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Ken Borland



Why such negativity in the season of hope? 0

Posted on December 20, 2016 by Ken

 

This is the season of hope and our cricketers have certainly given cause for much optimism for the rest of the summer, and yet there are still people spreading negativity about the game in this country.

It started up again when Keaton Jennings, son of former Transvaal Mean Machine great Ray, made a century on debut for England against India last week. The South African-born expat is 24 years old and has been playing for Durham since 2012.

Following his brilliant 112 in the first innings in Mumbai, the nonsense talk started about Jennings being ignored by the South African system, without honour in his own land, if you like, with “quotas” receiving their normal share of the blame.

Just to set the record straight, young Jennings was the captain of the SA U19 team in 2011 and made his first-class debut for Gauteng later that same year. So Jennings was in the system, playing in the same side as Quinton de Kock at that stage, but to expect him just to waltz into the Highveld Lions team ahead of players like Alviro Petersen, Neil McKenzie, Temba Bavuma, Stephen Cook and Zander de Bruyn would have been naïve.

So Jennings was not denied fair opportunity, he merely made a personal decision, good luck to him, and it in no way reflects badly on Cricket South Africa.

The other bizarre negativity at the moment surrounds AB de Villiers’ selfless decision to give up the Test captaincy.

From being the blue-eyed boy of South African cricket, suddenly certain people are reading all sorts of sinister motives and reasons into De Villiers’ decision. It’s disgraceful that aspersions are now being cast on the honourable Faf du Plessis and his long-time friendship with De Villiers.

The person crying foul the most has been Fanie de Villiers, but then he has had an axe to grind with South African cricket for some time, and is persona non grata around the Proteas so he doesn’t really know what is going on inside that camp.

Sit down Fanie and follow the wise advice that says: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, rather don’t say anything!”

Titans hard at work in midwinter to find a new coach 0

Posted on July 25, 2016 by Ken

 

It may be midwinter but the Titans are hard at work for the cricket season ahead, announcing Multiply, Momentum’s lifestyle and wellness program, as their new team sponsor for 50-over and four-day cricket on Tuesday, but their major focus is on finding a new coach to replace Rob Walter.

Walter is heading to New Zealand to coach Otago from September 1 and, although the Titans were in negotiations with a former South African international based in England, they were frozen out due to the problems with trying to match a pounds salary with rands.

“We’ll be advertising the post from today, so the process starts. We did look at a few candidates initially, we made approaches, but it’s not always possible to get the people you want. It’s difficult to attract guys because of the currency weakness and not all the guys are available. But we hope to complete the search in two or three weeks,” Titans chief executive Jacques Faul said on Tuesday.

“Looking at the squad we have, we need someone who can keep winning trophies. We need to fit the coach with the squad because the players have just come off a helluva season. Obviously the coach must bring something new to the table, but he must be able to work with the squad we’ve got. Rob did so well, winning trophies, but there’s also the bigger picture of producing Proteas, and that’s what the new coach needs to duplicate.”

Although Walter has joined HD Ackerman and Pierre de Bruyn as high-profile coaches leaving South Africa this year, Faul said he believes there is still more than enough talent available when it comes to coaching.

“I’m very positive. There are a lot of young coaches coming through, a guy like Malibongwe Maketa energised the Warriors and they are playing an exciting brand of cricket, and I think we have good systems, I think there is a lot of talent around the country. If one or two guys leave, it doesn’t mean that the system is in trouble.

“A guy like Geoff Toyana is a very good coach, but he had to get the opportunity first and somebody had to leave. We’re part of a global village that attracts good coaches, and I think we’ll get a lot of overseas applications. We’re not hitting any panic buttons,” Faul said.

Biggest 40 from Sharks keeps them ahead of Bulls 0

Posted on July 12, 2016 by Ken

 

The Cell C Sharks produced the biggest 40 minutes of their season in the second half to beat the Toyota Cheetahs 26-10 at Growthpoint Kings Park on Saturday and stay ahead of the Bulls in the race for the Vodacom SuperRugby playoffs.

With the Bulls having secured a bonus-point win over the Sunwolves in the previous game, the Sharks were in desperate need of a victory to stay ahead in the race for the third South African qualification place.

The scrum was the biggest talking point of the game, with the Sharks taking an absolute hiding in that department in the first half.

The frustrations boiled over in the 16th minute as the Sharks lost their captain, Tendai Mtawarira, for 10 minutes, as he was yellow-carded for slapping a Cheetahs player.

The Cheetahs then destroyed the Sharks in a series of scrums, Coenie Oosthuizen being the chief culprit at tighthead for the Sharks, and the visitors were unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty try.

But the Cheetahs did, however, manage to get the opening try a few minutes later as wing Raymond Rhule, with space on the outside, stood up fullback Rhyno Smith and dotted down.

With flyhalf Fred Zeilinga’s conversion, the Cheetahs led 7-0, but Sharks flyhalf Garth April cut the deficit to 3-7 with a penalty for a high tackle just two minutes later.

With the Cheetahs scrum being so dominant, they would have expected more reward from that set-piece, but Sharks scrumhalf Michael Claassens is a canny campaigner and he delayed the put-ins as long as he could. He fooled referee Stuart Berry in the 35th minute, with the Sharks being awarded a free kick for an early engage by the Cheetahs, and it was a pivotal moment as the home side turned a first-half onslaught that saw them barely hanging on into a halftime lead.

Eighthman Philip van der Walt took a quick tap and a long pass out wide from the ruck found JP Pietersen, who cut inside for a top-class power-finish, April’s conversion giving the Sharks a scarcely deserved 10-7 halftime lead.

