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Ken Borland

WP Peninsula ready for the move back to A Section 0

Posted on May 03, 2016 by Ken


Western Province Peninsula ensured that they will move back into the hockey IPT A Section should there be promotion as they clinched the men’s B Section title in the Greenfields Senior Interprovincial Nationals with a convincing 5-1 victory over KZN Mynahs in the final in Randburg on Saturday.

Peninsula went into a 2-0 lead at halftime through a penalty stroke by Reece Arendse and a field goal by Warren McEwan and, although Mynahs pulled a goal back through Kovin Moodley four minutes after the break, the WP B side made their move early in the final quarter as McEwan completed his hat-trick with two impressive field goals in two minutes.

Kyle Lottering added the finishing touches to an impressive week for Peninsula, who won the A IPT in 2014 in one of the most sensational results in SA hockey history, as he added the fifth goal three minutes from time.

North-West enjoyed a small consolation for their semifinal defeat in a shootout at the hands of the Mynahs as they won the bronze medal with a 6-3 win over Zimbabwe, dominating the second half with Francois Cilliers scoring a brace.

B Section results

Men’s B Section final: WP Peninsula 5 (Reece Arendse, Warren McEwan [3], Kyle Lottering) KZN Mynahs 1 (Kovin Moodley).

Women’s B Section final: WP Peninsula 2 (Kayde Miller, Robyn Pinder) KZN Mynahs 1 (Stacey Hiron).

Men’s B Section bronze medal: North-West 6 (Francois Cilliers [2], Killian Ludick, Mitesh Makan, Neil van Onselen, Pierre Bothma) Zimbabwe 3 (Luckson Sikisa, Edwin Tholanah, Arnold Mpofu).

Women’s B Section bronze medal: Zimbabwe 4 (Michelle Williams [2], Michelle Mollins [2]) KZN Inland 0.

Men’s B Section: 5th-6th SA Country Districts 2 (Ryan Innes, Etienne Blatt) Northerns B 1 (Reece Mowatt); 7th-8th Eastern Gauteng 3 (Kyle Cameron, Darren Ellis, Bradley Nunn) KZN Inland 0.

Women’s B Section: 5th-6th Mpumalanga 2 (Jeanri Naude, Linze Liversage) Southern Gauteng Nuggets 1 (Jerri Dennyschen); 7th-8th SA Country Districts 5 (Robyn Morgan, Anel Beukes, Marelie Devereux  [2], Andri van Heerden) Northerns B 3 (Chanel Dippenaar, Hanlie Podd, Ane Luus).

Final placings

Men: 1 WP Peninsula; 2 KZN Mynahs; 3 North-West; 4 Zimbabwe; 5 SA Country Districts; 6 Northerns B; 7 Eastern Gauteng; 8 KZN Inland.

Women: 1 WP Peninsula; 2 KZN Mynahs; 3 Zimbabwe; 4 KZN Inland; 5 Mpumalanga; 6 Southern Gauteng Nuggets; 7 SA Country Districts; 8 Northerns B.

Bulls taking Southern Kings seriously after overseas success 0

Posted on March 25, 2015 by Ken

The Southern Kings ensured on their amazingly successful overseas tour that the rest of South Africa will now take them seriously in SuperRugby and that is exactly the attitude the Bulls have been stressing as they head to Port Elizabeth for Saturday’s massive encounter.

The Kings will, of course, have to battle travel fatigue having arrived back from Australia, where they drew with the Brumbies and beat the Force in their last two outings, only this week, but that will be offset by the tremendous lift a capacity crowd at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium will give them.

While the Kings may only have four Springboks, including returning skipper Luke Watson, to the 13 of the Bulls, that’s not what visiting coach Frans Ludeke will be focusing on: Confidence and momentum will be far more important than previous history written on paper.

“I called it at the start of the season that the Kings would not be pushovers and I know their coaches well. They are quality and have great structures. Their achievements are what you want for SA rugby – they put pressure on the overseas sides.

“But we’re looking forward to the contest. It is sold out and that makes it extra special. It will bring the best out of our players on the night and we like that sort of challenge,” Ludeke said this week.

With the Kings having adjusted well to the pace of SuperRugby, especially in defence, the match is likely to be played at Test match intensity and that will suit the Bulls, simply because they have more experience of those sorts of clashes and they have players like Morné Steyn who love to grind out a win.

