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Ken Borland



Top of the log speaks volumes for Dragons’ clinical edge 0

Posted on November 30, 2017 by Ken

 

It speaks volumes for the new clinical edge in Sihle Ntuli’s Drakensburg Dragons side that last year’s Premier Hockey League wooden-spoonists overcame vastly different challenges to win both their games and top the men’s log after the opening weekend of the 2017 competition at the Randburg Astro.

In their opening game, the Dragons hammered last year’s runners-up, the Addo Elephants, 4-0, defending stoutly and being ruthless in finishing their chances at the other end.

The next day, they had to survive the anxiety of a shootout to beat the Golden Gate Gladiators 3-1, after the match ended 2-2 after full time.

“The biggest disappointment last year was that if we look at all our games, we actually outplayed our opponents. The stats were in our favour but we just didn’t convert, so for us to come away with four goals was a really good start to our tournament.  A big thing for us was to not concede – that’s a very good sign for us. The Elephants team have some good players up front so it was a great defensive effort,” coach Ntuli said.

In the women’s tournament, the defending champion Blyde River Bunters ensured that they finished the first weekend on top of the standings as they beat the Namaqualand Daisies SA U21 side in a washed out match that had to be decided by a shootout, and then beat the St Lucia Lakers 3-1 thanks to a brace from Thati Segaole.

“The conditions were difficult to play flowing hockey. There were a couple of concepts that we did very well though. We’ve just got to do a few tweaks and I’m happy that we can do that. So I have all the confidence in the world that we will get better as the tournament progresses,” coach Lindsey Wright said.

 

The most memorable performance by a fast bowler 0

Posted on August 01, 2016 by Ken

 

The thrilling Kagiso Rabada stole the show at the CSA Awards this week by claiming most of the trophies for himself with the same ruthlessness he displays in targeting the batsman’s wicket, but the most memorable performance by a fast bowler, for me, came the night before at the 25 Years of Unity celebration when Vincent Barnes spoke movingly about the challenges he had to face as a cricketer whose career was ruined by Apartheid.

Barnes is currently the high performance manager for Cricket South Africa, having previously served for many years as the national team’s bowling coach. But he was also arguably the greatest cricketer in the non-racial ranks during the decade before 1991’s formation of the United Cricket Board and the return to international cricket.

The pitches were notoriously poor on their side of the divide – the Apartheid government certainly wasn’t bothered with providing facilities for the majority back then – but Barnes’ figures stand head and shoulders above everyone else in his generation: 323 wickets at an average of just 11.95!

The injustices of Apartheid meant Barnes had to work doubly hard just to play cricket and the passion he has for the game overcame the fact that there was no higher outlet for his talents. But the 56-year-old has seldom spoken of those frustrations – unlike some of the privileged set who were denied international cricket due to isolation – and instead focused on passing on his knowledge to the new, unified generation of South African cricketers.

The greats of White cricket were also acknowledged at the celebration, but it was Barnes’ story of overcoming the odds which was the most poignant for me.

As good as the awards dinner was the next evening, the shadow of sports minister Fikile Mbalula’s enormous ego and Donald Trump-like “leadership” did hang over it a bit for me. I am sad that Cricket South Africa’s response to the increase in pressure from the sports minister for a faster transformation pace, purely intended to put the spotlight on himself in this election year, has been to kowtow to a man who is all bluster and no positive action.

First we had HD Ackerman shamefully removed from the hosting duties because he is taking up a job in Australia (Derek Alberts did a fine job standing in), and then the announcement that quotas will be formally introduced at national level. At least that ends the dishonest sham that resulted in disasters like last year’s World Cup semifinal.

As if to really drive home the point that CSA have worked harder on transformation than any other code, Rabada then takes home half-a-dozen awards.

What was miserable Mbalula’s response? – a tweet that read “Congratulatons! Kagiso Rabada, I sincerely believe you not gonna disappear after being used like all others who came bfo”.

 

Sea of bad news for Dolphins but Morgan positive 0

Posted on June 15, 2016 by Ken

 

New coach Grant Morgan has just completed his first week at the Dolphins amidst a sea of bad news for the KwaZulu-Natal franchise, but as a dogged former cricketer he says the challenges will be turned into positives.

The Dolphins have lost marquee stars in David Miller and Kyle Abbott, international all-rounder Ryan McLaren and up-and-coming players like Mathew Pillans, Jonathan Vandiar, Daniel Sincuba, Craig Kirsten and Aya Myoli, while their CEO, Pete de Wet, confirmed this week that he will be leaving his post at the end of July to become the chief executive of Central Districts in New Zealand.

