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Ken Borland

Disappointing in the context of finals, but joy for ruthlessly efficient Titans 0

Posted on December 20, 2017 by Ken


In the context of thrilling T20 finals it was a disappointment, but for the Titans it was the sheer joy of ruthlessly-efficient accomplishment as they strolled to a hat-trick of RamSlam T20 Challenge titles on Saturday night with a thumping seven-wicket win, with 53 balls to spare, over the Dolphins in Centurion.

Their victory was set up by a magnificent display in the field, Chris Morris leading the attack with four for 13, the best ever figures in a franchise T20 final, as the Dolphins were shot out for just 100, the lowest ever total in a final.

Against a batting line-up as powerful as the Titans, it was never going to be enough and the home side knocked off their target of 101 in just 11.1 overs, with Quinton de Kock leading the way with 39 off 27 balls and AB de Villiers blazing a cameo of 27 off 13 deliveries.

The Titans had won the toss and sent the Dolphins in to bat, and the visitors started well enough, the opening batsmen, Vaughn van Jaarsveld and Morne van Wyk, both collecting a boundary in the opening over bowled by Albie Morkel.

Full report –

Schwartzel gives brutal assessment of his Leopard Creek chances 0

Posted on February 03, 2015 by Ken

Charl Schwartzel is usually honest in his appraisal of his golf and seldom jazzes up his chances, but on Wednesday at Leopard Creek he was almost brutal in his assessment of his game, saying he believed he had little chance of winning an unprecedented hat-trick of Alfred Dunhill Championship titles.

It came as a shock because Schwartzel’s game normally purrs in sweet cohesion around the course bordering Kruger National Park, which he unashamedly admits is his ‘happy place’. He has a phenomenal record in Malelane, winning the European Tour co-sanctioned event in 2004, 2012 and 2013, while he finished second in 2005, 06, 09 and 10.

Opposite to where Schwartzel sat in the pre-tournament press conference, there is a photo of him as a 20-year-old with the Alfred Dunhill Championship trophy, sporting a broad grin, braces and all. But golf is not bringing him much joy at the moment.
“That feels like yesterday, but it’s actually 10 years ago!” Schwartzel mused when the photo was pointed out to him.

“This course has always treated me very well over the years, it does something for my game, but I think I’m still a long way away from winning.

“The pattern the whole year has been that I get my game going, it looks like I’m going to contend, and then one or two bad holes make me fall back. And then I do it all over again and the cycle is really frustrating. I’m making enough birdies to win, but mistakes are costing me so much. It’s just a swing that’s not repeating itself, it’s not consistent enough,” South Africa’s highest-ranked golfer said.

But Schwartzel is still cautiously optimistic that if he can harness the feel-good factor from a course he has dominated in the past, as well as his tremendous work-ethic, then something just might click over the next four days in Malelane.

“It’s frustrating, especially playing in your home country, because you want the results to come. I just have to keep working at it. I’ve been on tour for 11 years now and I’ve had lots of these downs, I know how it goes. There’s no shortcut to getting out of it, it’s just practising and playing. I’ve come here in the past and not been playing my best, but somehow, something seems to spark and I get going,” Schwartzel said.

But this is “Wild Africa” as Schwartzel put it when talking about his leopard and rhino sightings early Wednesday, and things can get gory for golfers who are not on top of their game on a typical Gary Player layout that brings reward and punishment.

“It’s a good challenge, it’s a golf course where you can shoot a low number, but it can also bite you. It’s got tough stretches in the middle and you need to be on your game,” Louis Oosthuizen warned.

South Africa’s second-highest ranked golfer was also wary of donning the favourite’s mantle on a course which has not always been kind to him, and Oosthuizen has also been struggling on the greens lately, changing his putting grip mid-tournament in last weekend’s Nedbank Golf Challenge.

While Schwartzel and Oosthuizen will capture the bulk of local attention, there are several other South Africans ready and waiting to claim the European Tour title at one of the country’s greatest courses.

While George Coetzee did not have the greatest time at Sun City, he will clearly be a threat, while Branden Grace is probably due a victory. Richard Sterne is the 2008 champion, while Hennie Otto is in form and hungry.

Peter Uihlein, the 2013 European Tour Rookie of the Year, is a star in waiting and has expressed his liking for the course.
But one of the joys of playing at Leopard Creek is that even if your golf game is not going well, the scenery, animal and bird life is magnificent.

