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Ken Borland

Germany get the tolerance & the only goal 0

Posted on July 18, 2017 by Ken



South Africa went down 1-0 to Germany in their Hockey World League women’s quarterfinal at the Wits Astro on Tuesday night, in a game marred by the officials’ tolerance of the Germans’ over-robust play and their bumbling use of the video referral system.

After an evenly-contested first quarter, in which there were chances at both ends but SA goalkeeper Nicole la Fleur’s double-save at a short-corner was a highlight, the home side launched a promising attack which led to a short-corner as Sulette Damons’ good cross was met by Jade Mayne, whose reverse-sticks shot was saved but not without a penalty corner being conceded.

Bernie Coston was then barged over as she went for the deflection from the set-piece, an infringement missed by New Zealand umpire Kelly Hudson. But South Africa called for the video referral and Russian TV umpire Elena Eskina agreed that there had been an off-the-ball body tackle, but called for a card and a short-corner. Ordinarily, a card would be given for a deliberate offence and, being in the circle, that should lead to a penalty stroke.

Umpire Hudson then awarded the short-corner but did not issue the card, leading to confusion all round.

“We asked about the card and what the video umpire said, but the umpire just waved us away and said we must play on,” South Africa captain Nicolene Terblanche, who was celebrating her 200th cap, said afterwards.

The Germans were also extremely physical, often shouldering South African players off the ball, but the home side maintained their composure exceptionally well and certainly ensured the world’s seventh-ranked side were in a fierce contest.

“Germany are always physical and they won a lot of 50/50 balls, which are about who fights hardest. But we were very composed and stuck to our guns, I was very happy with how we reacted. We had control of the game in general and had enough chances to get a win out of it, but we just couldn’t turn them into goals,” South Africa coach Sheldon Rostron said.

Germany brought their typical measured, controlled approach to the game, but South Africa more than held their own as they too played mature, impressive hockey. Their build-up work was at times brilliant, but sadly the finishing touches were lacking.

With two minutes to go to halftime, Camille Nobis received the ball close to goal, swivelled and easily took La Fleur out of the game before flipping the ball into the empty goal to give Germany their 1-0 lead.

South Africa had more than enough chances to equalise, starting with one just a minute later when German goalkeeper Julia Ciupka dived to keep out the impressive Ilse Davids’ reverse-sticks shot from the top of the circle.

In the 41st minute, Damons just had the goalkeeper to beat, but lost control of the ball and was tackled by Ciupka, but the best chance of all fell to Candice Manuel, the heroine of the thrilling win over the USA that put South Africa into the quarterfinals.

Davids intercepted the ball in the German defence and passed to Manuel, who flicked over the advancing goalkeeper only to see the ball bounce wide of the open goal.

The German goalkeeper conceded another short-corner in the 54th minute, but with the ball bobbling about the goalmouth, the home side were just unable to scramble the ball into goal.

The Germans had a goal disallowed on review, umpire Hudson missing that the ball had come off the leg of an attacker, and the South Africans forced one last short-corner in the 59th minute and should have been awarded another but the ball was cleared.

The home side will now chase fifth spot and automatic qualification for the World Cup in London next year, with the gutsy Irish side the first hurdle to get over in that regard. The match will be played on Thursday, before the semi-finals between Germany and Argentina, and England and the United States.

Results: USA 1 (Michelle Vittese) Japan 0; Argentina 2 (Delfina Merino, Julia Gomes) Ireland 1 (Roisin Upton); England 4 (Giselle Ansley, Alex Danson, Susannah Townsend, Hannah Martin) India 1 (Gurjit Kaur); South Africa 0 Germany 1 (Camille Nobis).

Wednesday’s fixtures (men’s quarterfinals): 11.15am Australia v Egypt; 1.30pm Spain v Ireland; 3.45pm Germany v France; 6pm Belgium v New Zealand.


Officials bring Olympic honour to SA hockey 0

Posted on August 27, 2016 by Ken


The national men’s and women’s teams may not have been competing on the field, but tremendous honour and respect still came out of the Olympic Games for South African hockey thanks to the outstanding efforts of their officials.

