The word from Cricket South Africa is that there will be no action taken against the Titans because the move was cleared by the head of their transformation committee, Max Jordaan, beforehand. It was a common sense decision because four minutes before the toss is hardly the time to rush someone in from outside the squad, without a warm-up.

There was no complaint from the Warriors, either, but there will always be that element in the Western Cape that knows better, watching from their vantage point behind the Mountain.

It seems there will always be the haters in South African sport when a team enjoys prolonged success.

 

https://www.pressreader.com/south-africa/the-citizen-gauteng/20171216/282570198460108

Keeping aggressive attitude leads to untroubled win for Shubhankar 0

Posted on December 14, 2017 by Ken

 

Shubhankar Sharma, the winner of the weather-disrupted Joburg Open at Randpark Golf Club on Monday, said he worked hard on keeping an aggressive attitude on the course and, as a consequence, the rising Indian star never looked in trouble as he sealed a three-shot victory on 23-under-par.

The tri-sanctioned tournament had to be completed on Monday morning due to the fourth afternoon being almost entirely washed out, and it made for an anxious wait for Shubhankar, who led by four shots overnight.

“I obviously did not sleep last night, I woke up four times, every couple of hours, because it was raining so hard. There were a lot of nerves beforehand, absolutely, because if you are chasing then you have nothing to lose, but if you are leading then you can only maintain that.

“But I was really calm once I got going, I just stuck to my game-plan and kept saying to myself to be aggressive, I never wanted to defend my lead. I set myself a target of finishing 25-under, but 23-under will do. I just kept imagining that I was three shots back,” Shubhankar said after his first victory outside of India.

As impeccable as his golf was – the accuracy of Shubhankar’s driving was particularly impressive – the standout feature of the 21-year-old’s tournament was his composure and he obviously has a very good head on his shoulders, showing maturity beyond his years.

While having one of the hottest putters in the 240-man field obviously helped a great deal in accumulating 26 birdies over the week, the absence of bogeys in his last three rounds is what pleased Shubhankar most.

“I hit the ball good and putted very well, but the up-and-downs I made the whole week were very crucial. Those par-saves get your round going and I made vital pars on 10, 13 and 15 today. Not having any bogeys was one of my main objectives today and not dropping any shots over the last three days is what makes me most happy, that’s good golf and the best part of my win,” he said.

Shubhankar resumed his round on the eighth hole on Monday and the looming presence of South African Erik van Rooyen meant he could not relax, even after birdieing the par-four ninth hole from 25 feet.

Van Rooyen shot a brilliant 66 to finish second, but Shubhankar notched pars all the way home to ensure he did not provide a back door for the chaser to slip through.

Van Rooyen said he was “really proud” of his effort but “I just could not squeeze any more birdies the way I wanted to”.

Fellow South African Shaun Norris also had plenty of reasons to smile as he roared through the field with a 65 to finish tied for third with Finland’s Tapio Pulkkanen (68). Both Van Rooyen and Norris, who pipped Pulkkanen due to his better world ranking, qualified to join Shubhankar at next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

https://citizen.co.za/sport/south-africa-sport/sa-golf-sport/1755454/it-pays-off-to-be-aggressive-says-joburg-open-winner-sharma/

Free-thinking Frittelli zooming up the rankings 0

Posted on December 11, 2017 by Ken

 

Dylan Frittelli is South Africa’s fastest rising golf star and a stellar 2017 has seen him zoom up the world golf rankings from number 152 at the start of the year to 55th when he teed it up at the Joburg Open at Randpark Golf Club this week.

The 27-year-old can certainly hit a little white dimpled ball as cleanly and powerfully as anyone else in the country, courtesy of the natural ball skills that saw him earn junior provincial colours in baseball, soccer, hockey and golf, but Frittelli clearly has another great strength, one that is as priceless as a ming vase when it comes to a sport as mentally taxing as golf.

Frittelli is clearly a deep thinker on the game and much of that thinking can be classified as lateral judging by the unusual decisions he has made.

Golf started as a Sunday driving range occupation with his provincial hockey-playing father, with a few rounds with friends over the holidays, but at the age of 11, Frittelli went to a World of Golf camp where his considerable talent was first spotted by a coach.

“From then I took things seriously, but I still played a bunch of sports until I was 15,” Frittelli said.

It was when the Johannesburg-born youngster went to St Albans boarding school in Pretoria that he made his first eccentric decision that worked out wonderfully.

“At St Albans, I asked the headmaster if I could just play golf and he said no, because they needed me in the cricket and hockey teams. So I did home-schooling instead, it was a bit of a mad scientist idea and I just said ‘let’s see what happens’. I started matric in Grade 10 and was done a year earlier than if I’d stayed in school,” Frittelli explained.

The tall, dark-haired Frittelli continues to do things differently to this day, foregoing time-consuming and often energy-draining practice rounds on courses he has played before, and even taking a compass on to the tee with him to ensure he gets his angles dead right.

The extra year he gained through home-schooling allowed Frittelli to not only play more golf but also seriously consider trying to get into the American college golf programme.

“I had it in mind that I really wanted to go to the United States and when I won the Junior World Championships in San Diego when I was 17, that opened doors for me. It was between the University of Texas and Arkansas, and Texas offered me a full scholarship,” he said.

And, by a quirk of fate, a young Jordan Spieth soon also arrived at the University of Texas and he and Frittelli would earn the Longhorns their first national championship title in 40 years in 2012, the South African sinking a 30-foot putt on the 18th to claim the win.

“Jordan was still a junior then, but I stayed in the same dorm as him at the Spirit International and helped persuade him to come to Texas. We were pretty much playing at the same level back then and to make the putt to win Nationals was huge, especially since we hadn’t won for so long,” Frittelli said.

Frittelli has won twice on the European Tour this year and, although his chances of adding to that tally at the Joburg Open are slim as he ended his second round 10 shots off the pace, he looks set to break into the top-50 in the world rankings in the near future.

And then he will be going to the majors, from which he hopes to get into the U.S. PGA Tour, especially since he still has a house in Austin, Texas.

He also badly wants to win in South Africa, to show local fans, who have not had much chance to get to know him, what he’s made of.

“I’ve only gained spots through qualifying school on the European and Sunshine tours but I would love to play in the U.S. as well. I also haven’t had any big victories in South Africa, which I would love to do because that would definitely cement my standing here.

“But I pride myself on being able to play well away from home and I won in Canada, the U.S. and Puerto Rico as an amateur, and now in Europe and Mauritius as a pro. Every good result you get breeds confidence and I felt really calm winning in Mauritius last week, which is how you want to be. No stress,” the laid-back surfing fan said.

https://citizen.co.za/sport/1753864/sas-fastest-rising-golf-star/



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