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Ken Borland



Morkel & Titans back in Benoni & in great form 0

Posted on November 18, 2016 by Ken

 

Willowmoore Park in Benoni will play host on Friday night to the top-of-the-log CSA T20 Challenge clash between the Titans and the Knights, with Titans captain Albie Morkel leading his high-flying team at the ground where it all started for him back in 1999, and currently enjoying great individual form.

The Titans have won both their opening games with Morkel playing pivotal roles: first with the ball against the Highveld Lions when he claimed three for 12 in four outstanding overs, and then on Wednesday night with the bat when he steered his team to victory over the Cape Cobras with 34 not out off 16 balls.

“Albie sometimes plays himself down, but he’s a very valuable cricketer and the head of the side. He wants those pressure situations and he showed that again against the Cobras, winning the game for us with the bat, having done it with the ball in the previous game,” Titans coach Mark Boucher told The Citizen on Thursday.

Heinrich Klaasen, who was pushed up the order to open against the Cobras with some success as he scored 46, is likely to be partnered by Grant Mokoena on Friday as Henry Davids has strained a hamstring.

“We’ve been under pressure in both games because we lost a couple of quick wickets up front, but we still managed to get the middle-order firing. So it will be very exciting if we can get a good start,” Boucher noted.

Willowmoore Park has thrown up more than her fair share of tricky pitches for batsmen – in last season’s game in Benoni against the Knights, the Titans could only manage 136 for nine and were beaten by a spectacular all-round performance by West Indian Andre Russell (4-11 & 66*).

Russell is no longer in the Knights team but they have star quality in returning captain Theunis de Bruyn, fast bowlers Marchant de Lange and Duanne Olivier, and middle-order batting star David Miller.

“I just want a good cricket wicket for us to hopefully take advantage of, we’ve got both pace and spin covered. This is one game I’m really looking forward to because the Knights beat us in the four-day competition and they look like a side that will challenge for top spot. So we will be tested and we need good intensity,” Boucher said.

Friday night’s other game is in the fairest Cape, although there will be no love lost between the Cobras and the Warriors as they clash at Newlands.

The embattled Cobras have lost both their T20 games thus far, heaping more pressure on themselves, and they will be desperate to get their first win of the season in any format.

Sullivan wins playoff after Schwartzel’s dream turns into a nightmare 0

Posted on March 22, 2015 by Ken

When Charl Schwartzel walked off the 13th green at Glendower Golf Club on Sunday after his second successive birdie, he was enjoying a four-shot lead in the South African Open, his dream of a first national open title looking a near-certainty.

But  a disastrous finish that saw Schwartzel bogey both the par-threes coming in and rack up a double-bogey at 16 meant he was embroiled in a playoff with Andy Sullivan, and when the Englishman fashioned a superb approach shot from the rough and then sank a pressure 12-foot winning putt on the 18th, the local favourite’s dream had become a nightmare.

Sullivan admitted afterwards that he was just about to leave Glendower to head for the airport and his flight to Dubai when Schwartzel began unravelling, his final-round 74 leaving him on 11-under for the tournament.

“I was nearly ready to go and I didn’t see Charl do what he did. I was reflecting on the week and thinking ‘yeah, second is good for the first tournament of the year’, but the unbelievable happened,” Sullivan said.

He went to warm-up again on the driving range, but his tee-shot in the playoff was way left and in trouble in the rough, behind the low branches of a tree. Schwartzel, however, had been ropey all day off the tee and with his irons, and he had earlier sent his playoff drive way right, even further from the fairway than Sullivan’s.

The 28-year-old from the English midlands town of Nuneaton produced a superb stroke, setting up his maiden European Tour win, as he left his second a mere 12 feet from the hole.

“I thought I was in trouble because to miss the fairway right is better on that hole, it’s a lot clearer. But I thought ‘it’s all about what I can do’ and I didn’t allow Charl’s position to have any influence on what I did.

“I only had 131 metres to the pin, but I had low branches in front of me so I had to hit a low nine-iron to keep under those. I was aiming at the grandstand and trying to cut it back, and I hit it perfectly. I thought I’d still be 20 feet from the flag, but instead I was 12 feet and pin-high,” Sullivan said.

