for quality writing

Ken Borland

Markram ready today to do himself justice for SA – Boucher 0

Posted on April 14, 2017 by Ken


Aiden Markram “would do himself justice” if he is chosen for South Africa today, according to Titans coach Mark Boucher, after the opening batsman produced a magnificent matchwinning century in the Momentum One-Day Cup final against the Warriors at the weekend.

Markram smashed a classy 161 off just 123 balls as he and opening partner Henry Davids, the tournament’s leading run-scorer, both scored centuries to lead the Titans to 425 for five, the highest total ever in the competition.

It was the 22-year-old Markram’s second century of the campaign, after his record-breaking 183 against the Lions at the Wanderers a fortnight ago, to go with two Sunfoil Series hundreds, and Boucher, a legend of international cricket with 147 Test and 295 ODI caps, knows what it takes to prosper at the highest level.

“Aiden would certainly do himself justice if he went up right now and he will only get better in that environment, playing alongside people like Faf, AB and Hashim. Is there a spot in the starting XI for him right now? I don’t know, but I would encourage the Proteas to have a proper look at him in the squad,” Boucher said after the Titans’ 236-run victory.

“He’s easy on the eye and he gives you bowling options. Role-definition is very important in cricket and we decided that he must bat through and he was able to give Henry the strike and just let him go.

“But Aiden is certainly not one-dimensional, he can also finish the game, he does not get stuck. He’s got the game to score runs up front, in the middle overs and to finish the innings. There are so many dimensions to his batting, he’s certainly a star of the future,” Boucher added.

The 37-year-old Davids produced a sparkling 114 off 98 balls, taking his tournament tally to 673 runs in just eight innings, a Titans record and the fifth-highest tally ever, although those ahead of him all played between 11 and 14 innings.

It’s little wonder then that his team-mates have begun to call the batsman Boucher said reminded him of Herschelle Gibbs, “red wine”, such has been the quality of cricket Davids is producing in his senior years.

“I’ve heard the ‘red wine’ name a few times, but I’ve started to know my game, I give myself more overs to get in now. I used to play big shots early on, but now I get the feel of the pitch first.

“It’s been an awesome season, in the past I would score flashy 60s or a quick 30 and then get out, but this year I’ve only made a couple of 30s, I’ve been converting, so that’s very pleasing,” Davids, who finished the Momentum One-Day Cup with three hundreds and three half-centuries, said.


Bursting with pride over Faf 0

Posted on December 01, 2016 by Ken


I think it’s fair to say most South African cricket fans almost burst with pride when Proteas captain Faf du Plessis produced the most magnificent riposte to all his detractors with his century on the first day of the third Test against Australia in Adelaide.

Under huge pressure for a week – hounded by the International Cricket Council’s desire for a scapegoat and persecuted by the Australian media, who even went so far as to launch a physical assault through the pushing-and-shoving goon with a microphone, Will Crouch – Du Plessis played an innings of immense mental strength, skill and determination as he rescued the South African innings from total collapse in tough conditions.

The Adelaide airport incident was undoubtedly a set-up because there were go-pro cameras stationed ahead of time on the walkway and all media were well aware that Du Plessis was not allowed to comment anyway as per ICC rules.

The South African camp believes the original ball-tampering video was placed in the media’s hands by Cricket Australia and, desperate for something to deflect from the massive problems in their cricket, the media pushed it to the limit.

At which point the ICC stepped into the fray and the song-and-dance about the Proteas captain doing two entirely legal things at the same time – eating a sweet and using his saliva to shine the ball – and something the Australian team themselves have sportingly admitted they do as well, turned into a full-scale operetta.

The ICC’s behaviour in this matter has been truly pathetic and to hear CEO David Richardson whingeing on Friday about how disappointed he is that Du Plessis is appealing, as is his right, his guilty verdict astonished me.

Richardson is a trained lawyer and yet he thinks Du Plessis has been fairly treated when the ICC laid the charge and appointed one of their own employees, match referee Andy Pycroft, as the judge, with other employees, the umpires, as the star witnesses. To make matters worse, because the ICC wanted to rush the whole process to completion before the start of the Adelaide Test, Du Plessis was denied the right to have the legal representation he wanted, being unable to fly them in from South Africa in time.