Danny Willett showed his game is in great nick with his impressive Nedbank Golf Challenge triumph last weekend, but even he gets the sighs when he thinks of the Leopard Creek course bordering Kruger National Park.

“Every year, regardless of how many years you’ve come here, everyone marks their ball on the 13th and walks to the back of the green. You look out over the Crocodile River, so it’s a pretty awesome hole,” Willett said.

Willett came out tops in a 30-man field last weekend; the size of the field this weekend (156) suggests the winner of the 2014 Alfred Dunhill Championship could come from anywhere, like a leopard emerging from cover to drink at dusk in the Crocodile River.

Titans’ progress checked until Richards razes Warriors 0

Posted on October 05, 2014 by Ken

Colin Ingram and Ryan Bailey were able to check the Unlimited Titans’ progress for three-and-a-half hours, but ultimately the Chevrolet Warriors were swept away by a Rowan Richards hat-trick as the home side won their Sunfoil Series match by 170 runs at Willowmoore Park in Benoni on Sunday.

The Warriors had begun the final day on 51 for two chasing an unlikely 414 for victory and survival was on their mind, especially after Jon-Jon Smuts was caught in the gully off JP de Villiers in the second over of the day.

Colin Ackermann batted for two hours in scoring 47 before being dismissed by medium-pacer Farhaan Behardien, leaving the Warriors on a shaky 111 for four with 83 overs still left on the final day.

But Ingram and Bailey dug in so well they might have been called mole-men. They added 113 in 56 overs for the fifth wicket; the left-handed Ingram compact and secure, but able to play some pleasing strokes when the opportunity presented itself, while burly Bailey seldom strayed from the crease as he prodded and deflected, an occasional well-timed punch down the ground being as far as he was willing to go in terms of strokeplay.

They survived together for 14 overs until lunch, taken on 151 for four, and then ploughed on until tea, which the Warriors reached on a far healthier 215 for four.

The Titans were heavily reliant on the second new ball when the final session began with Ingram on 87 and Bailey on 38, and it might not have been resignation on the home team’s faces but it was certainly concern when the experienced duo survived for another six overs after tea.

It was Ethy Mbhalati who made the crucial breakthrough, claiming a return catch from Bailey, whose stroke was a prod that would have been more effective if one was trying to scrape guano off the pitch rather than intercept a cricket ball.

It had nevertheless been an immense effort from Bailey, who faced 171 balls for his 40 runs and showed once again how valuable his experience is in this Warriors batting line-up.

Ingram would fall four overs later as he edged Richards low to Farhaan Behardien in the gully and the rest would go quickly as the left-arm paceman produced a top-class spell of swing bowling – five for two in 5.4 overs with three maidens – a phenomenal burst in which he moved the ball both ways.

Ingram was unfortunate not to achieve his second century of the match, falling for 93 off 226 balls in a little over five hours at the crease, a wonderful effort.

Simon Harmer and Athenkosi Dyili hung around for six overs before Richards produced a snorter which spat up from back of a length and Harmer (7) could only glove the ball to wicketkeeper Mangaliso Mosehle.

There were still a dozen overs left for the Titans to claim the last three wickets when Richards began the 103rd over, bowling from the Harpur Street End. But, having clearly rediscovered his rhythm, the 30-year-old proceeded to end the match in the most spectacular way possible.

The second ball of the over saw the left-handed Dyili (10) prodding at a delivery that swung away from him, edging a catch into the midriff of double-centurion Roelof van der Merwe at third slip.

Sisanda Magala was next up and he was bowled by a beauty that nipped away from the right-hander, squaring the batsman up and knocking over the off-bail.

Basheer Walters was the hat-trick victim, able only to prod at another away-swinger, sending an edge into the safe hands of Van der Merwe at third slip.

“It’s my first hat-trick and it makes it really special that it won the game and gave me a five-for,” hero Richards said after his career-best figures of five for 31 in the Sunfoil Series.

“I knew it would be my last spell of the day, so I just pushed it and made sure I hit good areas. There had been a lot of effort before me by the other seamers, JP and Ethy, that broke the long partnership, and we just said that another wicket would bring more breakthroughs. We never gave up and I found my rhythm at the right time.”