He said it was “without a doubt” one of the best shots he has ever played, and he made it count by ramming in the putt for birdie and becoming the first English winner of the SA Open since Tommy Horton in 1970.

The man who famously won a trip into space for a hole-in-one at the KLM Open last September said he would be celebrating and “milking it for all its worth” till he was seeing space.

The enormity of his achievement, coming to the lairs of Schwartzel, Els and Grace and claiming their title, was starting to sink in for Sullivan when he spoke to the media about an hour after sinking the winning putt.

“South Africans are so good on their home turf, to beat guys like Charl, Branden and Ernie here is just unbelievable. I’ve dreamt about winning a tournament since I was a little boy and what a championship, one of the oldest in golf and with all that history, to win. To think that my name will be on that trophy forever … “

Life is great on and off the course for Sullivan, who celebrated the birth of his daughter Ruby in late 2013 and has now converted a promising 2014 season into a maiden European Tour title.

Sullivan started the final round eight behind Schwartzel and knew he had to go low to have any chance. But he was only one-under through the front nine, before a stellar four-under-par back nine, including an eagle on the short par-four 12th catapulted him into contention.

He chipped in on 12 and was able to make birdies on the par-four 10th and 16th holes to earn himself R2.2 million.

Fellow Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick began the day five off the lead in second place, but the young rookie faded to a 73 on Sunday, but will still cart off just over R400 000 for his impressive efforts.

 http://citizen.co.za/305273/schwartzel-sullivan-showdown/

Mooar teaches Sharks right time to counter-attack 0

Posted on February 04, 2015 by Ken

The Sharks have been enjoying a fortnight of input from New Zealand-born attack coach Brad Mooar and, according to veteran wing Odwa Ndungane, the specialist advice centred around being able to pick the right time to turn defence into offence.

“It’s been nice to have Brad around because the Kiwis have been the leading attacking teams. It’s about creating something out of nothing and he’s given us some small ideas. It’s about vision, decision-making and also confidence. The structure is there, but we need to see the opportunities when they present themselves elsewhere. The call might be to go left, but then there’s space on the right and everyone needs to adapt, everyone needs to know what to do,” Ndungane told The Citizen on Thursday.

The Sharks were in the bottom five for tries scored in the 2014 SuperRugby tournament, with just 32 in 16 matches, and Ndungane admitted their sluggishness on attack needed to be sorted out.

“We had our fair share of criticism for not scoring tries, but we want to play and score tries, so we’ll take any help we can get. Brad tweaked a few small things, the structure’s there but it’s just about shaping it to use all opportunities. It comes down to knowing when to play, about opportunities in the right areas.

“A lot of times last season I could see space on the outside, but it’s about having confidence in the guys around you. Everyone needs to be aware and communicating and the inside players mustn’t take up the space,” the Springbok said.

Ndungane said sharpening their skills in terms of running lines, catching and passing and when to push off or cut back in, was part of Mooar’s sessions, and the Southland coach told The Sharks website that his goal was to provide the team with the weapons to carry out the greater attacking emphasis that new coach Gary Gold wants.

“It’s about looking at different ways of attacking, looking at the little things,” Mooar said. “This is a very simple game, but as coaches we tend to over-complicate things. We need to go back to basics, so this is really simple stuff.

“Somewhere between the South African philosophy and the New Zealand philosophy is a very powerful beast. The main difference between rugby in the two countries is simply a decision-making thing. In New Zealand we are a lot more comfortable allowing opportunity over system. In South Africa, traditionally it’s been a lot more system-based. When an opportunity is presented, you must stay in the system, but if space opens, why not play it?

“I think that would be the key difference. Once that happens, it’s about providing the skills around that. What do we need to make that happen?

“The players are more than keen to learn; they have been outstanding. I think they are quite keen to attack, and it might not always be about attacking more, just attacking better.

“There are a lot of big men and good athletes here, but it’s about a mindset – becoming and being comfortable playing and taking opportunities. Knowing that if they have a go they’re not going to be criticised on Monday,” Mooar said.

 

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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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