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Ken Borland



Richards discovers control, looking for strong limited-overs showings 0

Posted on November 22, 2016 by Ken

 

Left-arm paceman Rowan Richards discovered the control he was missing in the second half of last season, leading to a strong showing in the Sunfoil Series which he now plans to take into the limited-overs arena for the Titans.

Richards was the leading wicket-taker for the Titans in four-day cricket with 36, but he only played half of the games in their triumphant Momentum One-Day Cup campaign, taking six wickets and conceding a shade over a run-a-ball. His one appearance in the RamSlam T20 was a disaster, conceding 55 runs in his four overs, against the Cape Cobras during the triple-header at the Wanderers that began the competition.

“At the beginning of the season, it was a struggle, but it clicked heading into the four-day games. It was just a matter of improving my action with Mandla Mashimbyi and Rob Walter [Titans coaches], to get more consistency and be able to control the swing. My goal for next season is to carry that through to the limited-overs formats,” Richards told The Citizen.

Four-day cricket certainly tests a person’s patience and range of skills and the 30-year-old showed that he is one of those bowlers who can plug away while nothing much is happening, but will suddenly get on to a streak and be unplayable.

“l enjoyed the four-day campaign. You get slow periods, it’s just dead, but you have to believe something is going to happen, even when you’re not getting wickets. If I get one, then I believe I can get three or four and that then gives you a sniff.

“Last season I was swinging the ball both ways and I was dangerous with both the new and old ball, getting a bit of reverse. Anyone can go up to a higher level, I just need to focus on my processes, build on what I do well and be consistent,” Richards said.

Those who witnessed his hat-trick on the final afternoon to beat the Warriors in Benoni or his five for 38 against the Knights in Bloemfontein will know that Richards is a left-armer the national selectors should certainly be keeping their eyes on.

 

Dolphins in strong position v Titans after first day 0

Posted on December 11, 2015 by Ken

The Dolphins will enter the second day of their vital Sunfoil Series match against the Unlimited Titans at SuperSport Park in Centurion in a strong position after they dismissed the home side for just 267 and then reached 51 without loss at the close of play on the first day on Thursday.

 

The Titans had elected to bat first, but national opener Dean Elgar made only a brief visit to the crease, surviving one delivery and then being bowled second ball by Mathew Pillans.

The highly-promising Theunis de Bruyn and Henry Davids, the Titans captain, then added 95 for the second wicket as the Titans went into the lunch break on 95 for one.

The runs flowed freely straight after the interval, with De Bruyn scoring 52 and Davids 79, the partnership being extended to 137, before the persevering Pillans made the breakthrough.

De Bruyn’s concentration deserted him as he prodded outside off stump and was caught behind by Morne van Wyk off Pillans.

Daryn Dupavillon then struck two major blows against the Titans when he dismissed Davids, well-caught at second slip by Daryn Smit, and Roelof van der Merwe, who had the gross misfortune of being caught down the leg side for a duck, in the space of three deliveries.

Graeme van Buuren (34) and Qaasim Adams (24) restored order to the zoo with a fifth-wicket stand of 58, but left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj, who was the Dolphins’ other key bowler alongside pacemen Dupavillon and Pillans, made the crucial breakthrough by having Adams caught at slip by Smit.

From 209 for four, the Titans tumbled to 267 all out, with wicketkeeper Mangaliso Mosehle the only batsman to stand firm with a bright 41.

The pacy Dupavillon (19-4-67-3) and Pillans (21.1-4-80-3) spearheaded the Dolphins attack and were always at the batsmen on what looked a good batting track, while Maharaj, who at one stage had bowled six overs for four runs, returned outstanding figures of three for 51 in 28 overs.

Divan van Wyk and Imraan Khan, the Dolphins openers, made merry in the 40 minutes before the close, reducing the deficit to 216 runs.

The in-form Khan stroked six boundaries in the 31 balls he faced, breezing to 32 not out, while Van Wyk, the younger brother of captain Morne, was on 17 not out.

Khan was particularly severe on Ethy Mbhalati, taking the veteran seamer for three boundaries in the second over he bowled.

http://citizen.co.za/343089/titans-vs-dolphins-first-day/

Fisher Junior has excellent chance for greatest triumph 0

Posted on October 29, 2015 by Ken

 

Trevor Fisher Junior is an ex-South African Open leading amateur and he has been in strong contention in co-sanctioned events before, but he stands poised for his greatest triumph yet as he goes into the final round of the Africa Open at East London Golf Club with a two-shot lead.

