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Ken Borland



SA women ensure they will travel to World Cup 0

Posted on July 20, 2017 by Ken

 

 

The South African women’s hockey side made sure that they will travel to London next year for the World Cup as they beat Ireland 3-0 in the Hockey World League at Wits Astro on Thursday, ensuring that they will finish either fifth or sixth in the prestigious tournament that ends on Sunday.

Normally, the top five from the Hockey World League semi-finals gain automatic qualification for the World Cup, but because England are hosting the 2018 edition of hockey’s biggest event and they finished in the top five in Johannesburg, it has opened up another spot and sixth place will be good enough for South Africa.

South Africa dominated the first half against Ireland, but took their time in transferring that on to the scoreboard.

The opening goal eventually came in the 24th minute after three successive short-corners, with a rebound falling to Lisa-Marie Deetlefs, who lashed an excellent reverse-sticks shot into goal at the near post.

But South Africa lost focus for the next 20 minutes, giving too much ball away through poor basics or ill-judged passes, and were fortunate that Ireland did not equalise.

Just a minute before halftime, Deirdre Duke’s swerving run earned Ireland a short-corner, and although goalkeeper Phumelela Mbande made a good save, the ball deflected into Nicolene Terblanche standing in front of goal. It was touch-and-go whether the ball was going into goal or missing, with Australian umpire Aleisha Neumann wisely calling for a video review of her own decision to award a penalty stroke.

The views from in front of the action and from behind seemed to contradict each other on the path of the ball and it would have been unwise for the TV umpire to over-rule the on-field official’s call.

So Roisin Upton stepped forward to take the stroke, but sent it flying into the post and a massively relieved home side went into the break still 1-0 up.

Mbande has alternated through most of the tournament with Nicole la Fleur in goal, and the University of Pretoria graduate pulled off an excellent reflex stick-save to deny Chloe Watkins early in the second half and Watkins also threatened goal from a short-corner in the 43rd minute.

But if nothing else, this South African side has shown true character and growing composure and confidence through the tournament, and, having weathered the storm, they ended the match by dominating the final quarter.

The second goal came against the run of play, in the 50th minute, with Bernie Coston just failing to latch on to the promising ball from Sulette Damons, but she never gave up, kept fighting and then robbed the defender, made sure of at least the short-corner and then fired past the goalkeeper into the right-hand corner of the goal.

The Irish threw on a kicking back for the closing stages, and Lilian du Plessis applied the finishing touches to an impressive South African win with a lovely run from outside the 23, easily beating the kicking back when she threw herself at her feet and just pushing the ball into the goal.

“We’ve done what we wanted to do by qualifying for the World Cup and now we want to make the top-five, and to do that we’ll have to come out really hard against Japan on Saturday. There were some nerves and we did not execute 100% in the third quarter, but we pulled it back well,” coach Sheldon Rostron said.

“The team definitely showed a lot of character and I’m really pleased that we’re starting to show control during the game, we’re remaining relatively composed. The uncertain moments are becoming less and further apart and it was a very good performance tonight.”

Deetlefs, the opening goal-scorer and the mainstay of South Africa’s defence, said the home side were not surprised that they had to ride out the tough times posed by the Irish.

“It’s always very tense against Ireland, the last time we played them too, and we know they will keep playing till the last minute. So we knew they would come into the second half with all guns blazing and it was a very good defensive effort for us, man-on-man we did well.

“I saw the ball and just tried to hit it as hard as I could for the goal, so that was a great start. It takes a lot of pressure off us to get the World Cup qualification, that’s the goal we set for this tournament,” Deetlefs said.

 

Later, the sixth-ranked USA team and the seventh-ranked Germans advanced to the women’s final, to be played on Sunday.

Germany beat Argentina 2-1, although the end of the match was mired in controversy as two crucial umpiring decisions went against the South Americans, while the USA pipped England in a shootout, after the match had ended 1-1 in regulation time.

Melissa Gonzalez, the captain, scored the USA goal in the first set of five shootouts that ended 1-1 and then scored the winner in sudden-death.