The Bulls will no doubt stick to the same percentages-based strategy that saw them return to winning ways last weekend against the Cheetahs, but they do have the attacking players to capitalise if the Kings make mistakes under pressure. Jan Serfontein made a highly encouraging first SuperRugby start at inside centre last weekend, while JJ Engelbrecht, Akona Ndungane and Lionel Mapoe provide plenty of pace and finishing ability.

The Kings may be tempted to go all-out attack against the Bulls, but their defence has been so good recently that all they need is a couple of dropped balls to pile pressure on the home side.

For the Bulls, it will be all about making a good start to reduce the amount of help the Kings get from the crowd. They don’t want to be chasing the game and nobody wants to be the first South African team to lose to the Kings, which just increases the pressure if they fall behind.

For the Kings, holding on to the ball for longer periods will be crucial because the Bulls game is all about suffocating the opposition and forcing mistakes. That’s hard to do when you’re the team doing the defending.

In Durban, there could be a major shuffling of the Conference standings if the Sharks lose to the Cheetahs.

The Sharks have won five of their seven matches and are third on the overall log, so there’s certainly no crisis at King’s Park, but they are about to embark on a tough overseas tour and they lost last weekend to the Stormers. So they really don’t want to go on tour on the back of two straight defeats and coach John Plumtree, mindful that his team haven’t really clicked yet this season (apart from massacring the hapless Rebels), has made key changes to his line-up.

Springboks Jannie du Plessis, Ryan Kankowski and Francois Steyn have been part of the furniture at the Sharks, but that could be changing based on the starting line-up for this weekend’s game.

Wiehahn Herbst’s impact at tighthead prop has seen Du Plessis relegated to the bench, with Steyn also dropping down to the substitutes and Riaan Viljoen starting at fullback. Kankowski has disappeared from the match-day 22 completely.

Plumtree said that both Steyn (France) and Kankowski (Japan) were battling to adapt to the greater pace and intensity of SuperRugby after stints overseas.

“Ryan’s not in good form at the moment. We are putting a plan in place for him going forward. I think that he’s still feeling the effects of the Japanese season and just hasn’t come right. Mentally he’s a bit stale, so it’s frustrating for him because he is trying his best but it’s just not working.

“It’s alarming for me because he’s one of our better players, but at the end of the day there are standards and there are consequences for not reaching those standards.”

Plumtree is also concerned over Steyn’s lack of fitness and match sharpness.

“As I said at the start of the season, Frans was coming back from an injury and wasn’t in great condition. So he’s battling to get back to his best. We’ve had long talks and I’m going to be patient with him, but he’s got to be patient as well. We’ll get there, it’s just going to take some time. He was out of South Africa for a while, so he’s just got to rediscover his form and the conditioning that’s necessary for SuperRugby,” Plumtree said.

The cold front that has been causing deluges in the Cape is expected to reach KwaZulu-Natal at the weekend and that could reduce the match to a tighter affair, with the exciting Cheetahs backline struggling to get into the match.

The Sharks pack was on the back foot last weekend against the Stormers, however, and Plumtree will hope the return of the confrontational Jean Deysel to the number seven jersey will provide the physicality and abrasiveness that was missing at Newlands.

Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske was considering changes after the Bulls loss and eight straight games for his bye-less team, but in the end made just one injury-enforced replacement, Coenie Oosthuizen coming in for the greatly-improved Trevor Nyakane at loosehead prop.

The Cheetahs used to be the bogey team for the Sharks, but that was a long time ago, with the Natalians winning the last five games since February 2010.

But having removed the “curse”, the Sharks know they will need to be at their best if they are not to suffer a crucial defeat just before their daunting overseas tour. Already missing a dozen players through injury, they could also lose first place in the Conference to either the Cheetahs or Bulls.

There could also be motion at the top of the overall standings, with the first-placed Brumbies visiting the Reds in Brisbane on Saturday.

It’s an enthralling prospect, with the Reds pitting their desire to move the ball against a Brumbies team that leans heavily on South African tactics, through former Springbok coach Jake White.

Australian media are reporting that the future destination of the Wallabies coaching job could depend on the outcome of the match, with White pitting his wits against Ewen McKenzie.

But the talents of Will Genia, Digby Ioane, Quade Cooper and James Horwill will be even more valuable for the Reds, while the Brumbies have the attacking skills of Henry Speight and Jesse Mogg, two excellent game-managers in Christian Lealiifano and Matt Toomua, and plenty of forward grunt in Fotu Auelua, Ben Mowen, Peter Kimlin, Dan Palmer, Stephen Moore and Ben Alexander.