Captain Henry Davids was delighted with the way his team had bounced back from a poor performance and a 190-run hammering at the hands of the Highveld Lions last weekend.

“During our pre-season camp in Knysna, we spoke about winning games after tea on the last day and that’s what makes this the best format, it tests everything in your game. We hung in there, we stayed patient and we knew the new ball would make it tough for the batsmen.

“Things happen quickly on this pitch, wickets fall in clusters and the guys bowled brilliantly, especially that spell from Rowan. Plus there was that unbelievable double-hundred from Roelof that really set the team up in the first innings,” Davids said.


Tuks blare their title ambitions out 0

Posted on April 28, 2014 by Ken

Assupol Tuks sent their Momentum National Club Championships title hat-trick ambitions blaring out all over the fields of Pretoria as they hammered Western Province champions Cape Town CC by 104 runs on day two at Sinovich Park yesterday.

Former SA U19 star Murray Coetzee put aside months of frustration due to a broken wrist as he stroked a brilliant 111 off 127 balls to stake his claim for further chances in a powerhouse batting unit.

Coetzee stroked 10 fours, mostly down the ground, as he set up the game with Aiden Markram in an opening stand of 99 off 136 balls after Tukkies chose to bat first.

Markram, the captain of the world champion current SA U19 side, continued to impress at senior level as he compiled a classy 59 off 71 balls.

Tukkies coach Pierre de Bruyn said Coetzee’s performance showed the quality of the 20-year-old both on and off the field, having been a late call-up to the squad after regular captain Theunis de Bruyn withdrew due to illness.

“Murray’s had a really frustrating second half to the season but one thing about this kid is that he went through his rehab and really worked hard. He had to sacrifice a lot and he had to get back in line.

“He got his opportunity because of Theunis withdrawing and he used it. Murray’s a quality cricketer and truly professional in his ways, he puts in a lot of effort on and off the field.

“He showed he’s a very mature cricketer because he had limited preparation but still managed to construct an innings like that after not playing competitive cricket for three or four weeks. It showed his quality,” De Bruyn said after the game.

With Johan Wessels adding 52 off just 57 balls, the University of Pretoria posted a formidable 287 for six, and with the all-round attack he’s blessed with, De Bruyn was always confident his team would make it two wins from two games.

A top-class opening burst from Gerhard Linde and Sean Nowak ensured that Cape Town CC were always behind the required run-rate and a brilliant run out by Graeme van Buuren saw them slump to 34 for three in the 13th over.

Tertius Gouws (2-30) was an accurate third member of the pace trio yesterday and Tukkies also fielded a quality spin trio in Van Buuren (2-31), Ruben Claasen (10 overs for 30) and Markram, and there was never a hint of the pressure being released.

Tom Main scored a bright 51 off 55 balls with three sixes, while Marc de Beer made a defiant 47 down the order, but a Tukkies victory was never in doubt.

The robust Linde was the best of the student bowlers with two for 19 in seven overs.


Section One: NMMU PE Madibaz 312-4 (Ed Moore 137, David White 53, Peter Furstenburg 51 not out) NWU Pukke 186 (Wimpie Viljoen 43) NMMU PE Madibaz won by 126 runs. Crusaders 351 (Jared van Heerden 54, Riaan Minnie 56, Sean Dixon 121; Jan Frylinck 7-35) West End 266-8 (Xander Pitchers 113 not out, Jan Frylinck 46) Crusaders won by 85 runs. University of Jhb 254 (Lee Gruskin 55, Harry van Straaten 44; Philippus Cronje 4-50) University of Free State Kovsies 120 (Harry van Straaten 4-26) University of Jhb won by 134 runs.

Section Two: Tukkies 287-6 (Aiden Markram 59, Murray Coetzee 111, Johan Wessels 52) Cape Town CC 183 (Tom Main 51, Marc de Beer 47) Tukkies won by 104 runs. United CC 236-9 (Bevan Bennett 47, Kevin Bennett 53; Jurie Snyman 4-40) Kempton Park 237-4 (Wesley Marshall 97, JC Fourie 99) Kempton Park won by 6 wickets. NMMU George 119 (Niel Botha 5-30) Maties 123-3 (Mark van Heerden 47 not out) Maties won by seven wickets.

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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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