for quality writing

Ken Borland



De Bruyn unfazed by chilling start to his Test career 0

Posted on June 12, 2017 by Ken

 

Hamilton is by no means as far down south as you can get in New Zealand, but it is still a rather cold, desolate place to make your Test debut, especially when you’re batting out of position and have to come out and open on the first morning in the typically damp, swing-friendly conditions found in that country.

There are many who believe Theunis de Bruyn was not given the best chance to succeed in his first Test back in March, scoring a three-ball duck in the first innings and then being run out for 12 in the second after a horrible mix-up with Hashim Amla, but the elegant right-hander says he was unfazed by it all and grateful that the chance came at all.

“The message I was sent was that the selectors wanted me to play, although obviously it was out of position. But I started my franchise career as an opener and as a number three batsman you face the new ball sometimes anyway. Obviously I was disappointed with how it went, but when I get to England, which is a big series, at least I have already played Test cricket.

“So I think it was worth it. Any debut is difficult with all the emotions of your dream coming true, singing the anthems, and then immediately going in on a green pitch. So it will only get easier in terms of emotion, if I play again hopefully I can just focus on watching the ball and making runs,” De Bruyn said.

“I’ll bat anywhere for the Proteas and I truly believe I can be a good opener. People chat about me being a middle-order batsman, but in my opinion, three or four is part of the top-order and you have to adapt your game to batting at 150 for one or 30 for three. It’s about switching your mind on.

‘So I’m not fazed about my debut, you never really start where you want to in Test cricket, you have to earn that right. So I’ll play where they need me,” the successful Knights captain added.

The whole brouhaha over the 24-year-old De Bruyn’s first Test threatens to obscure the positive news that he enjoyed a tremendous season, averaging 57.76 as he led the Knights to the Sunfoil Series title.

“All this focus on my debut suggests I had an horrendous season and I know with the media here that you’re a hero one day and zero the next, it’s part of professional sport. But I left my family behind in Pretoria to play for a new franchise, I won a trophy and made runs, and in two out of three formats I made my debut for South Africa, so it was a wonderful season. And it was just my third as a professional, I’m still young,” De Bruyn, who likes nothing better than to get out into the bush, pointed out.

https://www.pressreader.com/south-africa/the-citizen-gauteng/20170603/282286730229932

Otaegui takes advantage of friendly conditions with superb 62 0

Posted on December 30, 2015 by Ken

 

Spaniard Adrian Otaegui took advantage of the friendlier conditions available at the start of the second round of the Tshwane Open at Pretoria Country Club on Friday, shooting a superb eight-under-par 62 to claim a two-stroke lead at the halfway stage of the co-sanctioned tournament.

Otaegui was in the first three-ball off at 6.40am and he set the tone for his round with birdies on the par-four second and third holes. Five birdies in a row from the eighth saw him surge up the leaderboard and he then made twos at both of the par-threes on the back nine, before bogeying the last to finish on 11-under for the tournament.

“We were first to tee off this morning and the conditions were perfect. I like playing that early and I did really well. I made a lot of birdies and I’m happy with my round. It was a good round from the beginning.

“The greens were perfect, because we opened the course. They were good yesterday, but when you play first the course is in very good condition and you can take advantage,” Otaegui said after his best round on the European Tour.

South African Merrick Bremner is two shots back at nine-under-par after a typically attacking approach brought him a four-under-par 66. He started his round at the 10th hole but was level-par for the day after a bogey on the first, but four birdies would come in his last six holes to leave him alone in second place.

While joint overnight leader Morten Orum Madsen would come undone with two double-bogeys in his first four holes and successive bogeys around the turn, leaving him six shots off the pace on five-under, David Horsey kept himself in strong contention.

The Englishman started on the 10th and put a double-bogey on the fourth behind him as he collected two birdies coming in to finish on eight-under, in a tie for third with South Africans Keith Horne and Trevor Fisher Junior, and Italian Edoardo Molinari.

Sunshine Tour Order of Merit leader Andy Sullivan had an icky round of 71 to miss the cut, while it also all went wrong for Lindani Ndwandwe, who posted a promising 68 in the first round before a run of five successive bogeys from the third hole saw him shoot 79 on Friday and also miss the cut.

The in-form Wallie Coetsee had steadily climbed the leaderboard with four birdies as he stood on the 18th tee tied with Bremner on nine-under, but then suffered a major blow as his tee-shot found one of the numerous bunkers on a hole that is usually a par-five but is a par-four in this tournament.