McKenzie has already flagged the efforts of the Brumbies at the breakdown as being largely illegal, which adds spice to the obviously crucial contest between opensiders George Smith, whose contract extension to stay with the Brumbies until the end of the season was confirmed on Thursday, and Reds tyro Liam Gill. DM


The Sharks (v Cheetahs, Saturday 17:05): Riaan Viljoen, Sean Robinson, Paul Jordaan, Meyer Bosman, Odwa Ndungane, Pat Lambie, Cobus Reinach, Keegan Daniel, Jean Deysel, Marcell Coetzee, Franco van der Merwe, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Wiehahn Herbst, Kyle Cooper, Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: Craig Burden, Jannie du Plessis, Anton Bresler, Lubabalo Mtembu, Charl McLeod, Frans Steyn, Andries Coetzee.

Cheetahs (v Sharks, Saturday 17:05): Hennie Daniller, Willie le Roux, Johann Sadie, Robert Ebersohn, Raymond Rhule, Burton Francis, Piet van Zyl, Phillip van der Walt, Lappies Labuschagne, Heinrich Brüssow, Francois Uys, Lood de Jager, Lourens Adriaanse, Adriaan Strauss, Coenie Oosthuizen. Replacements: Ryno Barnes, Caylib Oosthuizen, Ligtoring Landman, Frans Viljoen, Tewis de Bruyn, Francois Brummer, Ryno Benjamin.

Southern Kings (v Bulls, Saturday 19:10): George Whitehead, Sergeal Petersen, Waylon Murray, Andries Strauss, Ronnie Cooke, Demetri Catrakilis, Shaun Venter; Luke Watson, Wimpie van der Walt, Cornell du Preez, David Bulbring, Steven Sykes, Kevin Buys, Bandise Maku, Schalk Ferreira. Replacements: Hannes Franklin, Grant Kemp, Rynier Bernardo, Jacques Engelbrecht, Nicolas Vergallo, Marcello Sampson, Siviwe Soyzwapi.

Bulls (v Southern Kings, Saturday 19:10): Jürgen Visser, Akona Ndungane, JJ Engelbrecht, Jan Serfontein, Lionel Mapoe, Morné Steyn, Jano Vermaak, Pierre Spies, Arno Botha, Deon Stegmann, Juandré Kruger, Flip van der Merwe, Frik Kirsten, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Morné Mellet. Replacements: Callie Visagie, Werner Kruger, Paul Willemse, Jacques Potgieter, Rudy Paige, Louis Fouchè, Bjorn Basson.

Other fixtures: Hurricanes v Force (Friday 9:35); Waratahs v Chiefs (Friday 11:40); Crusaders v Highlanders (Saturday 9:35); Reds v Brumbies (Saturday 11:40).

Byes: Stormers, Blues, Rebels.

Still a great divide between Grace & the chasing pack at Leopard Creek 0

Posted on February 11, 2015 by Ken

Branden Grace ensured that there was still a great divide between him and the chasing pack as his 66 in the second round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek left him with a five-stroke lead on Friday.

Even though experienced Francesco Molinari, one of the most consistent golfers on the European Tour, climbed rapidly up the leaderboard with a superb seven-under-par 65, Grace built on his phenomenal opening-day 62 and ended the second round on 16-under-par, with the Italian second on 11-under.

Molinari ensured that there is at least still a window of opportunity for Grace to be challenged over the weekend, with Tjaart van der Walt (-10), Shaun Norris, Danny Willett and Lucas Bjerregaard (all on -9) also not a million miles away.

It would have been well-nigh impossible for Grace to raise the bar on his first-round performance, but he still played wonderful golf as he smashed the record for the lowest 36-hole score at this tournament, his 128 improving on the 131 shot by Pablo Martin in 2009 and by Charl Schwartzel and Gregory Bourdy in 2012.

“I’m very chuffed, it was a very good round. It’s always hard after a round like yesterday [Thursday], it’s so easy to come out and try and protect your score, but I didn’t do that, I was out the blocks quickly with birdies on 11 and 13 and I just kept the ball rolling very well,” Grace said after his round, which he began on the 10th hole.

While comfortable with leading from the front – his last win was wire-to-wire at the Alfred Dunhill Links at St Andrew’s in 2012 – Grace warned that there were still plenty of realistic challengers milling around below him on the leaderboard.

“I have a good history when I’m leading, at the Alfred Dunhill I was quite a few ahead after two days, so I’ve done it before. I’m just going to stick to what I’m doing and stay patient. On this course, a 10-under could happen again and guys will come at you,” Grace said.

