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Ken Borland

Maties & Wits busy trying to catch top sides 0

Posted on May 12, 2016 by Ken


The University of Pretoria Tuks and the hosts, the University of Johannesburg, were at the top of the log after activities ceased in the first leg of Varsity Hockey’s men’s competition with the two Gauteng universities having won all four of their games, earning 12 points.

Tuks are in first place, having been more active in terms of scoring goals, with 15 being netted by the Pretoria students, who conceded just five for a goal-difference of +10.

UJ, after starting with a bang in a 5-3 win over Maties, were embroiled in three tough games thereafter, finishing with 13 goals but conceding eight for a goal-difference of +5.

Maties and Wits will be busy trying to catch Tuks and UJ when the second and final leg of the tournament gets underway in Stellenbosch on Friday, having both won three of their four matches.

Wits are fourth with a goal-difference of +9, while Maties have far and away the best goal-difference with +18. They recovered superbly from their defeat at the hands of UJ on the opening day by shutting out Kovsies 4-0 and NMMU 8-0, before producing an outstanding 9-1 hammering of Pukke to complete their Johannesburg fixtures.

Given their performances in their last three games and the fact that they will be playing at home, Maties could well be the side to beat.

UCT and NMMU, both with three points after one win, have an outside chance of making the semi-finals, with both playing the sides below them in the standings – Kovsies and Pukke – on the first two days in Stellenbosch.

It’s going to take quite a collapse though by Wits, who were impressive through their first three games at UJ before suffering a shock defeat at the hands of UCT on the final day.

The Stellenbosch leg starts on Friday at 1.30pm and it’s a massive clash between the two Johannesburg neighbours, UJ and Wits, that gets things started.

It will have a major impact on the log with UJ either going clear at the top or Wits joining them and Tuks on 12 points.

With wonderful players such as Taylor Dart, Gareth Heyns and Brynn Cleak – all members of the Southern Gauteng team who won the senior IPT  a fortnight ago, as well as Courtney Halle, Kyle Lion-Cachet, Tyson Dlungwana, Ryan Crowe and Amkelwa Letuka, who all played for the SA U21 team that lost in the final, UJ have plenty of scope for improvement.

Maties are also a powerful outfit, however, with goalkeeper Rob McKinley, Charles Bowren, Matt de Sousa and Alex Stewart from the SA U21 team and Western Province players in Dylan Swanepoel, Shannon Boucher, James Drummond, Keenan Horne and Daniel Bell. Former SA Schools player Reece Arendse is also a penetrative forward.

The Southern Gauteng B side, Wits, missed out on a semi-final place in the men’s IPT in a shootout against the SA U21s and they have several players in the Wits University side – Joshua Casaleiro, Kamal Ramburuth-Hurt, Rusten Abrahams, Brandon James, Chad Futcher, Stuart Philip and Thabang Modise – making them a dangerous unit.

Tuks have full internationals in Richard Pautz and Grant Glutz providing them with bite up front, while SA U21 caps Nduduzo Lembethe, Khumo Mokale and Tevin Kok also shone at UJ. Michael Marki is a former junior international and was the rock of their defence.

Tuks take on Maties in a massive game on the opening day and the local favourites will then meet Wits on Saturday, before ending the round-robin stage with a local derby against UCT.

Log (goal-difference in brackets): 1 Tuks 12pts (+10); 2 UJ 12pts (+5); 3 Maties 9pts (+18); 4 Wits 9pts (+9); 5 UCT 3pts (-1); 6 NMMU 3pts (-13); 7 Kovsies 0pts (-10); 8 Pukke 0pts (-18).

Jannie Dup says criticism made him tough but hurt his loved ones 0

Posted on September 03, 2015 by Ken


Stalwart Springbok prop Jannie du Plessis described the criticism he has had to face this year as character-building for him but extremely hurtful for his loved ones despite earning his place in the squad for a third World Cup appearance.

Du Plessis struggled for form during the Super Rugby competition as part of a dismal Sharks’ campaign, but as soon as the international season began, the 32-year-old confirmed that he is indisputably South Africa’s number one tighthead prop with a couple of powerful displays. He shrugged off suggestions that he was merely peaking at the right time.

