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Ken Borland

Sweet success for Stone on toughest day of his life 0

Posted on January 11, 2016 by Ken


Sweet success in winning the South African Open made it the best day of Brandon Stone’s young life, but the 22-year-old admitted that it had also been the toughest day of his life as he clinched victory by two strokes in a fraught final day at Glendower Golf Club on Sunday.

Having completed his third round early on Sunday morning with three birdies to go into the final round with a two-shot lead, Stone was in sublime form in the opening holes of the fourth round, two more birdies stretching his lead over Englishman Daniel Brooks to five strokes after four holes.

And then the wheels fell off.

Stone began leaking the ball left and right off the fairway and missing short putts as his lead all but evaporated with three successive bogeys from the fifth hole. A birdie on the par-five eighth, where he was fortunate to get away with another wayward drive, brought brief relief, but another trio of bogeys followed on nine, 10 and 11.

Stone was in freefall, but with the advisory words of his father and successful former Sunshine Tour pro Kevin in his mind, the highly-rated prospect showed remarkable composure and mental strength to get back on track, finishing in style with four birdies in his next five holes to reclaim the lead, confirming his victory with nerveless pars on the last two holes.

“It’s incredible to win a tournament that I’ve watched so passionately since I was about five and to have my name on that trophy … you just can’t put a value to it. It’s not meant to be easy, but today was definitely the hardest day of my life. Today was a real roller-coaster, I left every single thing I had out there, which is why I sank down on my knees after the final putt. I was so overcome by emotion, but it’s special.

“I had a stern talk to myself on the 12th tee and a quiet word with my caddy Chris Simmons, who said just get the drive in play. It felt better, like I had been swinging on the first few holes, and there the ball was, middle of the fairway, my favourite yardage. I hit it to six feet and everything just clicked after that,” Stone said.

The winner of the Freddie Tait Cup for leading amateur in the 2011 SA Open, is the first local golfer to win the national open since Hennie Otto’s triumph that year at Serengeti and, in a sure sign that the future of South African golf was in full view on Sunday at Glendower, 21-year-old Christiaan Bezuidenhout finished alone in second place on 12-under-par after an inspired 67 that included seven birdies.

Brooks played solidly but just could not get the birdies he needed in the closing holes to catch Stone, and a bogey on the last left him with a 72 and alone in third place on 11-under.

Family friend Ernie Els, the tournament host but also a mentor for Stone, was in the clubhouse ready to warmly embrace the winner, who is the youngest SA Open champion since the Big Easy’s own breakthrough triumph in 1992 in Houghton.

Stone said a tricky eight-footer for par on the 17th, and a similar length bogey putt he made on the par-three sixth, after his tee shot was short and in the water, was where he won the tournament.

Glendower Golf Club, where Stone lost a lead in the final round of the 2011 SA Amateur Championship, surely saw the unveiling of a new South African golfing superstar on Sunday.



Elgar stars but not enough to prevent Dolphins being favourites 0

Posted on January 01, 2016 by Ken

Dean Elgar was the star of the third day of the Sunfoil Series match between the Unlimited Titans and the Dolphins at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Saturday, but his heroic century was not enough to prevent the visitors going into the final day as favourites.

Elgar scored a defiant 122 that carried the Titans to 261 all out in their second innings, but that leaves the Dolphins with just 177 to score on the final day for a win that would keep their title hopes alive but will all but eliminate the North-Eastern Gauteng side from contention.

The national opener and fellow left-hander Qaasim Adams added 138 for the fifth wicket and seemed to have given the Titans a good chance of setting the Dolphins a daunting target on a pitch that is offering both steep bounce from a length and some deliveries keeping low.

But the lanky Calvin Savage ended Adams’ brilliant counter-attacking 72 when he had him caught behind in the eighth over after tea and then added the important scalp of David Wiese, also caught by wicketkeeper Morne van Wyk, for a duck.

Mangaliso Mosehle also failed to score, Mathew Pillans bowling him fourth ball, and left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj trapped Marchant de Lange lbw for six.

The Dolphins pacemen are all tall, strong lads who hit the deck hard, which is ideal for a pitch with inconsistent bounce, but it was leg-spinner Daryn Smit who eventually removed Elgar, trapping him lbw after a 343-minute stay that just proved the mental strength of the 27-year-old.