That South African umpires are at the very top of the game was confirmed by John Wright and Michelle Joubert being appointed to handle the respective men’s and women’s finals.

For Wright, it capped a stellar career as it was the fifth Olympic Games he has officiated in and the second time he has been awarded the final, on what is likely to be his last umpiring stint at the global sporting showpiece.

“I was very pleased with the way things went, the Olympic Games has been the pinnacle of my career and it was a lovely way to end off. I’m very grateful that I have been given all the opportunity I could ever have wanted,” Wright said.

“It was a wonderful experience and I’m just so grateful for all the kind words and support from back home,” Joubert said. “It was a dream come true, just so exciting and I had a perfect time in Rio with so many happy memories.”

The experienced Wright had some kind words to say about his colleague as well.

“I believe Michelle is by far the best women’s umpire in the world and she had an exceptional tournament, even though she was battling injury. It did not hamper her in the final though, where she had a 26-year-old co-umpire, and she made a 100% correct call on the penalty stroke. Michelle has really come on leaps and bounds,” Wright said.

Joubert, the International Hockey Federation’s (FIH)’s 2015 Women’s Umpire of the Year, and Wright weren’t the only South Africans to feature in an Olympic hockey final as Deon Nel was the men’s video umpire.

Behind the scenes, Sheila Brown was the women’s tournament director and Marelize de Klerk the umpires’ manager.

A former umpire herself who was ranked number one in the world and was the first woman to officiate in 200 internationals, De Klerk blew in three Olympic Games from 2000-2008 before retiring in 2011 and becoming an umpires coach and recently a manager.

Brown is a stalwart of South African hockey and a veteran technical official and leading administrator. Her appointment was one of the highest honours in hockey and an enormous responsibility as the final authority at the event.

Brown, a colonel in crime intelligence, made her international debut as a judge in 1996 and was tournament director of the All-Africa Games in 2003. Since then she has been in charge of two World Cups. Brown was the assistant tournament director at both the Beijing and London Olympic Games.

Former national captain Marsha Cox nee Marescia may no longer be active as a player, but she was in Rio de Janeiro bringing over 300 international caps worth of experience to her new roles as a member of the appeal jury and the FIH’s athletes’ commission.

“I was really excited to be part of Rio 2016. Not only to be a part of the Olympic Games, but also to experience a country which I have never been to before. The logistics around the event itself definitely were not without their challenges, however I have no doubt that it’s these experiences which adds to the memories which will last a lifetime.

“In my personal preparations for Rio, my aim was to at least get to the semi-finals. We were told by our umpire’s managers that we would all average more or less four games in the tournament. I was appointed to the very first game of the women’s competition, and by the quarterfinals stage, I was on my fourth game already. Although I was happy with my own performances up to then, I knew that there were many other great umpires within our group and that appointments could go to anyone. I was also struggling with injuries on both my feet which left me doubting my future appointments for the last days.

“Upon receiving my appointment to the semi-finals, I was obviously delighted and happy that I was one step closer to my ‘real’ dream, which was the final. I had to get my mindset right to focus only on the semi, make sure I managed my injury and make sure I gave my best performance to at least be in the running for the final day’s appointments.

“Then the final day’s appointments came out. I had so many mixed emotions which ranged from feeling ecstatic about this achievement and also what it meant for South Africa and hockey in Africa. I felt empathy and disappointment for those who didn’t achieve their own goals and in that moment really lived their emotions as if they were my own. The feeling at that stage to me was bittersweet.

“I was also delighted for my appointed co-umpire for the final, Laurine Delforge, who has shown everyone that with talent, hard work and dedication, you do not always need years of experience in order to achieve success.

“The finals – wow, what an experience, what a game and what an atmosphere to be a part of! Both Laurine and I knew it would be a tough game, but we also understood that our game plan had to be slightly different to that of any normal game. We had to manage the game in such a way that hockey, as a top-class international sport, should be advertised and that we could be a part of its success or failure. We both enjoyed the match, the experience and obviously the actual appointment to the final of Rio 2016,” Joubert added.

