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Ken Borland

18-year-olds & seasoned veterans all in the race for SA hockey 0

Posted on May 29, 2017 by Ken


Featuring 18-year-olds to seasoned veterans, South Africa’s national men’s and women’s hockey squads for the year were announced on Thursday and are part of the South African Hockey Association’s planning through to next year’s Commonwealth Games and the race to regain as many of their world ranking points as they can.

Due to the loss of ranking points caused by not participating in last year’s Rio Olympics, South Africa’s women have slipped to 13th in the world rankings and the men are 15th. Nevertheless, South Africa will host the prestigious World League semi-finals for both men and women from July 3-24 and, with several top-10 nations taking part, even the smallest upset should improve their ranking.

Australia, Germany, Belgium, New Zealand, Ireland and Spain are the top-10 men’s sides coming to Johannesburg, while England, Argentina, the USA and Germany are the leading nations taking part in the women’s tournament.

A 25-strong women’s squad has been named and, even though there are no new caps, convenor of selectors Mickey Gordon explained that a structure had been put in place to improve the youth profile of the team.

“With a view to the World League Semi-Finals, the Africa Cup of Nations in August and the Commonwealth Games next April, and possibly the World Cup later in 2018, we have chosen a fairly long-term squad so we can look at selection from a consistent basis. We’ve set out to change the age profile because we have a lot of qualifying to do and these youngsters can gain experience.

“We will use all 25 players in the build-up to the next World Cup and we need to get youth into the squad. I sit on the U16 to U21 national selection panels as well in order to get some consistency. We want to grow our talent and if you look at world standards these days, then there is a predominance of youth,” Gordon said.

That does not mean experience is being thrown out the window though, and stalwarts of the South African side such as Nicolene Terblanche, Bernadette Coston, Sulette Damons, Ilse Davids and Shelley Jones (nee Russell) have all been included in the squad.

That applies to the men’s squad as well, with the likes of Rassie Pieterse, 34-year-old Julian Hykes, Jethro Eustice and Owen Mvimbi chosen alongside new cap Melrick Maddocks and 18-year-old Dayaan Cassiem.

There are nine members of the KZN Coastals team that won the recent IPT in the squad and national coach Fabian Gregory said it was the selectors’ intention that form be rewarded.

“KZN did exceptionally well to win IPT, playing well both as a group and with stand-out individual players. We wanted to send the correct message that IPT has not been watered down and we will reward form there. So Melrick is rewarded for being one of the top strikers there as is his team-mate Julian, who was the top goal-scorer for Southern Gauteng,” Gregory said.

The 43-year-old Gregory said he will cut the squad down from 21 to 18 for the World League Semi-Finals.

For both the men’s and women’s national squads, the next couple of years promise plenty of playing opportunities against the top nations in world hockey.

“Our world ranking being lower does not make things easier for us, but there is a total plan in place to rejuvenate our competitiveness. Not playing enough games is killing us due to a lack of sponsorship, but we have the talent, we just need to spend more time working together as a team,” Gordon said.

SA Womens Squad: Kirsty Adams (Boland), Stephanie Baxter (North-West), Kara Botes nee Stella (KZN Coastals), Nicole la Fleur (Western Province), Candice Manual (Western Province), Nicolene Terblance (Northerns Blues), Izelle Verster (Northerns Blues), Quanita Bobbs (Western Province), Bernadette Coston (Southern Gauteng), Sulette Damons (North-West), Ilse Davids (Western Province), (Lisa Deetlefs (Southern Gauteng), Lilian du Plessis (Southern Gauteng), Celia Evans (Northerns Blues), Tarryn Glasby (Western Province), Erin Hunter (KZN Coastals), Shelley Jones nee Russell (KZN Coastals), Marizen Marais (Northerns Blues), Jade Mayne (Western Province), Phumelela Mbande (Northerns Blues), Line Malan (Western Province), Jessica O’Connor (KZN Coastals), Carmen Smith (Southern Gauteng), Marelize van Tonder (Northerns Blues), Nicole Walraven (Free State).

SA Mens Squad: Rassie Pieterse (Southern Gauteng), Gowan Jones (KZN Coastals), Jethro Eustice (KZN Coastals), Robin Jones (KZN Coastals), Tyson Dlungwana (Southern Gauteng), Mohamed Mea (KZN Coastals), Jonty Robinson (KZN Coastals), Dan Sibbald (KZN Coastals), Reza Rosenburg (Southern Gauteng), Ryan Julius (Western Province), Clinton Panther (KZN Coastals), Owen Mvimbi (Southern Gauteng), Julian Hykes (Southern Gauteng), Ryan Crowe (Western Province), Nqobile Ntuli (KZN Coastals), Ignatius Malgraff  (Eastern Province), Dayaan Cassiem (Western Province), Richard Pautz (Northerns Blues), Tevin Kok (Northerns Blues), Melrick Maddocks (Southern Gauteng), Damien Kimfley (KZN Coastals).

Titans looking to lift after weekend slump gives them away playoff 0

Posted on July 14, 2015 by Ken

The Unlimited Titans’ beer has gone rather flat after successive defeats have condemned them to an away playoff against the Sunfoil Dolphins today at Kingsmead and coach Rob Walter is eager for his team to regain the composure that saw them to five consecutive wins before their weekend slump.

The Titans pace bowlers will be under the most pressure to step up after their messy performances against the Warriors, who chased down a record 354, and the Dolphins themselves, with the wayward seamers conceding 49 wides in those two games.

“The bowling was poor and unacceptable in the last two matches and we need to remove those extras from our game. The bowlers need to go back to what worked for us before, they’re able to pull things back.