*The bizhub Highveld Lions, who lead the competition by 17.24 points with two rounds left after this weekend, are in a strong position heading into the final day of their match against the Chevrolet Knights in Bloemfontein.

The Knights are 76 without loss in their second innings, but they still trail by 117 runs after the Lions scored 441 in their first innings.

The Lions were unable to separate openers Gihahn Cloete (33*) and Reeza Hendricks (38*) in the 27 overs before stumps, but the Knights will nevertheless be up against it in trying to survive against the attack that has earned the most bowling bonus points this season.

The Lions total was built around a punchy century by Neil McKenzie (108), with Thami Tsolekile scoring 48 as they took their fifth-wicket partnership to 85, before off-spinner Werner Coetsee (five for 78) and paceman Duanne Olivier (four for 94) counter-punched for the Knights.

*In Cape Town, Omphile Ramela celebrated his 27th birthday by batting for 403 minutes and posting his first Sunfoil Series century, his monumental 129 leading the Nashua Cape Cobras to 545 all out against the Chevrolet Warriors.

The visitors are in serious trouble with a first-innings deficit of 257, but openers David White (20*) and Michael Price (58*) played with a gravitas suiting the situation as they took the Warriors to 88 without loss at stumps.

Justin Ontong (82) and Justin Kemp (73) were the other main run-getters for the Cobras on the third day.

Titans delayed by brilliant Cloete & Rossouw, but seal thrilling win 0

Posted on March 31, 2014 by Ken

It took the Unlimited Titans until 5.25pm on the final day but they eventually sealed a thrilling 32-run victory over the Knights in their Sunfoil Series match at SuperSport Park in Centurion yesterday.

A lunchtime rain shower, an extraordinary partnership by centurions Gihahn Cloete and Rilee Rossouw, and a plucky last-wicket stand all caused delays, but it was ultimately the second new ball in the hands of David Wiese (four for 55) and Marchant de Lange (three for 72) that won the day for the Titans.

Much credit, however, must go to the Knights. They were eventually bowled out for 402 to record the highest ever fourth-innings total in four-day franchise cricket.

While Cloete and Rossouw were adding 209 for the second wicket in just three hours, it seemed as if the Knights would storm to their unlikely target of 435. But in the midst of a thorough caning on a pitch that had flattened out beautifully for batting, paceman JP de Villiers made two vital breakthroughs either side of tea to remove Rossouw for 127 and Cloete for 129.

It allowed De Lange and Wiese to take the second new ball against new batsmen and they responded with a devastating burst of six wickets in nine overs to bring a Titans victory back into the equation.

Rossouw had earlier played a great innings to make a highly unlikely Knights victory the odds-on favourite. Given a wonderful platform by openers Cloete and Reeza Hendricks (46), who added 89 for the first wicket, he bludgeoned a 108-ball century which included five sixes.

Another of the new generation of batsmen pushing for international recognition, he has now passed 50 five times this season in scoring 621 runs at an average of 47.76.

Cloete has no international aspirations at the moment as he just tries to keep his place in the Knights team, and his wonderful innings was not only his best this season, beating a lowly 33, but a career-best.

But even given the total dominance they showed, chasing 435 on the final day remains one of those flights of fancy that is extremely rarely attained, even though the game today is so biased towards batsmen.

The skiddy De Villiers had Rossouw caught slicing a lofted drive over the covers and then bowled Cloete as he tried to pull a delivery that was too full.

De Lange struck with his fourth delivery with the second new ball as Rudi Second (11) mistimed a pull to square-leg and the fast bowler removed Obus Pienaar (6) in his next over with a brutish lifter that was well-claimed by Qaasim Adams running back from point.

Wiese then got in on the act as he had Gerhardt Abrahams (5) caught behind and then removed Johan van der Wath (0) and Quinton Friend (6) in the space of three balls.

The key scalp of the experienced Werner Coetsee (4) fell to the fired-up De Lange, the batsman unable to deal with another sharp lifter, and the Titans looked sure winners with the Knights 359 for nine.

But the spellbinding game took another turn as the last-wicket pair of Malusi Siboto (26*) and Corne Dry (19), both of whom clearly know how to wield the bat, belted 43 runs off the next 6.4 overs.

The end finally came as the impressive Wiese bowled the perfect ball, back-of-a-length with bounce and some away movement, and found the edge of Dry’s bat for a regulation caught behind and the Titans’ second victory of the campaign.

