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Ken Borland



The most memorable performance by a fast bowler 0

Posted on August 01, 2016 by Ken

 

The thrilling Kagiso Rabada stole the show at the CSA Awards this week by claiming most of the trophies for himself with the same ruthlessness he displays in targeting the batsman’s wicket, but the most memorable performance by a fast bowler, for me, came the night before at the 25 Years of Unity celebration when Vincent Barnes spoke movingly about the challenges he had to face as a cricketer whose career was ruined by Apartheid.

Barnes is currently the high performance manager for Cricket South Africa, having previously served for many years as the national team’s bowling coach. But he was also arguably the greatest cricketer in the non-racial ranks during the decade before 1991’s formation of the United Cricket Board and the return to international cricket.

The pitches were notoriously poor on their side of the divide – the Apartheid government certainly wasn’t bothered with providing facilities for the majority back then – but Barnes’ figures stand head and shoulders above everyone else in his generation: 323 wickets at an average of just 11.95!

The injustices of Apartheid meant Barnes had to work doubly hard just to play cricket and the passion he has for the game overcame the fact that there was no higher outlet for his talents. But the 56-year-old has seldom spoken of those frustrations – unlike some of the privileged set who were denied international cricket due to isolation – and instead focused on passing on his knowledge to the new, unified generation of South African cricketers.

The greats of White cricket were also acknowledged at the celebration, but it was Barnes’ story of overcoming the odds which was the most poignant for me.

As good as the awards dinner was the next evening, the shadow of sports minister Fikile Mbalula’s enormous ego and Donald Trump-like “leadership” did hang over it a bit for me. I am sad that Cricket South Africa’s response to the increase in pressure from the sports minister for a faster transformation pace, purely intended to put the spotlight on himself in this election year, has been to kowtow to a man who is all bluster and no positive action.

First we had HD Ackerman shamefully removed from the hosting duties because he is taking up a job in Australia (Derek Alberts did a fine job standing in), and then the announcement that quotas will be formally introduced at national level. At least that ends the dishonest sham that resulted in disasters like last year’s World Cup semifinal.

As if to really drive home the point that CSA have worked harder on transformation than any other code, Rabada then takes home half-a-dozen awards.

What was miserable Mbalula’s response? – a tweet that read “Congratulatons! Kagiso Rabada, I sincerely believe you not gonna disappear after being used like all others who came bfo”.

 

Relaxed J-Bay lifestyle rubbing off on Wallie’s golf 0

Posted on September 17, 2015 by Ken

 

Wallie Coetsee enjoys walks on the Jeffreys Bay beach most mornings with his two daughters and a braai at night, and the relaxed lifestyle certainly seems to be rubbing off on his golf as the 42-year-old cruised into the lead midway through the lucrative Joburg Open at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club on Friday.

Coetsee added a six-under-par 65 on the West Course to the brilliant 66 he shot on the East Course on the first day to go to 12-under-par and he will be chased on the weekend by three golfers on 11-under – Simon Dyson, Garth Mulroy and Tjaart van der Walt – as well as Niclas Fasth and Anthony Wall on 10-under and Kristoffer Broberg, Alexander Noren, Thomas Aiken and Stuart Manley on nine-under.

Coetsee was off to a fast start on Friday as he birdied the first three holes but, after 23 years on the Sunshine Tour, he knows that there will be times when a patient approach is best.

Another birdie on the par-four sixth was followed by a bogey on seven, and Coetsee then just sat tight through a run of seven successive pars.

“I was very patient and my game plan was just to leave the tough pins, go for the safer side. You can’t attack every flag, there’s going to be a time to go and a time to be safe. Patience is the key, you can’t force things, it will happen,” Coetsee said.

And when it did happen the reward was a spectacular eagle on the 489-metre par-five 15th, followed by a birdie on the par-four 17th that gave Coetsee a one-stroke lead.

“I’d had very good up-and-downs on 13 and 14, and then on 15 I hit a very good drive and had 218 metres to the flag. I hit a four-iron pin-high, five or six metres from the hole and sank the putt,” Coetsee explained, before giving the credit for a calm approach on the golf course to a relaxed lifestyle off it.

“We don’t have a TV at home in Jeffrey’s Bay, we’d rather walk on the beach or ride our bikes and my recent form has everything to do with the lifestyle. We’re in bed by eight, we’re reading books, I’m up early either to walk on the beach at six with Zoe and Kelly before school or I can go and practice very early,” Coetsee said.

Dyson, a six-time European Tour winner and a former member of the world’s top 30, produced a top-class round of 67 on the tough East Course to climb the leaderboard into a share of second.

A return to the Srixon clubs Dyson used a couple of years ago is clearly paying off.

“I’m back to the clubs I used a couple of years ago. My swing was good and I was playing really nicely, but I just didn’t know how far the ball was going with my previous clubs. And it’s nice to be able to see the yellow Srixon ball the whole way in the flight and it obviously helps on the greens.

“I’m very pleased, I’ve had quite a few birdies on the first two days and that hasn’t happened for a while, so I’m looking forward to getting stuck in over the weekend,” Dyson said.

The saddest story of the day was the cruel fate that befell Nic Henning, whose course record equalling 62 on the first day not only gave him the lead but also seemed to have set up another veteran who has endured a grim few years for a decent payday.

Henning began the day well enough with a birdie on the East Course’s 472-metre par-five opening hole, but alas, it all fell apart thereafter.

The 45-year-old carded four successive bogeys from the fifth hole and in a trice he had crashed to six-under-par overall and was already flirting with the cut line as he reached the turn in 40.

He birdied the par-four 11th, but then his ball was swallowed by the pond on the 13th, leading to a double-bogey, and further dropped shots on the 16th and 18th condemned him to a 78 that saw the first-round leader miss the cut, on four-under, by one stroke.

The fact that the cut was so low, equalling the lows of 2011, 2012 and 2013, shows that most golfers feasted on a cooler day in Linksfield with very little wind.

Englishman Wall helped himself to an eagle on the first hole of the East Course and followed up with three more birdies before the turn. He dropped a shot on the par-four 10th, but then further birdies on the 16th and 18th holes gave him a 66 that left him just two strokes behind Coetsee.

Van der Walt, another South African veteran, was also off to a fast start on the East Course with four birdies on the front nine, but the inward loop was a bit tougher and the 40-year-old carded two bogeys and a par. But his 69 was still good enough to leave him in a tie for second.

“It was one shot at a time, stereotypical golf, because you can’t get ahead of yourself on this course. It was a bit more difficult to read the greens today, it was a struggle to pick the lines. But I’m hitting the ball well enough,” Van der Walt said.

Mulroy followed the pattern of the other golfers on 11-under with three birdies on the front nine and then two birdies and a bogey returning to the clubhouse. The winner of the 2011 Alfred Dunhill Championship is clearly one of the main threats to Coetsee.

The defending champion, George Coetzee, is just four strokes off the lead after a 69 on the East Course left him on eight-under, while Richard Sterne, the 2008 and 2013 champion, is in the group on six-under.

Darren Clarke, the newly-announced European Ryder Cup captain, missed the cut after a 72 on Friday left him on one-over-par for the tournament.

 



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