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Ken Borland



Keeping aggressive attitude leads to untroubled win for Shubhankar 0

Posted on December 14, 2017 by Ken

 

Shubhankar Sharma, the winner of the weather-disrupted Joburg Open at Randpark Golf Club on Monday, said he worked hard on keeping an aggressive attitude on the course and, as a consequence, the rising Indian star never looked in trouble as he sealed a three-shot victory on 23-under-par.

The tri-sanctioned tournament had to be completed on Monday morning due to the fourth afternoon being almost entirely washed out, and it made for an anxious wait for Shubhankar, who led by four shots overnight.

“I obviously did not sleep last night, I woke up four times, every couple of hours, because it was raining so hard. There were a lot of nerves beforehand, absolutely, because if you are chasing then you have nothing to lose, but if you are leading then you can only maintain that.

“But I was really calm once I got going, I just stuck to my game-plan and kept saying to myself to be aggressive, I never wanted to defend my lead. I set myself a target of finishing 25-under, but 23-under will do. I just kept imagining that I was three shots back,” Shubhankar said after his first victory outside of India.

As impeccable as his golf was – the accuracy of Shubhankar’s driving was particularly impressive – the standout feature of the 21-year-old’s tournament was his composure and he obviously has a very good head on his shoulders, showing maturity beyond his years.

While having one of the hottest putters in the 240-man field obviously helped a great deal in accumulating 26 birdies over the week, the absence of bogeys in his last three rounds is what pleased Shubhankar most.

“I hit the ball good and putted very well, but the up-and-downs I made the whole week were very crucial. Those par-saves get your round going and I made vital pars on 10, 13 and 15 today. Not having any bogeys was one of my main objectives today and not dropping any shots over the last three days is what makes me most happy, that’s good golf and the best part of my win,” he said.

Shubhankar resumed his round on the eighth hole on Monday and the looming presence of South African Erik van Rooyen meant he could not relax, even after birdieing the par-four ninth hole from 25 feet.

Van Rooyen shot a brilliant 66 to finish second, but Shubhankar notched pars all the way home to ensure he did not provide a back door for the chaser to slip through.

Van Rooyen said he was “really proud” of his effort but “I just could not squeeze any more birdies the way I wanted to”.

Fellow South African Shaun Norris also had plenty of reasons to smile as he roared through the field with a 65 to finish tied for third with Finland’s Tapio Pulkkanen (68). Both Van Rooyen and Norris, who pipped Pulkkanen due to his better world ranking, qualified to join Shubhankar at next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

https://citizen.co.za/sport/south-africa-sport/sa-golf-sport/1755454/it-pays-off-to-be-aggressive-says-joburg-open-winner-sharma/

Tight players could make the difference for Cheetahs in playoff 0

Posted on June 08, 2016 by Ken

 

All eyes will be on the Cheetahs this Sunday in their Vodacom SuperRugby qualifying playoff against the Brumbies in Canberra. Poor weather notwithstanding, the Cheetahs may have to rely on other team members to win this game.

The likes of Willie le Roux and Piet van Zyl have stolen the limelight as far as the Cheetahs go this season. But front-rankers like Coenie Oosthuizen and Lourens Adriaanse and new Springbok Trevor Nyakane, and locks Lood de Jager and Ligtoring Landman could have more impact on their Vodacom SuperRugby qualifying playoff against the Brumbies.

Much has been made of the Cheetahs supposedly being the most flamboyant of sides and playing the most running rugby of the South African sides, but coach Naka Drotské has put their best season ever down to improved defence and greater experience.

Brumbies coach Jake White is not buying the popular view of the South African side either.

“There’s this perception, it is funny how it works, that certain teams score a lot of tries and they run from everywhere,” said White.

“It’s not the case at all. I think the Cheetahs are probably one of the most conservative teams in the competition. They kick a lot, they let you play in your own half, and if you make a mistake then they pounce.”

White’s strategy to nullify the Cheetahs will be simple: he will be searching for momentum and front-foot ball and will want to dominate the collisions. But for that to happen, the Brumbies will have to secure good ball from the set-pieces and this is where a window of opportunity presents itself for the Cheetahs.