Fisher Junior fired a magnificent nine-under-par 63 with seven birdies and an eagle on Saturday to vault to 16-under-par, a near-faultless display of precision golf in tricky, windy conditions.

The 35-year-old will be chased in the final round by second-round leader Matt Ford, who recovered well from a double-bogey on the par-four eighth to post a solid three-under-par 69, leaving him on 14-under for the tournament, and Jaco van Zyl, who played well but just could not sink enough putts to turn his 68 into something even better, leaving him on 12-under and four shots back.

Fisher Junior, who started the day three shots behind Ford, was off to a fast start as he birdied the first hole and then nailed a long eagle putt on the third.

The South African picked up a birdie on the eighth too, before a top-class display of golf on the back 10 saw him come home in five-under-par 34.

“It was really nice, a big surprise in fact because I didn’t think I would shoot a 63. But I just stayed in the moment and didn’t count my shots, I stayed really focused and everything just went right. I hit the ball well but I also sank some crucial putts and that’s the difference between shooting four-under and nine-under,” Fisher Junior said.

The reigning Chase to the Investec Cup champion claimed the lead when he sank a monster 65-foot birdie putt on the par-four 13th, Ford having just dropped two shots on the eighth when he found the bunker with his approach, hit his third over the green, was short with his fourth, on for five and then putted for a six.

Fisher Junior sealed the deal with three birdies in his last four holes and he said he will just go out and enjoy the experience of leading in Sunday’s final round.

“Whatever happens tomorrow, I’m going to have a smile on my face. When you’re younger, you tend to try too hard, but now that I’m more mature I realise that it’s just a game and I’m lucky to be playing it. Having kids also gives you a whole new perspective, and I’m just going to enjoy the view tomorrow,” Fisher Junior said.

The Modderfontein golfer tied for third in the 2012 Joburg Open and has six other top-10 finishes in co-sanctioned events (including a tied-fourth in the Africa Open in 2010), and when he overtook George Coetzee to win the Investec Cup and claim the R3.5 million bonus pool, it gave him the belief that he could also win on the European Tour.

“You learn from every experience but the Investec Cup was invaluable and I now know how to handle the pressure of trying to win on the final day. It’s about managing your game, where to be and where not to be. But you also have to hit the ball well and putt well,” Fisher Junior said.

Three birdies in the first seven holes had kept Ford comfortably in the lead until the disaster on the eighth, but the composure the European Tour rookie showed in rebounding from that was impressive.

“I’ve been working on the mental side for a while and it’s always good to bounce back. It was a roller-coaster round, there were quite a few emotions and I’m a bit drained now,” Ford said after his round.

“I would have taken three-under at the beginning of the round and there were more good shots than bad. Like a swan, it might look calm on the outside, but the feet are going mad underneath. But I try not to get too involved in the emotional side because you can’t play good golf with too much emotion,” Ford said.

The 36-year-old also sank an enormous putt for birdie on the 13th, but then dropped a shot on the par-four 14th before coming to the clubhouse with pars.

Van Zyl has had to beat double knee-surgery and off-course travails in the last year and has done so in amazing fashion. The only ills that were worrying him on Saturday were judging the wind and reading the lines when putting.

Like his compatriot Fisher Junior, Van Zyl started his round with a birdie at the first and an eagle on the third, but he failed to build on that, only managing to post pars before he dropped a shot at the ninth. Birdies on the 10th and 12th holes were then followed by another run of pars.

“I got off to a flying start, but then I battled to see the lines from 13 on. I was rolling the ball nicely and I gave myself lots of opportunities, but I was always wondering about the lines. Anyway, I’m really enjoying being in the mix,” Van Zyl said.

The other leading South African, Erik van Rooyen, was undone by three bogeys on the front nine and was on six-under after a 74.

Morten Orum Madsen, the 2014 SA Open champion, was the other big mover on the third day, shooting a 64 to climb to 10-under par with Jorge Campillo, John Parry and Edoardo de la Riva, but the brilliance of Fisher Junior meant the Dane was six shots off the pace.

 

Many mountains to climb for the Stormers 0

Posted on October 12, 2015 by Ken

 

 

The Stormers have higher, far more treacherous mountains to climb than the picturesque hill near Newlands on Saturday. Ranked against them will be a crocked list that is as long as a teamsheet, their fans and the Reds – a side that has a strong pack and a potent attacking backline.

Oh, and if they lose there’s the possible purgatory of a promotion/relegation match against the Lions to look forward to.

Stormers supporters, their emotions coloured by all the recent success their team has enjoyed, are fearing the worst as their team take on the Reds in a crunch Vodacom SuperRugby encounter at Newlands on Saturday.