The Sharks did not make a good start to the second half though as Van der Walt took the kickoff but then dropped the ball, starting a chain reaction that ended with hooker Franco Marais being caught on the wrong side of the ruck and Zeilinga kicking a penalty to level the scores.

But Lourens Adriaanse proved once again that he is like a potent chemical when it comes to scrum time, always causing a reaction, and his introduction as a replacement for Oosthuizen then totally turned around that set-piece.

His first two scrums led to a turnover in the feed and then a penalty, which April kicked. The young flyhalf is known for his dazzling attacking skills, but he was called on to make some vital kicks on Saturday and he was outstanding off the tee, succeeding with all five of his kicks at goal, including two penalties from scrums which put the Sharks 16-10 up.

The Cheetahs must have been surprised to be down at that stage, and they were even more bemused when referee Berry called advantage over on a penalty when, to be fair, the Cheetahs had taken the ball through numerous phases but had not made much ground, and Stefan Ungerer, brought on at scrumhalf just minutes earlier, pounced on an intercept try and couldn’t believe his luck when he went over for the try.

April succeeded with yet another kick to convert (23-10), and a multitude of handling errors by the Cheetahs then allowed the Sharks to seize control.

The Sharks, who have really turned their defence around since the arrival of specialist coach Omar Mouneimne, continued to harangue the Cheetahs and, after centre Andre Esterhuizen had put in a big tackle and stripped the ball off Rhule, followed by Pietersen kicking ahead, flank Keegan Daniel just had to gather the ball and dive over the line, but he knocked on.

But the Sharks regained possession at the lineout, rumbled the driving maul forward and earned another penalty by April to complete the scoring.

And so the final round of fixtures next weekend, with the Sharks hosting the Sunwolves and the Bulls travelling to the Cheetahs, will decide who the third South African franchise in the playoffs will be.

Scorers

Cell C SharksTries: JP Pietersen, Stefan Ungerer. Conversions: Garth April (2). Penalties: April (4).

Toyota CheetahsTry: Raymond Rhule. Conversion: Fred Zeilinga. Penalty: Zeilinga.

http://citizen.co.za/1197651/sharks-make-it-count-against-cheetahs/

Titanic clash as Bulls search for revenge for opening-weekend hammering 0

Posted on June 27, 2016 by Ken

 

The Bulls and the Stormers are the two leading sides in the South African SuperRugby Conference and are age-old rivals, so it will be a titanic clash when they meet at Newlands on Saturday, with the Bulls expecting a ferocious contest up front as they go in search of revenge for the 29-17 hammering they suffered at the hands of the Capetonians at Loftus Versfeld on the opening weekend of the season.

“It’s going to be another tough South African derby and it’s nice that it’s such an important game. They came here and won and hopefully we can do the same down there. It’s important that we play for the full 80 minutes, we have to be consistent and use our opportunities well,” Bulls captain Pierre Spies said in Pretoria this week.

“The Stormers are very direct, they work hard on the gain-line and the game is going to be decided up front, whoever can get a solid base up there will be on the front foot. The gain-line is going to be crucial because that’s where the penalties and the line-breaks happen. And the team that keeps their discipline best normally comes out on top,” coach Frans Ludeke added.

Apart from the SA Conference lead being up for grabs, what makes the match so mouthwatering are the head-to-head clashes in this World Cup year – Marcel van der Merwe v Steven Kitshoff, Flip van der Merwe v Eben Etzebeth, Spies v Duane Vermeulen, Jan Serfontein v Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel v Cheslin Kolbe.

“Those will definitely spice up the game, even though we’re not thinking about the World Cup now. It’s always there though in the background and this might be the last time we play each other before then. We don’t try to get involved in personal battles, but the media sets the table for us, it’s always there,” Spies said.

The Bulls and the Stormers are also like peas in a pod in the way they have evolved since that opening encounter on Valentine’s Day.

As Stormers’ coach Allister Coetzee pointed out this week, Jesse Kriel has started in place of Jurgen Visser at fullback since then and has changed the shape of the Bulls’ attack.

The Bulls’ scrum is also likely to be a harder nut to crack than it was that day at Loftus Versfeld, with the two Van der Merwe’s back and Trevor Nyakane full of confidence and ready to come off the bench and make an impact.

“We lost Werner Kruger in the first three minutes of that game and Trevor was thrown into the deep end at tighthead. But I felt we finished the scrums well, we battled through. But that game is in the past, we’ve improved a lot and we are definitely a different side compared to then. A lot of players have come back from injury and we definitely have a more all-round game,” Ludeke said.

The Stormers have switched to a more pragmatic approach after three successive losses to New Zealand teams, being more patient in terms and when and where to attack and it has borne fruit with victories over the Waratahs and the Force on tour.

But for all the backline brilliance both teams will bring to Newlands, the real battle will be underground in the trenches up front.

 

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  • Thought of the Day

    1 Corinthians 3:3 - "For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?"

    One of my favourite U2 songs is a collaboration with Johnny Cash called The Wanderer, and it features the line "they say they want the kingdom, but they don't want God in it".
    Many people say they believe in God, but they don't experience his loving presence. They may be active in Christian work, but only if they have their way. If they cannot be leaders, they refuse to be involved.
    Because they refuse to allow God to fill their lives with his love, they remain weak and powerless.
    Spiritual maturity means developing a greater love for others.

    "When the love of Christ saturates you, immature attitudes such as pettiness, jealousy and strife are dissolved.
    "It is only when you have an intimate relationship with the Lord that you receive sufficient grace to rise above this immaturity and enjoy the solid food that the Holy Spirit gives you." - Solly Ozrovech, A Shelter From The Storm



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