“They can knock down Kingsmead stadium and move us all to Chatsworth and I won’t mind. I expect more challenges in the role and we will turn them into positives. A lot of people will look at us and say we’re in trouble, maybe underestimate us, and we can trade on that. There are some gems in KZN cricket that people don’t even know about,” Morgan told Saturday Citizen on Friday.

While the 44-year-old is not the high-profile, internationally-experienced coach some Dolphins fans were hoping for – it’s not as if the franchise has billions of rand to attract that sort of figure – Morgan fits the bill as a well-travelled and successful coach.

“The first challenge I had to get over was people always saying I haven’t coached at that level. But I’ve been involved with 19 different teams and encountered a lot of cultures and circumstances, at four different unions, some universities, IPL teams and overseas clubs.

“And there are a couple of lurkers in this Dolphins squad that most people in South Africa don’t know about, guys I really feel can make a jump up, they can jump out of the pack. Some are already good enough for the next level, I just need to build their self-belief. I tell them all that when they come back to Kingsmead for a 10-year reunion, I want them to say these were the greatest days of their lives,” Morgan said.

The winner of four domestic trophies with the KZN Inland side wants his players to be lion-hearted and brave in their cricket.

“We want to play positive and attractive cricket, although you always want the bragging rights of being able to win. But we need an aggressive brand that will turn people back to Kingsmead, we need to show that we are enjoying what we do. I’ll encourage them to take the risk, but be humble players.

“I also don’t want to isolate the amateur guys, I’ll be working with the semi-professional team coaches Shane Burger and Roger Telemachus. Those players must see that I am there for them too, I want to draw the net wider and develop them too, make them believe that they can step up as well,” Morgan said.

 

New SA U19s’ success down to self-awareness – Mahatlane 0

Posted on July 01, 2014 by Ken

In discussion with new SA U19 coach Lawrence Mahatlane

Lawrence Mahatlane is the new man in charge of South Africa’s U19 cricket talent and he says their future success will be down to how self-aware and mentally equipped they are for the challenges of the professional game.

Mahatlane has big boots to fill, succeeding Ray Jennings after he steered the U19s to Junior World Cup glory in Dubai on March 1, but he is already bringing a new emphasis to the development of South Africa’s young stars.

“My job is to get them ready, mentally as much as anything. It’s about how they adapt to match situations and we need to accelerate the process of their up-skilling.

“It’s all linked in to their self-awareness. Are they comfortable with their own technique? Technical matters can create doubt – thinking about your head falling over or your hands not going through the ball while you’re batting is not ideal,” Mahatlane told The Pretoria News on Monday at the University of Pretoria, where the U19s are having trials.

“If you’re worrying about your technique, worried about where your toes are pointing when someone as fast as Dale Steyn is running in to bowl at you, then you’re in a lot of trouble. A player is going to run into a hundred coaches through his career and if you’re not self-aware, you will struggle emotionally. You need to understand your technique and grow with it. The game is a lot more about the mental aspect higher up and the youngsters need to be able to survive the heat.

“So that’s why I’ve had them all fill in questionnaires about how they see their own games. By writing it down, they become more self-aware and then we have video analysis to see if they are actually doing it – it’s a different thing doing it under pressure in the middle,” Mahatlane explained.

Mahatlane is taking over the SA U19s at a time of natural change, when a procession of new cricketers come through the age-groups; there are only three players eligible for selection from the World Cup-winning squad.

The first engagement for Mahatlane and his team is a tour to England. A month today they will be playing the first “Test” against England in Cambridge. The tour includes two four-day internationals and then five ODIs.

“We’ll take 15 over from these trials and it’s going to be quite a challenge for them. There’s only a couple of players available from our World Cup squad, while England have just about their whole team back. But there have been some very impressive performances at this camp,” Mahatlane said.

The SA U19 job marks a return to mentoring junior cricketers for the 37-year-old, who was previously the Highveld Lions assistant coach and the head coach of Pirates Cricket Club, but first made his name as the 2002 SA U19 assistant coach. The next year, he was in charge as the team won the Junior Commonwealth Games title, and he also worked under current Proteas coach Russell Domingo in the 2004 Junior World Cup in Bangladesh.

Although Mahatlane has the credentials and respect in cricketing circles, his appointment to succeed the popular Jennings so soon after the Junior World Cup triumph was controversial and poorly handled by Cricket South Africa. Many have seen it as a hospital pass for the well-known radio commentator.

“I don’t see it as daunting, I see it as exciting. At this age-group, every year there is change and growth and if players are going to perform at such a young age, then they need to be mentored better and for longer,” Mahatlane said.

That 2003 U19 side included AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, Vernon Philander, JP Duminy and Aaron Phangiso. There’s no doubt Mahatlane’s early mentoring was good for their careers and he will be hoping to have a similar impact for the current crop of young talent.

 

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    James 1:5 - "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him."

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