Coach Allister Coetzee, who delivered a long-awaited Currie Cup triumph last year as well as making the Stormers the most consistent South African team in SuperRugby over the last three years, is suddenly under enormous pressure after three successive losses overseas and a last-place finish in the Conference and an embarrassing – and potentially devastating – promotion/relegation match against the Lions now a possibility.

And to make matters worse, Coetzee now has to steer his side back to winning ways with a number of key players out injured.

Schalk Burger, Deon Carstens, De Kock Steenkamp, Michael Rhodes, Peter Grant, Jaco Taute and Ruan Botha have all been long-term injury losses, but in the last couple of weeks the coach has had to add Pat Cilliers, Frans Malherbe, Scarra Ntubeni, Deon Fourie, Andries Bekker, Rynhardt Elstadt, Duane Vermeulen and Juan de Jongh to the crocked list.

And so the Stormers go into the match against the Reds, a side that has a strong pack of forwards and a potent attacking backline, with several inexperienced SuperRugby campaigners trying to protect a six-point lead over the Southern Kings.

Damian de Allende, Nizaam Carr, Don Armand and Gerbrandt Grobler are all in the starting line-up despite still trying to find their feet at this level, and there are even more fresh faces on the bench with Martin Bezuidenhout, Chris Heiberg, Lions import Marius Coetzer, Rohan Kitshoff and Gary van Aswegen charged with making an impact.

One man who is not scared of all this youthfulness, however, is Stormers and Springbok captain Jean de Villiers.

“We have new players coming in and that’s exciting as it means there are players being presented with opportunities to stake a claim. I spoke to Chris Heiberg, a club player, and asked him if he would ever have dreamed he would be playing SuperRugby for the Stormers this year.

“This is his chance to play himself into the mix as a professional rugby player, it really is a big opportunity for him, and he is not the only player who is in that position this week. That is why I am excited about this team,” said De Villiers.

But most neutrals would agree that the Reds will probably offer more excitement on Saturday and flyhalf Quade Cooper could be a man on a mission after he was left out of the initial Wallabies squad to play the British & Irish Lions.

While the Stormers are battling just to stay off the bottom of the Conference, the Bulls are at the other end of the scale and could make themselves basically unopposed for the top spot if they beat the Sharks in Durban and the Cheetahs lose to the Kings in Port Elizabeth.

The Sharks will no doubt be relieved to be back at King’s Park after a torrid tour left them 10th on the log, but a misfiring attack makes one wonder how they are actually going to hurt the Bulls should the forward exchanges go their way.

Wing Piet Lindeque is now at outside centre after the Sharks lost yet another Springbok to injury in JP Pietersen, but the Bulls have often suffered at the hands of Pat Lambie and the incumbent Springbok flyhalf will be eager to build on the slowly-improving form he showed overseas.

The talk in Durban is that the Bulls are in for another of the Sharks’ surprises as the announced team is rumoured not to be the one that will take the field. The experience of Bismarck du Plessis and Butch James could yet feature on the teamsheet, even though coach John Plumtree did not announce them in the 22-man squad, saying that the injuries that have kept them out of the whole campaign thus far were still not quite right.

Be that as it may, the Sharks, with Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira back at loosehead prop, have the pack to match the Bulls. The lineouts will be an especially tough arena of battle as Franco van der Merwe and Pieter-Steph du Toit go up against Juandré Kruger and Flip van der Merwe; the quartet are all in the plans of Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

Keegan Daniel, who showed his character by leading the Sharks to victory over the Western Force after a horrible week for him personally, is another who usually lifts his game against the Bulls and he will have top-class flanks alongside him in Willem Alberts and Marcell Coetzee.

But the Bulls are a settled, confident and in-form side and a tight contest is tailor-made for Morné Steyn to play a match-winning hand.

The exciting Francois Hougaard gets a second chance to start at scrumhalf after a disappointing outing last weekend, but it’s the strategic brilliance of Steyn that is more likely to win the Bulls a tough derby contest.

Another vastly experienced stalwart returns in Wynand Olivier and he will form a steely defensive alliance with JJ Engelbrecht in midfield, which will be vital as the Sharks are likely to base their attack around Lambie and big forwards Alberts, Coetzee, Mtawarira and Du Toit running off him.

The Southern Kings have already done enough this season to suggest most people would like to see them around in SuperRugby for more than just one year, but they have the opportunity on Saturday to make themselves most unpopular with their predecessors as everyone’s favourite underdogs – the Cheetahs.