The matchfixing spotlight falls on disgruntled Bodi 0

Posted on January 17, 2016 by Ken



Amidst all the anger and despondency at the news that Gulam Bodi has been charged with contriving to corrupt domestic T20 matches, we should not lose sight of the fact that Cricket South Africa and their anti-corruption officials have pounced on the former international so decisively.

In the wake of former New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns’ astonishing acquittal, cricket administrators have realised that they have to tread methodically and precisely because the standards of evidence required to secure a criminal conviction are higher than they imagined.

CSA announced on November 6, just five days into the RamSlam T20 Challenge, that they had started an investigation into an international syndicate seeking to corrupt domestic games and then, on December 15, they revealed an “intermediary” had been charged.

That was after the conclusion of the T20 competition and much attention has fallen on the Cape Cobras’ bizarre loss to the Dolphins in the semi-final playoff in Durban. The visitors were on 154 for three in the 16th over, chasing 179, and somehow managed to lose by five runs.

It is known that there was considerable concern amongst the Cobras management in the wake of the defeat, but given the fact that all domestic players were by then aware that CSA was on to something, the finger of suspicion maybe should not rest on a team that perhaps merely suffered one of those inexplicable implosions that make cricket such a fascinating game.

The RamSlam T20 Challenge was apparently not the only competition to have been improperly interfered with: The season-opening Africa T20 Cup was allegedly where the nonsense started. It was a televised event, without much at stake, featuring some of the younger, and therefore more naïve, players on the domestic circuit – the perfect breeding ground for matchfixers.

And now Bodi has been named as the South African at the centre of it all.

The former KwaZulu-Natal, Titans, Highveld Lions and Delhi Daredevils cricketer, whose international appearances were restricted to three limited-overs games in 2007, was the type of player that calamity just seemed to follow around – his career was dotted with comical run outs, extraordinary ways of getting out and even off the field he would do things like rolling his cart on team golf days.

Now one wonders whether the bizarre luck was just that or something else, something more deliberate?

And that is the biggest damage done by the disease of matchfixing – the doubts over whether all the weird and wonderful things you have seen on the cricket field are real or contrived?

A batsman who swings so freely from the crease like Bodi did is likely to get out in “soft” fashion from time to time, but the player born in Hathuran, India, always struck me as being a little disgruntled.

He was forever talking up his own performances and complaining about not getting fair opportunities. This from one of the players who was chosen ahead of Kevin Pietersen in KZN – in the days when they were both considered spin-bowling prospects – thanks to efforts to give players of colour more opportunity.

But the three international caps were well-deserved because Bodi was once one of the most free-scoring, dangerous top-order batsmen in domestic cricket.

However, the danger will always exist that players who feel hard done by, who believe they are not getting their due, could turn to the “dark side”. Judging by the rumours of white players going on strike, there is currently a large group of dissatisfied franchise cricketers and that should be a grave concern for CSA.


Illogical playing conditions & inflexible officials mar 2nd day in Benoni 0

Posted on March 30, 2015 by Ken

Cricket so often errs by failing to fulfil its primary function of entertainment due to illogical playing conditions and inflexible officials, and the second day of the Sunfoil Series match between the Unlimited Titans and the bizhub Highveld Lions at Willowmoore Park in Benoni on Friday provided another example of that.

With the sun shining brightly, the umpires took the reluctant players off the field at 5.30pm, the usual time for close of play, despite the fact that nearly three hours of play had been washed out by heavy thundershowers in the early afternoon.

So there was no effort to extend the hours of play by half-an-hour, the reason given to the players being that the allotted overs for the day had been bowled. Which doesn’t make sense because only 64 overs were actually bowled on the second day.

The Titans had moved to 27 without loss in the six overs they had to face before stumps, Jacques Rudolph showing that he is not ready to be pensioned off just yet as he cruised to 18 not out with four fours. Heino Kuhn was with him on seven not out.