I know this all happened in Australia, but to make it an absolute kangaroo court was taking things too far.

If Du Plessis is guilty of an offence, what about all those cricketers who put sunscreen on and then wipe their sweat on the ball? The infused mixture is a wonderful ball-shiner.

What about the ubiquitous practice of chewing gum and then using your saliva to polish the ball?

If Richardson really wants to uphold the integrity of the game then perhaps he should be applying his mind to the blatant shortcomings in the laws of cricket.

Du Plessis’ tremendous performance in adversity has had even more people wondering if he should not continue as captain even once AB de Villiers returns.

Personally, I rate Du Plessis as the more natural captain and probably someone who wants the job more. But you cannot just ditch De Villiers as he has done little wrong as captain and also has a wonderful cricket brain. Convenor of selectors Linda Zondi has said all the right things in this regard.

I believe you have to leave that sort of decision to De Villiers himself and, with his workload issues, he may well decide to hand over the reins to Du Plessis.

The only other issue is that Du Plessis might have been the batsman earmarked to make way for De Villiers, but you surely cannot leave him out after his Adelaide masterpiece?

Proteas have South Africans greeting new day in celebratory fashion 1

Posted on November 16, 2016 by Ken


South African cricket fans were seriously contemplating greeting the new day on Tuesday with a celebratory tipple after the Proteas completed a series win in Australia in magnificent fashion overnight, winning the second Test in Hobart by an innings as they inflicted another stunning collapse on the hosts.

And that included injured fast bowler Dale Steyn and former captain Graeme Smith.

Steyn sent a tweet saying “Speechless! Think I’m gana have a beer at 3am”, while Smith posted a photo of himself with a can of the sponsor’s beer and wrote “In the office waiting for the appropriate time to celebrate the #proteas”.

Regular captain AB de Villiers, who is also out injured, sent his congratulations to the team on social media with a message that read “Once again, not much to say when a team performs like that! Pure class. #ProteaFire at its best!!! Enjoy the celebrations guys”.

The victory meant South Africa have now won their last three Test series in Australia, a phenomenal achievement against the most consistent super-powers of the game, and something only two other countries have managed – the all-powerful West Indies team in 1984/85, 1988/89 and 1992/93, considered one of the greatest sides in history, and England, who won three consecutive series in Australia in the early days of Test cricket between 1884 and 1888.

“It is comfortably the hardest place to go and win and when you enter Australia’s backyard, they’ll be sure to tell you that. I played against various Australian teams and they were always ruthless and relentless, the pitches are so good over there and they know exactly how to play on them.

“Having coached there as well, they hate losing, they cannot stand losing in their own backyard, so it was a terrific performance by the Proteas and I was very proud to watch,” fast bowling great Allan Donald told The Citizen on Tuesday.

“The bowling in the whole series has been pretty darn good. After the poor first innings in Perth, to recover and bowl Australia out on that flat pitch was a helluva achievement. Since Dale Steyn departed, Kyle Abbott, who has been Mr Reliable for some time, has been given the chance to fill his boots and he’s proven again what a quality bowler he is. The whole attack has been brilliant, it’s been a collective effort,” Donald, who served as South Africa’s bowling coach between 2011 and 2013, and also fulfilled the same role for Australia on a short-term contract earlier this year, said.


Lions fall off the rails but hold on to beat Bulls 0

Posted on September 14, 2015 by Ken


The Xerox Golden Lions produced a magnificent first half but fell off the rails in the second, before holding on for a thrilling 36-28 victory over the Vodacom Blue Bulls in their Absa Currie Cup match at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday night.

Seen through the lens of the Currie Cup as a whole, the win should ensure the Lions finish top of the log and host whatever knockout matches they are in, while for the Bulls, their superb comeback failed to earn them a second bonus point, but they are still five points clear of third-placed Western Province.

The Bulls endured a nightmare start when nothing went their way in terms of refereeing decisions and they looked half-asleep, crashing to a 0-30 deficit after 34 minutes, but the way they performed in the second half is perhaps a truer reflection of their quality and the smart money will be on them getting a chance for revenge against the Lions in the final.

Whether referee Marius van der Westhuizen has cataracts or can only raise his right arm was the subject of furious debate for the fans of both sides as he blew the Bulls out of the first half and then proceeded to do the same to the Lions after the break.