The Cheetahs are firmly in contention for Conference honours but they are six points behind the Bulls, so defeat in Port Elizabeth and a victory for the visitors in Durban could leave them 10 points behind. And the Bulls have a game in hand.

The Kings are coming off a bye and have pretty much returned to full strength. SP Marais, a wonderful attacker with pace, vision and skill, comes in at fullback and has the talent to be the Eastern Cape’s answer to Willie le Roux.

And the less subtle talents of the formidable Jacques Engelbrecht are also just waiting to be unleashed on the Cheetahs from the bench.

Where the Cheetahs could have an edge is up front, in the set-pieces, where former Springbok great Os du Randt has proven to be a brilliant mentor.

“I think we have done really well the last couple of weeks in the scrums and lineouts,” Cheetahs captain Adriaan Strauss said. “The guys have worked really hard and much of the credit must go to Os du Randt for his efforts with the forwards. We will have to take the Kings on up front and are looking forward to the challenge.”

If the Cheetahs get enough forward dominance, they can aim for the four-try bonus point because one fancies the Bulls aren’t going to get one in the cauldron of King’s Park.

But as big Os has surely pointed out, the Kings are a proud bunch, they will be refreshed and confident after their great debut season thus far, and they’re certainly not going to lie down and just allow the Cheetahs to run riot.

Teams

Southern Kings (v Cheetahs, Saturday 15:00): SP Marais, Siyanda Grey, Ronnie Cooke, Andries Strauss, Marcello Sampson, Demetri Catrakilis, Shaun Venter, Cornell du Preez, Luke Watson, Wimpie van der Walt, David Bulbring, Steven Sykes, Kevin Buys, Bandise Maku, Schalk Ferreira. Replacements: Virgile Lacombe, Grant Kemp, Rynier Bernardo, Jacques Engelbrecht, Nicolas Vergallo, Shane Gates, George Whitehead.

Cheetahs (v Southern Kings, Saturday 15:00): Hennie Daniller, Rayno Benjamin, Johann Sadie, Robert Ebersohn, Willie le Roux, Elgar Watts, Piet van Zyl, Philip van der Walt, Lappies Labuschagné, Heinrich Brüssow, Francois Uys, Lood de Jager, Lourens Adriaanse, Adriaan Strauss, Coenie Oosthuizen. Replacements: Ryno Barnes, Trevor Nyakane, Ligtoring Landman, Boom Prinsloo, Sarel Pretorius, Riaan Smit, Raymond Rhule.

Stormers (v Reds, Saturday 17:05): Joe Pietersen, Gio Aplon, Jean de Villiers, Damian de Allende, Bryan Habana, Elton Jantjies, Louis Schreuder, Nizaam Carr, Don Armand, Siya Kolisi, Eben Etzebeth, Gerbrandt Grobler, Brok Harris, Tiaan Liebenberg, Steven Kitshoff. Replacements: Martin Bezuidenhout, Chris Heiberg, Marius Coetzer, Rohan Kitshoff, Dewaldt Duvenage, Gary van Aswegen, Gerhard van den Heever.

The Sharks (v Bulls, Saturday 19:10pm): Riaan Viljoen, Odwa Ndungane, Piet Lindeque, Meyer Bosman, Lwazi Mvovo, Pat Lambie, Charl McLeod, Keegan Daniel, Willem Alberts, Marcell Coetzee, Franco van der Merwe, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Jannie du Plessis, Kyle Cooper, Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: Monde Hadebe, Wiehahn Herbst, Jandré Marais, Jean Deysel, Lubabalo Mtembu, Tian Meyer, Sean Robinson.

Bulls (v Sharks, Saturday 19:10): Jürgen Visser, Akona Ndungane, JJ Engelbrecht, Wynand Olivier, Bjorn Basson, Morné Steyn, Francois Hougaard, Pierre Spies, Dewald Potgieter, Deon Stegmann, Juandré Kruger, Flip van der Merwe, Frik Kirsten, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Dean Greyling. Replacements: Willie Wepener, Werner Kruger, Grant Hattingh, Arno Botha, Jano Vermaak, Louis Fouché/Jan Serfontein, Lionel Mapoe.

Other fixtures: Chiefs v Crusaders (Friday 9:35); Rebels v Waratahs (Friday 11:40); Blues v Brumbies (Saturday 9:35); Force v Highlanders (Saturday 11:40).

Bye: Hurricanes.

http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2013-05-24-superrugby-preview-in-the-eye-of-a-storm/#.Vhucxvmqqkp

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