The lapse led to a double-bogey which pushed Coetsee back down to seven-under, in a tie for seventh with fellow South Africans Dean Burmester and George Coetzee.

Conditions were definitely trickier on the second day at Pretoria Country Club, with sunny and warm conditions speeding up the greens and a capricious breeze making club selection tricky.

“I found the wind quite tricky. It was really swirling in completely opposite directions and I got a lot of clubs wrong compared to yesterday. You’re trying to make birdies with wedges in your hand and you’re hitting it five or 10 metres short because the wind changes on you. That can get quite frustrating. I think the wind was the biggest factor in why the scores weren’t that low,” Horne said after his 67.

Otaegui, who learnt the game at the same Real Golf Club de San Sebastian as former Ryder Cup captain Jose-Maria Olazabal, who is also his mentor, said Pretoria Country Club suited him.

“I like these type of courses that are old-style and have trees, so that you have to place the ball. You don’t need to hit it far, but rather put it in a place where you can attack the pins. Even if I missed a few tee shots today I hit some good irons and gave myself birdie chances,” the 22-year-old said.

He may be on top of the leaderboard at the moment, but Otaegui is not getting ahead of himself as he eyes his first top-three finish on the European Tour.

“I’m happy, but we still have a lot of way to go. It’s just 50% of the tournament and so many things can happen. I just have to be patient tomorrow. Let’s see if I’ve learnt something from these last two rounds,” he said.

Molinari, a two-time European Tour winner and a former Ryder Cup player, was slow out of the gate as he started on the 10th, only making his first birdie on the 18th hole. But he also picked up shots on the first and on his last two holes to put himself amongst the leaders.

 

 

 

 

 

Right attitude crucial in blustery East London 0

Posted on September 30, 2015 by Ken

 

A strong north-easterly wind was buffeting East London Golf Club yesterday on the eve of the Africa Open, with today’s first round of the European/Sunshine Tour co-sanctioned event likely to separate those golfers with the right attitude from those who approach the blustery conditions in negative fashion.

The wind is forecast to switch to a 35km/h south-westerly today, making much of the work done in the practice rounds irrelevant because the direction of the wind plays such a big part in how this short, old-style course plays.

But Keith Horne, one of South Africa’s best players in the wind having grown up on the coast, says the right attitude will be crucial at East London Golf Club.

“I’m not as good in the wind as I used to be because I’ve lived in Joburg for the last 13 years, but I grew up on the coast and I have the technique and mindset to play in the wind. It’s mostly about mental preparation, if you come in with the wrong attitude and try and fight the wind, then you’re not going to do well. You’ve got to use it and accept it,” Horne said yesterday.

The 43-year-old Horne is a consistent performer in the Africa Open, but one poor round has normally let him down.

But he remains one of the strong local hopes in a tournament that has never been won by a foreigner: since 2008 the champions have been Shaun Norris, Retief Goosen, Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen (twice), Darren Fichardt and Thomas Aiken.

Norris and Fichardt are the only former winners in this week’s field, however, and it’s been an age since South African golfers found themselves so dominated at co-sanctioned events. Just two of the last six European Tour tournaments in this country have been won by locals, with Branden Grace’s cruise to victory in the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek adding to Aiken’s win in last year’s Africa Open.

And it is English golfers who have been leading the charge: Andy Sullivan is one of the favourites in East London after claiming back-to-back titles at the SA and Joburg Opens, Ross Fisher won the Tshwane Open and Danny Willett triumphed in the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City.

Oliver Fisher is back at the Africa Open after losing to Aiken in a playoff last year, while David Howell and Simon Dyson bring considerable pedigree to the tournament as well.

Howell spoke about hanging on to Sullivan’s coat-tails and the 28-year-old is certainly the man of the moment.

“It’s been like a fairytale winning two so quickly, but I still have a lot to prove. I’m in a pretty good place, 58th in the world and the top 50 is obviously a nice carrot with qualification for the Masters,” Sullivan said yesterday.

Perhaps the best bet to maintain South Africa’s dominance at the Africa Open is Jaco van Zyl, who has previously chosen the tournament as his favourite summer event.

“I fell in love with this course because it offers a lot of risk and reward and a lot of options, but it punishes any wayward shots. When the wind is up, it tests every shot in the game and strategy is key,” Van Zyl said.

 

Sodden conditions can’t dampen Sharks’ ambition 0

Posted on August 24, 2015 by Ken

 

One would have thought the sodden conditions at King’s Park would have put a damper on the Cell C Sharks’ ambitions but they pulled off a superb bonus-point 29-12 win over the Emirates Lions in their Vodacom SuperRugby match in Durban on Saturday night.