Oosthuizen and Nyakane both played for the Springboks this year and Adriaanse was an unused squad member, so the Cheetahs scrum should provide a stern test for the Brumbies. They will rely heavily on the experience of their tighthead, Ben Alexander, and hooker Stephen Moore, who have played 51 and 79 times respectively for the Wallabies.

The lineouts also provide a key area for the teams to launch from and De Jager, one of the finds of the season, and Landman, the admirable journeyman, will back themselves against Scott Fardy and Sam Carter.

The Cheetahs hid away at Coogee Beach outside Sydney for the build-up to the game and the ice-cold weather in Canberra, with even the possibility of snow being mentioned in the Australian capital, would have been something of a shock for them.

But they are expecting a hot reception on Sunday morning and the violence of the collisions will not be for the faint-hearted.

Since the start of the season, their loose trio of Lappies Labuschagne, Philip van der Walt and Heinrich Brüssow have been outstanding and they will also be key figures in Sunday’s knockout match.

The Brumbies have not made the SuperRugby playoffs since winning the competition in 2004, but the presence of George Smith in their line-up provides a link to their glory days.

The fetcher flank has not always been a favourite of White, the coach who took the Springboks to World Cup glory in 2007, but the clash between Smith and Brüssow will be one of the features of the game.

The openside flanks do also, however, rely on their fellow forwards providing front-foot ball or stopping opponents on the gain-line, as do the backs.

The pace and power of the Brumbies back three of Henry Speight, Joe Tomane and Jesse Mogg will seriously test the Cheetahs defence if they are allowed the space to run free, while the centre pairing of Christian Lealiifano and Tevita Kuridrani is the perfect mix of guile and brute force.

But the Cheetahs also have the backline players to hurt the Brumbies … whether the SuperRugby surprise packets will get to enjoy a successful uprising in the Australian capital will all come back to their forwards though.

If the Cheetahs manage to upset the Brumbies, it will ensure that the Bulls will host the winner of the Crusaders/Reds playoff next weekend.

The Reds will be hoping that the return of Will Genia and James Horwill will lift them after their poor performance last weekend that saw them just scrape by the Waratahs 14-12 in a game that they really should have lost.

But the Reds have beaten all other New Zealand opposition this season and coach Ewen McKenzie, who has been appointed as the new Wallabies coach for mostly that reason, will want to ensure that he bags the biggest scalp of them all in Christchurch on Saturday.

The Crusaders, however, are probably the form team of the competition and the four-match winning streak they are on includes the phenomenal 43-15 dismantling of the defending champion Chiefs a fortnight ago.

The Reds will not only have to overcome the seven-time champions at their home fortress, but also see off the talents of Dan Carter and Richie McCaw.

The All Blacks flyhalf has, typically, peaked at the business end of the competition, while the New Zealand captain has been named on the bench.

The Reds have not been as dazzling this year as their reputation suggests – and the absence of star wings Rod Davies and Digby Ioane on Saturday will hurt them further in this regard.

The 2011 champions have scored just 31 tries, which puts them in the bottom four, while the Crusaders have scored 44 tries, which puts them in the top three.

http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2013-07-19-superrugby-chilly-weather-could-put-cheetahs-on-the-back-foot/#.V1lZwbt97IU

Life’s a risk for Sam Cane 0

Posted on October 15, 2014 by Ken

Life’s a risk for All Blacks flank Sam Cane, not only because he is the archetypal opensider who is constantly living on the edge of the law, but also because he backs his team to move the ball around whatever the weather.

While much of this Rugby Championship has been played in poor weather conditions, Saturday’s crunch encounter with the Springboks should be played in dry conditions on a fast Ellis Park surface, and Cane is clearly looking forward to a more enjoyable game and better spectacle.

“We’re always pretty excited if we get to go out and play with a dry ball, but we like to think we can play in all conditions. We like to be expansive and we back ourselves to do that even in the wet,” Cane said upon the All Blacks’ arrival at their Sandton hotel yesterday.