“It was probably nerves, we maybe built up those games too much, trying to secure a home playoff. They didn’t try to do anything different and we always try to do the right things in training. Obviously we’ll try and improve the bowling and try to ensure it doesn’t happen again,” Walter told The Citizen on Monday.

If the bowlers can provide a measure of control in the field, then the Titans have a top-class batting line-up capable of either setting a winning score or chasing down a target. Theunis de Bruyn has been a stand-out player this season, David Wiese a hard-hitting contributor, Qaasim Adams a revelation in the middle-order and Jacques Rudolph, Dean Elgar and Henry Davids a reliable top-order. Plus Albie Morkel has made a couple of important contributions with the bat.

Walter said the Kingsmead pitch was a tough one to bat on during their weekend loss to the Dolphins and a total of 250 could well be enough, setting the stage for a nailbiting playoff.

Vaughn van Jaarsveld has become the key batsman for the Dolphins, reeling off successive centuries after also scoring a hundred earlier in the competition, while the opening pair of Morne van Wyk and Cameron Delport is amongst the most destructive in the competition.

The Dolphins middle-order has been less successful and the Titans know the importance of getting early wickets to put them under pressure.

Calvin Savage held together the lower-order and was then tidy with the ball during the weekend win over the Titans, but has not been named in the squad for the playoff, presumably due to injury. The return of the experienced Ryan McLaren or the skilful Robbie Frylinck could make up for that.

With Elgar doing a good job as the Titans’ main spinner, Walter said he was hopeful Morkel, who is struggling with a side strain, would be able to get through a couple of overs as well on a pitch that is expected to provide grip.

The Titans had a five-wicket win over the Dolphins at Kingsmead at the same stage of last season’s Momentum One-Day Cup. On that occasion they had a Heino Kuhn century to thank for their victory, while Graeme van Buuren, Shaun von Berg and CJ de Villiers – none of whom are in the squad for today’s game – had important roles as well.

“There’s good stuff from last season for us to reflect on. Maybe we made too much of the last two games, whereas in the middle phases of the tournament we just trusted our skills,” Walter said.


Dolphins: Morne van Wyk, Cameron Delport, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Cody Chetty, Khaya Zondo, Kyle Nipper, Andile Phehlukwayo, Ryan McLaren, Keshav Maharaj, Tumi Moreki, Daryn Dupavillon, Robbie Frylinck, Daryn Smit, Craig Alexander, Jonathan Vandiar.

Titans: Henry Davids, Jacques Rudolph, Theunis de Bruyn, Dean Elgar, Qaasim Adams, Albie Morkel, Mangaliso Mosehle, David Wiese, JP de Villiers, Rowan Richards, Junior Dala, Ethy Mbhalati, Grant Thomson.




Several Proteas need to regain confidence 0

Posted on March 30, 2015 by Ken

South Africa’s ODI series against the West Indies which started in Durban yesterday is going to be crucial preparation for the World Cup with several players looking to regain confidence ahead of the showpiece tournament that starts on February 14.

To add to the pressure, it is players that are not going to the World Cup – Morne van Wyk and David Wiese spring readily to mind – who have produced the most impressive recent performances.

The likes of Farhaan Behardien, Kyle Abbott and Wayne Parnell had poor returns in the T20 series against the West Indies and they will be desperate to go to Australasia with some success under their belts.

Apart from getting out-of-form players back into nick, captain AB de Villiers also needs to discover how best to marshal his resources during the five ODIs against the West Indies.

Chris Gayle had a grand old time against the South African back-up bowlers in the T20s, which merely highlights the pressure on Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander.

Given that South Africa’s main weakness is their bowling, it was strange to see the balance of the team for yesterday’s match against the West Indies: There were only four frontline bowlers – the three pacemen and spinner Imran Tahir – meaning JP Duminy and Farhaan Behardien had to bowl 10 overs between them.

Duminy has just come out of mothballs and so it may take him a while to regain his best bowling form, while at Behardien’s pace there is absolutely no room for error, particularly when he gets to the good batting pitches in Australia.

But that balance makes South Africa extremely vulnerable – teams are undoubtedly going to target the fifth bowling pair of Duminy and Behardien and, if one other bowler has a bad day, then the Proteas will be seriously derailed in the field.

Which is why I believe the selectors have erred in not including a genuine all-rounder in the squad. Wiese brings megawatts of hitting power and is also a canny bowler, while even Ryan McLaren, without being spectacular, is a decent all-rounder.

For those suggesting Parnell should fill the all-rounder’s berth, I would just smile and say ‘no thanks’. For all the talent the left-hander possesses and so-called X-factor, he has battled to perform with any consistency at international level and cannot be relied upon.

Philander has been touted as a possible number seven batsman and has been in good form with the bat in the Test arena, averaging 45 in 2014, and the strength of South Africa’s batting line-up might just make that the best option.

De Villiers, Faf du Plessis and Hashim Amla have all been superb in ODIs over the last year, scoring 10 centuries between them and all averaging over 50, while Quinton de Kock and JP Duminy have both proven their ability at international level, while David Miller can be as destructive as anyone on his day.

But listening to De Villiers’ gung-ho proclamations that South Africa will have the best team at the World Cup, one wonders whether he has identified the key areas of weakness in his side. No captain will ever highlight those weaknesses of course, but South Africa have not been the number one ranked ODI side for any length of time since 2009. They were on top of the pile last October after beating New Zealand away from home, but they were quickly deposed by Australia in November.

Very little has changed since then, except the Proteas have slid further down the rankings to third.




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