Geoff Toyana is a coach who prefers to err on the side of positivity and the Lions had declared at 4.50pm on 485 for seven declared, thinking that they would get a good hour to bowl at the Titans, before the early close left them bemused and frustrated.

They managed to post that score thanks to the efforts of Dwaine Pretorius and Dale Deeb, who added 137 for the seventh wicket in 140 minutes and 239 balls, and regained control for the Lions after the Titans had struck hard with the second new ball.

Captain Stephen Cook and Neil McKenzie had resumed on 264 for two and quickly rattled up a fifty partnership off just 54 balls, but then JP de Villiers, bowling at good pace and enjoying some movement, took three wickets in five deliveries as the Lions crashed from 311 for two to 313 for six.

McKenzie was the first to go, playing around a straight ball from De Villiers and being trapped lbw for 47, and the 25-year-old seamer then dismissed Gulam Bodi (1) and Thami Tsolekile (0) with successive deliveries in his next over.

Cook, elegant on the drive but measured in all his strokeplay, had chugged along to 122 in 379 minutes, off 241 balls, when he flicked at a leg-side delivery from left-arm paceman Rowan Richards and wicketkeeper Mangaliso Mosehle flung himself far to his left to take a superb catch.

Pretorius and Deeb batted with admirable good sense though, but neither did they allow any scoring opportunity to pass, and by lunch they had brought up their fifty partnership off 65 balls.

One can probably put money on Pretorius being named the Lions’ most improved cricketer at the end of this season and his plucky 67 took his batting average to 39, to go with a bowling average of 15. He fell, however, in the 10th over after the rain delay as he forgot the rule that you can’t cut left-arm spinner Roelof van der Merwe off the stumps and was bowled by the arm-ball.

Deeb added some more quick runs, finishing with a well-struck 89 not out, including seven fours and a six, before the Lions declared in order to try and buy themselves some time to push for victory on a flat pitch.

De Villiers was the most impressive of the Titans bowlers, with three for 75 in 18 overs. Richards also claimed three wickets, but his control was disappointing as he conceded 118 runs in 26 overs.

If the Titans manage to bat for most of Saturday’s third day, then you can’t see any other result than a draw at Willowmoore Park, despite their improved drainage.

*Batsmen were not loving the conditions on a rain-interrupted day at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth, with the Nashua Cape Cobras struggling on 137 for seven in reply to the Chevrolet Warriors’ 203 all out.

The Warriors’ opening bowlers – Andrew Birch and Basheer Walters – had done most of the damage with two wickets each, and the defending champions lost the mainstay of their innings, opener Omphile Ramela, in the last over of the day.

Ramela had defied the bowlers for 229 minutes and 146 balls in scoring 45, before Walters had him caught in the slips.

The run out of Yaseen Vallie (6) saw the Cobras plunge to 35 for three, before the middle-order rallied. But the Warriors kept chipping away and the wickets of Dane Vilas (15), Sybrand Engelbrecht (26) and Justin Kemp (19) were the reward.

*Cody Chetty stood tall in Kimberley as his century put the Sunfoil Dolphins in a commanding position against the Chevrolet Knights.

Chetty scored 101 not out, sharing in a fifth-wicket partnership of 97 with Khaya Zondo (51), to steer the Dolphins from their overnight score of 251 for four to 452 all out.

The Knights found batting a stiff ask against a fired-up, new-look Dolphins pace attack, struggling to 128 for four at stumps.

Openers Lefa Mosena (46) and Gerhardt Abrahams (34) seemed to be reading the conditions well as they added 61 for the first wicket, but Abrahams was caught behind off Graham Hume and Mosena was caught in the slips off Mathew Pillans.

Fast bowler Daryn Dupavillon then rushed through Diego Rosier (20) and Malusi Siboto (0) in successive balls to put the Dolphins firmly on top.

Off-spinner Patrick Botha is the one Knights player who can feel bullish about his efforts, the 24-year-old patiently whirling away for 28.5 overs and picking up a career-best seven for 89 to start the new year in great fashion.

Quinton Friend may be 32-years-old, but he is still quite a handful, the paceman taking three for 58 in 28 overs.

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