“I think it’s by grace that I’m playing well now, I didn’t try any less hard at the start of the season. I want to see any player that doesn’t try his best whenever he runs out on to the field. I thought that the Sharks would actually win Super Rugby, we were experienced enough and we worked incredibly hard. Things just didn’t happen for us, so many games we could’ve won but it’s an unforgiving competition and just one missed tackle can mean you lose by two points. And then you play another top team and before you know it you’ve lost three in a row …

“So it was a disappointing Super Rugby season even though I put my heart and soul into it. You try not to listen when people call you too old or terrible. The humiliation makes you tough but it’s very hard for the people you care about; people say such bad things. So you do sit and reflect and think maybe it’s time to call it quits …

“But at the start of the Test season, the coach [Heyneke Meyer] told us a story about how things have different value for different people – a ring might just be stainless steel, but if it was your father’s wedding ring then it will have immense value for you. My effort has been no different and I’m happy with the faith the coach has shown in me and I believe we will win the World Cup,” Du Plessis said.

The veteran of 64 Tests said the thought of proving the critics wrong was also part of the motivation he felt before the tournament, where he and Bismarck will become the first pair of brothers to appear in three World Cups.

“You always feel under pressure because people have expectations and as a rugby player you always want to make people feel better. Everyone reacts in a similar way to criticism and that is to prove it wrong. But you learn how to discern between good criticism and bad criticism the older you get. Some people just don’t like the way you look, the way you talk or even just your hairstyle, so they’re going to criticise regardless,” Du Plessis said.


Gold stars for Amla & De Villiers for steadying SA 0

Posted on February 20, 2015 by Ken

Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers were once again earning themselves gold stars as they steadied South Africa after the loss of three wickets without a run being scored, taking the hosts to 102 for three at lunch on the first day of the first Test against the West Indies at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Wednesday.

Amla and De Villiers came together after an amazing collapse saw South Africa slump from 57 without loss to 57 for three, a previously-toothless West Indian attack suddenly taking wickets in three successive overs.

It was an extraordinary turnaround given how poorly the visitors had bowled in the first hour, producing assorted lengths and lines as openers Alviro Petersen and Dean Elgar brought up their 50 partnership in just the 10th over.

Petersen was the first to go, getting a start but only making 27 before he pushed at a regulation shortish delivery from Kemar Roach and edged it to first slip.

Just seven balls later, Elgar edged a loose drive at a short, wide delivery from Sheldon Cottrell and was caught by Marlon Samuels in the gully for 28.

It was not smart batting by the South African openers, letting an ill-disciplined West Indies side back into the game and worse was to follow another seven balls later when Faf du Plessis fell for a duck.

Du Plessis just couldn’t resist sparring at a fine delivery from Roach that just shaped away a bit and bounced more than expected, the edge safely taken by wicketkeeper and captain Denesh Ramdin.

South Africa were shaky at 57 for three after being sent in to bat, but Amla and De Villiers are both well-versed in saving the Proteas.

Amla swiped three fours through the off-side off Jerome Taylor on his way to 25 not out, while De Villiers played himself in, playing straight and reaching 16 not out at the interval.

Their partnership is currently worth 45 and, with debutant Stiaan van Zyl and young Quinton de Kock next to bat, South Africa’s hopes of a good total probably rest on their two best batsmen putting together a sizeable partnership.

Roach was the pick of the West Indian bowlers, featuring twice on the scorecard as he claimed two for 16 in six tidy overs.

Morris ties down Cobras with world record spell 0

Posted on December 17, 2014 by Ken

Chris Morris produced the most economical four-over spell in T20 history as the impressive bizhub Highveld Lions attack was able to tie down the Nashua Cape Cobras batsmen as they defended a total of just 141 and won their RamSlam T20 Challenge match at the Wanderers on Friday night by 47 runs, earning an unlikely bonus point in the process.

The Cobras bowlers had also given an excellent all-round display as they restricted the Lions, who were sent in to bat, to 141 for seven in their 20 overs, but on a good pitch that nevertheless had some life in it for the bowlers, the visiting batsmen were all at sea as they ended on a meagre 94 for nine.

Morris had them on the back foot from the outset as his first two overs from the Golf Course End were maidens and included the key wicket of Richard Levi, who was on the charge having hit Lonwabo Tsotsobe for a six and two fours in the previous over. The 27-year-old then returned to bowl the 18th and 20th overs, collecting another maiden and conceding just two runs to finish with magnificent figures of 4-3-2-2.