Results: 9th/10th – Chile 2 (Manuela Urroz, Camila Caram) Poland 1 (Marlena Rybacha). 5th-8th – Japan 2 (Kana Nomura, Naho Ichitani) India 0; South Africa 3 (Lisa-Marie Deetlefs, Bernadette Coston, Lilian du Plessis) Ireland 0. Semi-finals – Germany 2 (Naomi Heyn, Charlotte Stapenhorst) Argentina 1 (Lucina von der Heyde); United States 1 (Jill Witmer) England 1 (Hannah Martin), USA won shootout 2-1 (Melissa Gonzalez 2 v Sarah Haycroft 1).

Friday’s fixtures (men): 10am South Africa v Japan (9th/10th); 12.15pm Egypt v New Zealand (5th-8th); 2.30pm Ireland v France (5th-8th); 4.45pm Spain v Germany (semi-final); 7pm Australia v Belgium (semi-final).

 

 

Cosmopolitan mix of owners for new T20 Global League 0

Posted on July 05, 2017 by Ken

 

The new T20 Global League to be held in South Africa at the end of the year will have the most cosmopolitan feel of any of the T20 tournaments around the world as team owners from five different countries were unveiled at a function in an upmarket Knightsbridge hotel in London on Monday.

Cricket South Africa’s desire for the bulk of the franchises to be locally-owned has played second fiddle to the rewards of big overseas investment, with the eight team owners coming from Pakistan (2), India (2), Hong Kong and Dubai. The two teams based in Pretoria and Stellenbosch will have South African owners.

“It’s really important that there is local investment from a South African point of view, but the foreign interest means we’ll be playing in front of much bigger audiences. It places a much bigger emphasis on South African cricket, especially for our domestic players. It should keep most of our players in the country now because the T20 Global League provides a huge step forward in terms of opportunity and financially,” Proteas captain Faf du Plessis, who will be playing for the Stellenbosch franchise, said at the launch.

There are drawbacks, however, that come with the overseas investment, with the foreign team-owners having no real answer to questions about transformation imperatives.

Both the Pakistani team owners – their teams will be based in Durban and Benoni – spoke about T20 cricket being the answer to the problems besetting their game. Even though Pakistan’s memorable Champions Trophy triumph at the weekend had London’s large cricket fanbase abuzz, their game is still faced with the problems of not being able to host any games due to security concerns.

The Pakistan Super League has attracted some overseas players back and both Fawad Rana (Durban) and Javed Afridi (Benoni) spoke about their involvement in the T20 Global League improving the image of cricket in their troubled country.

https://www.pressreader.com/south-africa/the-citizen-gauteng/20170620/282759176664564

Raising glasses to the Lions for an unbeaten campaign 0

Posted on October 26, 2015 by Ken

 

The 1995 World Cup-winning squad enjoyed a luncheon in London on Thursday ahead of the Springboks’ semi-final against the All Blacks, and apparently they metaphorically raised their glasses to the Golden Lions team that will aim to complete a rare unbeaten campaign when they take on Western Province in the Currie Cup final at Ellis Park on Saturday.

The 1995 Springbok squad was, of course, predominantly made up of Lions (or Transvaal as they were then known) players, but it was Natal who won the Currie Cup that year and in 1996, when they went through the season unbeaten, the last team to do so.

Lock Mark Andrews was a pivotal figure and he said the main similarity between the Natal Sharks of 1996 and the Lions of today was their ability to create and sustain momentum.

“We were just talking about it at our ’95 World Cup lunch today,” Andrews told The Citizen on Thursday, “about how we spent a fair amount of time as forwards on ball-handling drills, but you have to have momentum on the field to use those, because that’s what gives you more time and space. You can’t really use those skills if you’re under pressure because then you’re always struggling to clear the ball away.

“Our Natal coach Ian McIntosh instituted a game plan based on momentum, the forwards getting over the gain-line and having good ball-skills and an ability to link with the backs, and I’m also impressed with the way the Lions can create momentum and sustain it. They do it by keeping ball-in-hand and they’ve shown that you can win games doing that, even from their own 22.

“In general, South African teams try and kick from their own 22 and put pressure on the opposition in their own territory and try and win penalties. The Lions have shown a different skill-set, it’s a refreshing approach for a South African team, much like we had an innovative strategy back in 1996,” Andrews said.

One big difference though between now and 1996 is that the Currie Cup doesn’t feature the leading Springboks anymore.

“All the provinces had all their Springboks back then, but you still have to give the Lions credit for their consistency. You need some luck too, but it comes down to preparation and belief in your structures. You need some kicks to go over as well to win the tight games, but if you are consistently getting over the gain-line and making your tackles, then you are very hard to beat,” Andrews added.