The narrow defeat is particularly hard on the valiant Knights, who now go into the final weekend of matches 19 points behind the Cape Cobras and clinging to the slimmest of hopes of taking the title off the defending champions.



Piedt cancels out improved Titans batting performance 0

Posted on March 10, 2014 by Ken

The Cape Cobras, led by off-spinner Dane Piedt, saw off an improved batting performance by the Titans as they won their four-day domestic series match by 211 runs on the final day at Boland Park in Paarl on Sunday.

The Titans, chasing an unlikely 444 for victory, resumed on 62 for two and the cancellation of the gritty 53-run third-wicket stand happened six overs into the day when Rory Kleinveldt trapped Graeme van Buuren lbw for 23.

Piedt followed up immediately with the wicket of Qaasim Adams for a duck, but the resistance of Heino Kuhn (69) continued until two overs after the drinks break when seamer Dane Paterson had him caught in the slips by Justin Kemp.

There was obviously more determination in the Titans middle-order than in the first innings, when they lost their last seven wickets for 23 runs, as Mangaliso Mosehle (26) batted for an hour-and-a-half and Shaun von Berg dug in for nearly two hours as he also scored 26.

Roelof van der Merwe was the best of the Titans batsmen on the final day, however, as he scored 51 in 128 minutes of resistance, but it was never going to be enough to avoid a heavy defeat for the visitors.

Piedt produced a top-class display of spin bowling in helpful conditions as he took six for 100 in 34.2 overs, while Kleinveldt chipped in with two for 55 to finish with a nine-wicket haul from the match.

In Johannesburg, a brilliant all-round bowling display by the Knights forced the Highveld Lions batsmen to sell their wickets cheaply, but it wasn’t enough to secure victory for the Central franchise as bad light and rain left them to accept a draw.

The Lions had resumed their first innings on 54 for two, but the excellent, probing bowling of the Knights pacemen enabled them to tear through the home side’s batting line-up, dismissing them for a paltry 121 on the stroke of lunch.

Quinton Friend ran through the lower-order to finish with four for 35 in 13 overs, but it was cunning fast-medium bowler Malusi Siboto who made the most telling strikes by removing Devon Conway (10) and captain Stephen Cook (45) on his way to fine figures of two for 17 in 12 overs.

Off-spinner Werner Coetsee then struck twice in 14 balls to finish the Lions innings.

With the Knights bowlers getting the most out of a Wanderers pitch that was producing some tricks, the Lions were under pressure to save the game as they came out to bat again after lunch in their follow-on innings, trailing by 208 runs with 72 overs left in the day.

Fast bowler Corne Dry then produced a vituperative opening spell in which he took two for two in six overs, having both Cook and Dominic Hendricks caught by the sharp Rilee Rossouw in the slips for five.

Temba Bavuma saw off the pacemen for the next hour, but Knights captain Coetsee dismissed him with his first ball in the second innings. The diminutive batsman had scored 25 when he pushed forward to a delivery that had some air, edging a low catch to slip which Rossouw nonchalantly claimed.

Neil McKenzie batted for 80 minutes with grim determination, scoring just three off 50 balls, while Conway joined him for half-an-hour, taking the Lions to 54 for three before the weather turned for the worse for the Knights.

Dark clouds first of all forced the players off for bad light at 2.50pm, followed by torrential rain which caused the match to be called off.

The Dolphins were also unable to administer the killer blow to the Warriors due to bad weather at Buffalo Park in East London.

The Dolphins declared their second innings on their overnight total of 257 for eight, a lead of 356, leaving the Warriors to bat out 96 overs on the fourth day.

The Dolphins looked about to run through the home side when lunch was taken with the Warriors on 70 for three, with Robbie Frylinck taking three for 20.

But rain began falling during the interval and at 2pm what seemed a rather rushed decision to call off the game was made.

Opener Michael Price (37*) and Colin Ingram (12*) had batted most sensibly to take the Warriors from 30 for three to their lunchtime total.

The Cobras’ victory deals a hammer blow to the other teams in the four-day series as it means they now lead by 17 points with three rounds remaining.

The Knights are in second place, while the Dolphins have moved into third, managing to overtake the Lions, nearly 11 points behind the Central franchise.

The loss, their fourth in seventh matches this season, has condemned the Titans to the bottom of the log, trailing the Warriors by two points.

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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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