The first bad omen for the Bulls would occur in the third minute when the Lions produced a massive shove at the first scrum, winning a tighthead. From there, outside centre Stokkies Hanekom burst through the line out wide and, from the resultant ruck inside the 22, flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff put a pinpoint kick into the hands of Courtnall Skosan for the opening try.

A string of decisions then went against the Blue Bulls, which television replays showed to be incorrect, and they spent the rest of the first quarter manning up in defence. They did that tremendously well, a notable effort being when prop Marcel van der Merwe and lock Jacques du Plessis held Lions loosehead Jacques van Rooyen up over the line, and conceded just a penalty and a drop goal to Boshoff in that time (13-0).

Van der Merwe, unfortunately, was the man responsible for the Lions’ second try, as his pass to nobody fell to centre Howard Mnisi, who charged forward and then passed inside for lock Franco Mostert to storm over the line. The Bulls tighthead was not helped, though, by flyhalf Tian Schoeman’s inexplicable decision to take a short 22m drop-out when the home side were desperately trying to get out of their half.

The deadly-accurate Boshoff added his second conversion and then gained a penalty for offsides four minutes later, putting the Lions 23-0 ahead.

The third try was also gifted to the Lions when the Bulls backline were throwing the ball around well behind the gain-line and Ruan Combrinck stepped up and outside centre Dries Swanepoel promptly passed the ball straight to him, the wing dashing away for a 45m intercept try.

The Bulls looked half-asleep for most of the half, stunned by the intensity, pace and accuracy of the Lions, but as the first half drew to a close, they awoke from their slumber with a try made with surgeon-like precision down the blindside by scrumhalf Francois Hougaard, fullback Warrick Gelant and wing Jamba Ulengo, who made the touchdown.

The Bulls’ problems started in a scrum that battled to contain the powerful Lions unit, but the lineout was a set-piece that worked well for the home side even during the calamitous first half.

The second half saw the momentum totally switch as the Bulls used their lineout to set up some strong driving play.

Boshoff stretched the Lions’ lead, against the run of play, to 33-7 with a 52nd-minute penalty, but the Bulls quickly responded with a try as eighthman Arno Botha forced his way over from a lineout drive.

Replacement flank Deon Stegmann muscled his way over on the hour mark, finishing powerfully after Hougaard had used quick ruck ball to send substitute lock RG Snyman charging over the advantage line, although the Lions could justifiably moan that the dynamic loose forward had placed the ball in the tackle and then grabbed it again as the ruck went over the line.

The Bulls’ fourth, bonus-point try was a messy affair but Ulengo and Galant deserve credit for their footballing skills as they kicked the ball down the right touchline before Ulengo dotted down for his eighth try of the campaign.

Schoeman slotted another excellent touchline conversion to set up a grandstand finish at 28-33, but Boshoff was the man who had the final say with his golden boot, nailing a penalty after a ruck offence.

The Bulls youngsters would have gained a tremendous amount of confidence from their second-half comeback, but the Lions proved they are a top-class outfit and undoubtedly the team to beat.

A powerful pack is brilliant at scrum time, they are a potent force at the breakdown and a backline boasting plenty of pace – Skosan was a handful for the Bulls on Saturday night – offers a cutting edge to the Lions.

Coach Johan Ackermann has built a formidable unit and they confirmed their status as favourites for the title at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday night.


Vodacom Blue Bulls – Tries: Jamba Ulengo (2), Arno Botha, Deon Stegmann. Conversions: Tian Schoeman (4).

Xerox Golden Lions – Tries: Courtnall Skosan, Franco Mostert, Ruan Combrinck. Conversions: Marnitz Boshoff (3). Penalties: Boshoff (4). Drop goal: Boshoff.




  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Thought of the Day

    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."

    The lessons Christ taught were intensely spiritual, but also extremely practical. For him, everything - every thought and deed - was an expression of his relationship with his heavenly Father. All of our life must be an expression of the spiritual.

    "I wait upon God to renew my mind, to make me creative, instead of becoming the clanging cymbal that Paul spoke of." - Paul Tournier

    "The spiritual life touches the realities of every day and enables you to look, to a certain extent, at people's problems as God does." - Solly Ozrovech

↑ Top