There was a torrential downpour about an hour before kickoff and the rain was falling steadily until the second half, so ball-in-hand, positive rugby was never on the cards, but a magnificent forward display by the Sharks and the brilliant generalship of Pat Lambie at flyhalf allowed the Sharks to score four tries.

The foundation for their success was laid in the scrums.

The Lions’ scrum was one of the best in the competition last year, but the first-choice front row of Van der Merwe, Coetzee and Redelinghuys was strangely on the bench, and the Du Plessis brothers, Jannie and Bismarck, with the able assistance of Dale Chadwick at loosehead, won all the early battles in that set-piece and the Sharks’ first points as well as their second try both came from huge shoves by the pack.

The Lions were on the board first through a Marnitz Boshoff penalty in the third minute, but five minutes later, a stupendous scrum by the Sharks allowed Lambie to slot an angled penalty from between the 10m and halfway lines, a great effort considering the flooded field beneath his feet.

The Sharks’ rolling maul also had the Lions’ defence in disarray and it earned a penalty for the home side in the 21st minute, which Lambie pushed wide of the poles.

But the flyhalf’s liberal use of the crosskick also had the Lions scrambling and the first try came when Lambie’s kick to the left was won back by Lwazi Mvovo and the Springbok incumbent then spotted acres of space on the left and put in a pinpoint kick into the safe hands of Odwa Ndungane, who used the slippery surface to slide over the line.

The Sharks, in control up front and with a flyhalf who had clearly changed his game plan to suit the conditions, were obviously the best team in the first half and they made that dominance count with a second try in the 30th minute.

Strong forward drives by flank Renaldo Bothma  and debutant lock Lubabalo ‘Giant’ Mtyanda earned the Sharks a five-metre scrum. A massive shove made a try inevitable, but scrumhalf Cobus Reinach almost butchered the opportunity by not passing, before eventually reaching out at full-stretch to just dot the ball down on the line.

Boshoff kicked a second penalty for the Lions three minutes later, but the Sharks were so dominant that it didn’t seem to matter as they went into halftime 15-6 up.

Lions coach Johan Ackermann changed his entire front row early in the second half, and there was a noticeable improvement in the visitors’ performance, so one has to ask why they were on the bench in the first place, especially props Schalk van der Merwe and Julian Redelinghuys.

And so the Lions dominated the third quarter, allowing Boshoff to kick two more penalties and close the gap to 12-15.

But the Sharks, with Matt Stevens doing well at tighthead when he replaced the excellent Jannie du Plessis, regained the early dominance they had enjoyed at scrum-time and Ndungane, once again sharp when it came to contesting the ball in the air, forced the Lions to concede a lineout inside their 22 after another precise Lambie cross-kick.

Pieter-Steph du Toit, the best lineout jumper on the night, claimed the ball and the Sharks’ rolling maul bulldozed forward, flank Marcell Coetzee scoring the try.

Lambie’s conversion made it 22-12 and, with Lions captain and breakaway eighthman Warren Whiteley sent off the field for slapping the ball out of the hands of the halfback at a ruck, the Sharks rumbled over for another rolling-maul try by Coetzee to seal a convincing win.

The try was converted by Lambie, who had done so much in ensuring the dominance of the forwards was reflected on the scoreboard. He was ably assisted by halfback partner Reinach, and the Lions pairing of Boshoff and Ross Cronje, both Springbok hopefuls, were thoroughly outplayed by Lambie and Reinach.

The superb displays of the Du Plessis brothers, Du Toit, Reinach and Lambie will surely not go unnoticed by Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer with the World Cup in the northern hemisphere later this year.

Scorers

Sharks – Tries: Odwa Ndungane, Cobus Reinach, Marcell Coetzee (2). Conversions: Pat Lambie (3). Penalty: Lambie.

Lions – Penalties: Marnitz Boshoff (4).

 

 

 

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Thought of the Day

    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."

    The lessons Christ taught were intensely spiritual, but also extremely practical. For him, everything - every thought and deed - was an expression of his relationship with his heavenly Father. All of our life must be an expression of the spiritual.

    "I wait upon God to renew my mind, to make me creative, instead of becoming the clanging cymbal that Paul spoke of." - Paul Tournier

    "The spiritual life touches the realities of every day and enables you to look, to a certain extent, at people's problems as God does." - Solly Ozrovech



↑ Top