It is the world record for the least runs conceded in a four-over spell, beating Pakistani Zulfiqar Babar’s 4-2-3-2 for Tigers v Quetta Bears in 2012, and equalled the record for most maidens (3) held by Manpreet Gony (Punjab), Samiullah Khan (Sui Gas) and Duvvarapu Shivkumar (Andhra).

Levi (20) top-edged a swipe to the leg-side straight up and Morris took the responsibility on himself to take the steepling catch and the Lions were on top in the field from then on.

Inspired by Morris, the Lions bowlers performed with an aggressive air throughout and the Cobras only had 42 on the board after seven overs when they lost their other opener, Andrew Puttick (4), when Eddie Leie plucked a drive out of the sky, on the second attempt, off Hardus Viljoen, having raced from deep mid-on to cow-corner.

The next over brought two more wickets as Dwaine Pretorius had Dane Vilas caught behind for a single. If Vilas had actually nicked the wide, full away-swinger or hit the ground, or even if the umpires were entitled to call for a review, were controversial matters, but there was little doubt four balls later when Justin Ontong (2) was strangled down the leg side, Thami Tsolekile taking a fine, low catch.

The Cobras were 47 for four after nine overs, needing 95 runs off 66 balls and if they were going to achieve that, then Kieron Pollard had to do the bulk of the scoring.

Omphile Ramela (30) and Pollard added 29 for the fifth wicket, but they took 5.2 overs to do it and the Lions had an even firmer grip on the game when they removed the pair in successive overs.

Alviro Petersen dashed in with purpose from long-on to catch Ramela off Tsotsobe and Pollard was found wanting against the unorthodox spin of Leie, struggling to 13 off 16 balls before being castled as he tried to loft the bowler back over his head.

That left the Cobras on 82 for six, wanting miracles from the tail with 60 runs required off 27 balls.

Morris returned to write his name into the record books, picking up his second wicket when George Linde (6) stepped across his stumps and was bowled.

While the glory went to Morris, enormous credit also needs to go to the other bowlers: Tsotsobe (4-0-28-1, including 17 off his second over), Pretorius (4-0-24-2), Viljoen (an outstanding 4-1-12-2) and Leie (4-0-22-1).

The Lions managed to get off to a solid start, despite the absence of Chris Gayle, laid low by a sore back, thanks to his replacement, Rassie van der Dussen.

He and Petersen took the Lions to 43 in the seventh over before left-arm wrist-spinner Linde produced a beauty to have Petersen stumped for 18.

The ball was only sporadically coming out of the middle of Van der Dussen’s bat – and he survived the simplest of chances to Mthokozisi Shezi at third man off Dane Paterson on four. But the determination of the opener and the experience of Neil McKenzie (also badly dropped by Shezi off Linde on 3) saw the Lions reach 95 for two in the 14th over and able to gather some quick runs at the death.

McKenzie (22) and Temba Bavuma (14) both fell to the wiles of Pollard and Shezi, impressive with the ball, bowled Van der Dussen for 52 off 40 balls, with three fours and two sixes. It was the best innings of the night, the late inclusion sticking to his guns.

The end of the Lions innings was marked by the brilliant fielding of Sybrand Engelbrecht, who took three excellent catches in four balls to dismiss Jean Symes (11) off Shezi, and then Morris (0) and Pretorius (9) in the final over bowled by Ferisco Adams.

The Cobras bowlers all conceded less than 27 runs, with Shezi (4-1-23-2), Pollard (4-0-26-2) and Linde (4-1-23-2) particularly impressive and the consensus was that the Lions had a below-par total.

Just as well they have such a brilliant bowling attack with Morris making history.

*New Protea Reeza Hendricks made a brilliant 76 not out off 48 balls to take the Knights to an eight-wicket win with 22 balls remaining against the Titans in Bloemfontein.

The Titans made a paltry 135 for six in their 20 overs, collapsing from 94 for one after 13 overs as three batsmen were run out. Fast bowler Quinton Friend (4-1-15-1) and seamer Shadley van Schalkwyk (4-0-26-2) made life particularly difficult for the batsmen.

*A top-class innings of 64 not out off 54 balls by Colin Ingram carried the Warriors to a seven-wicket victory off the last ball against the Dolphins in Port Elizabeth.

The Warriors, with off-spinner Simon Harmer (4-0-22-2) to the fore, produced an excellent bowling display to limit the Dolphins to 142 for six.

A partnership of 97 in 13.2 overs between Jon-Jon Smuts (54) and Ingram then broke the back of the run-chase to give the Warriors a morale-boosting win.

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