Natal went through 14 consecutive Currie Cup matches unbeaten in 1996 and beat Transvaal 33-15 in the final at Ellis Park, leading rugby writer John Bishop of The Natal Witness describing it as a display of “devastating brilliance”.

 

Tuks take their dominance to a global stage 0

Posted on September 11, 2014 by Ken

Assupol Tuks took their dominance of South African club and universities cricket for the last three years on to a global stage at the end of July as they won the Red Bull Campus Cricket World Finals at the Oval in London.

For Aiden Markram and Corbin Bosch, it was their second World Cup triumph of the year, following their victory with the South Africa U19 team at the ICC Junior World Cup in the United Arab Emirates in March. The Campus Cricket World Finals are effectively a Varsity T20 World Cup, with the student champions from eight nations taking part.

While Markram and Bosch, and other star players such as Theunis de Bruyn, Vincent Moore and Heinrich Klaasen all enjoyed excellent tournaments for Tuks, their heroes in the crucial knockout stage were two of their lesser-known players, Johan Wessels and Ruben Claassen.

Tuks had breezed into the semi-finals by beating Bangladesh’s University of the Liberal Arts, hosts Leeds Bradford MCCU and the Jamaica Inter-Collegiate Sports Association, but they had their hands full when they took on defending champions Rizvi College of Mumbai in the final four.

Rizvi had won the toss and elected to bat first, and had cruised to 83 for two in the 12th over before Tuks regained control through spinners Claassen and David Mogotlane.

Lanky off-spinner Claassen produced a brilliant spell of 4-1-10-2, with Mogotlane adding pressure with four overs for just 20 runs, and the Indian team’s lower-order then collapsed to the canny death bowling of Bosch (2-26) and Moore to finish on 122 for nine.

The Tuks run-chase had an anxious start openers Markram and Gerry Pike were out in the first three overs, before De Bruyn (31) and Wessels steadied the innings with a third-wicket stand of 54 in 7.2 overs.

But the loss of three wickets in quick succession, including captain De Bruyn, meant Tuks were under pressure at 90 for five after 15 overs.

But Klaasen (18* off 12) and the inspired Wessels (56* off 52) mounted a rousing comeback that took Tuks home in the 20th over.

In the final, the Tuks total of 188 for six against the Jamaica Inter-Collegiate Sports Association was built around a ferocious 61 off 40 balls from Wessels.

Pacemen Moore and Bosch then shared seven wickets as the Jamaicans were restricted to 148 for nine in their 20 overs.

Much of the hard work, however, was done by the outstanding Claassen, who took one for 10 in four overs.

Markram, who finished as the tournament’s second highest run-scorer behind De Bruyn, had given the Tuks innings a good start, after they had won the toss, with his 33 off 26 balls, but Wessels, who has no first-class experience nor national U19 caps, kept the scoreboard ticking over and then accelerated brilliantly as the University of Pretoria students posted a formidable total.

Dickson scored 39 off 31 balls to finish the job, while Tian Koekemoer and Bosch provided important cameos right at the death.

Coach Pierre de Bruyn was full of praise for Wessels, the 22-year-old who was superb on finals day, and Claassen.

“It’s the guys without the reputations who really stood up on the final day. Joe Wessels is proving to be a very good player, he played two magnificent innings in the knockout games and I’m ecstatic for him. I used him as a bit of a wildcard and he’s really impressed me as a cricketer.

“Ruben out-bowled everybody in the tournament, including the spinners from the sub-continent. He and Corbin Bosch were the top two wicket-takers and Ruben has improved so much. He’s unique, he’s tall, he gets bounce and he’s not scared to experiment,” De Bruyn said.

While Wessels was named man of the match in both the semi-final and final, Theunis de Bruyn was selected as the Player of the Tournament, having set the tone for Tuks’ triumph with a phenomenal 137 not out off 60 balls against the Bangladeshis on the opening day.

“We’ve had three years of dominance in South Africa and now we wanted to represent our country and measure ourselves on the world stage. I’m over the moon to be able to say we are the best university cricket team in the world, but we worked for it,” coach De Bruyn said.

“We planned for everything and we proved ourselves to everyone. I’m proud of the success and the culture of this team, and nobody can take that away from this side.”

 



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