The breakdowns will obviously be a key area on Saturday and Cane said the potential loss of eighthman Duane Vermeulen, who has injured a rib cartilage, would be huge for the Springboks.

“Duane has taken his game to a whole new level this year, his presence at the breakdown is massive. He’s a big man, but he gets low and he’s hard to move, plus he’s a good carrier as well with some skill. Plus last week the Springboks had Schalk Burger on the bench!” Cane said.

Knights being hampered by the weather against Lions 0

Posted on March 08, 2014 by Ken

The Knights batsmen are being hampered by the weather in Johannesburg as they dominated the Highveld Lions on the second day of their domestic four-day series match at the Wanderers on Friday.

Having seen the entire first day lost due to a wet pitch, play only started at 12.20pm on Friday with the Knights being sent in to bat.

They cruised to 193 for two before bad light stopped play at 4.50pm with 20.2 overs still scheduled to be bowled on the second day.

The Lions attack are being punished for wayward bowling as the Knights put together solid partnerships of 58, 88 and 47 runs unbeaten, to grab control of the clash between the teams that are second and third on the log.

Opener Reeza Hendricks made 62 before he drove a Hardus Viljoen half-volley straight to extra cover and Rilee Rossouw rammed home the Knights’ advantage in the late afternoon with 67 not out off 130 balls.

Medium-pacer Brett Pelser made the other breakthrough for the Lions on a disappointing day for them, ending an opening stand of 58 between Hendricks and Gihahn Cloete by having the latter caught behind for 33.

Rudi Second is with Rossouw at the crease on 28 not out and the pair have added 47 runs for the third wicket in 77 minutes.

The Dolphins are in control of their match against the Warriors in East London after bowling the home side out for 240.

The Dolphins made 339 in their first innings for a lead of 99 runs, which they stretched to 133 by stumps as they reached 34 for one in their second innings.

Unorthodox left-arm spinner Tabraiz Shamsi, brought in for his first match of the campaign, was the chief destroyer for the Dolphins, claiming five for 68 in 21 overs, while young Daryn Dupavillon took three for 43.

The Warriors innings started solidly with Michael Price (28) and the in-form David White (35) adding 54 for the first wicket.

But White was then bowled by the orthodox left-arm spin of Keshav Maharaj and the Warriors only had one other partnership of significance as captain Ashwell Prince (36) and Colin Ingram (54*) added 65 for the fourth wicket.

But Shamsi made the breakthrough and then he and Dupavillon ran through the lower-order, leaving Ingram as the last man standing.

The Titans were kept afloat in their first innings of their match against the Cape Cobras at Boland Park in Paarl by Graeme van Buuren, the diminutive 23-year-old scoring 83 not out to lead them to 183 for four at stumps.

Replying to the Cobras’ first innings of 429, the Titans were in early trouble as they slipped to 21 for two, but Van Buuren united with skipper Henry Davids (41) and then Qaasim Adams (32) to dig the visitors out of trouble.

The Titans bowlers had been in all sorts of states of disarray on the first day, as shown by the 43 extras they conceded as the Cobras reached 345 for five, but they fought back well on Friday to claim the last five wickets for 84 runs.

Junior Dala rebounded well from a horrible first day as he took two wickets, and leg-spinner Shaun von Berg ran through the tail to take four for 102 in 30 overs.

The highly-rated Vincent Moore took three for 67, knocking over three of the top four batsmen.

Dane Vilas (77) and Justin Kemp (42) took their overnight stand to 53 on Friday morning, but the Cobras would have wanted more runs from the lower-order.

Rory Kleinveldt asked plenty of questions with the ball for the Cobras and Heino Kuhn, bowled for a duck by the fifth ball of the innings, and Davids, trapped lbw, did not have the answers.

The Cobras have picked up 6.08 bonus points so far, stretching their lead on the log to nearly 10 points over the Knights.

The Cobras are on 81.10 points, the Knights on 71.22 and the third-placed Dolphins are on 66.86 points.

http://www.iol.co.za/sport/cricket/domestic/weather-hampers-dominant-knights-1.1658235

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