While Grace is a clear favourite to become the fifth South African winner at Leopard Creek, Molinari is a top-class golfer, having previously been as high as 14th on the world rankings and twice a Ryder Cup winner (2010, 2012), and the 32-year-old took a pragmatic view of his prospects.

“Five shots is obviously still a very good margin, but the greens are firming up nicely and it might be different on the weekend,” Molinari said. “Golf is a strange sport, you do all the right things but you often don’t get the dividends right away. So I work every day of my life, keep trying to improve and just do my best,” Molinari said.

Van der Walt’s 67 was also a marvellous round, marred only by a bogey at the par-four ninth, his closing hole, his putter being the source of much success as he collected six birdies.

“I played well. Leopard Creek is a long golf course for me so I’m not going in with short-irons like some of the other guys, but when I got it on the greens I rolled the putts well. Yesterday and today a couple went in, which kept the momentum going. I’m putting well and if I can get the ball-striking to kick in a bit more then anything can happen at the weekend,” Van der Walt said.

It will obviously take something special, however, to catch Grace, who is playing with the assurance of someone who is enjoying his golf again and feels that he is back to his best.

“I’ve just started enjoying my golf again, I’m playing like in 2012, nice and steady, but it’s going to be two more long days and I just need to push on,” Grace said.

The presence of the in-form Willett in a tie for third place after a 69 that included a double-bogey at the par-three seventh, will no doubt sharpen the mind of Grace.

Knights beat Titans to stay top of log 0

Posted on December 12, 2014 by Ken

The Chevrolet Knights ensured that they will remain on top of the RamSlam T20 Challenge log as they beat the Unlimited Titans by 35 runs in efficient fashion at SuperSport Park last night.

Even though they finished terribly, losing five wickets and scoring just 21 runs in the last three overs, the Knights managed to post a competitive 179 for seven in their 20 overs after being sent in to bat, and they then bowled superbly as they restricted the Titans to 144 for five.

Rudi Second ensured that they were off to a brisk start as he struck 44 off 26 balls, with seven fours and a six, while fellow opener Gerhardt Abrahams made a more workmanlike 44 off 40 deliveries.

Opening the bowling with left-arm spinner Roelof van der Merwe did not work for the Titans on this occasion as Second hit him off his lengths, taking 25 off his two overs up front, but a superb display on debut from former SA U19 paceman Corbin Bosch pegged back the Knights.

He had Second caught at third man in his first over and then returned at the death to showcase his brilliant skills, finishing with one for 26 from his four overs.

The Knights were grateful for a vital contribution from West Indian pro Andre Russell for their eventual total, the lanky Jamaican striking some great blows as he belted 48 off 21 balls, with eight fours and two sixes.

Fellow West Indian Darren Sammy produced an inspired 18th over in which he claimed three wickets, but sadly for the Titans he could not pull off a miracle with the bat.

Dean Elgar anchored the Titans chase with 65 not out off 64 balls, but was unable to find an extra gear, while Sammy failed to perform the power-hitting role so desperately needed by the Titans as he scored 23 off 17 balls.

Captain Henry Davids scored a breezy 29 off 18 balls up front to give the Titans a promising start, but Russell produced an outstanding display with the ball to stop the momentum. He produced a beautiful dipping, slower-ball yorker to bowl Davids and then conceded just 14 runs in the 17th and 19th overs to kill off the Titans’ slim hopes.

Opening bowler Dillon du Preez was unable to take a wicket, but bowled with excellent control to concede just 31 runs in his four overs, while Malusi Siboto (4-0-27-1) and Shadley van Schalkwyk (4-0-31-2) also contributed greatly to the Titans being strangled.

*In Cape Town, the Cape Cobras thrashed the Dolphins by eight wickets with 26 balls remaining. Mthokozisi Shezi, playing against his former franchise, and Sybrand Engelbrecht claimed three wickets apiece as the Dolphins were restricted to 127 for nine. Richard Levi (44) and Andrew Puttick (48*) then helped themselves to a dozen boundaries between them as they broke the back of the run-chase.

*Chris Gayle ensured that the Highveld Lions gave the Warriors a proper hiding down in East London as he thrashed 108 not out off 55 balls to complete a 10-wicket victory in the 15th over. The Warriors chose to bat first but could only muster 144 for six as Lions bowlers Lonwabo Tsotsobe (4-0-13-1), Dwaine Pretorius (4-0-21-1) and spinner Eddie Leie (4-0-19-3) kept things extremely tidy with the ball. Overseas pro Craig Kieswetter led the Warriors batting with 82 not out off 64 balls.



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