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Ken Borland

WP call into service 2 bright talents to secure strong advantage 0

Posted on February 29, 2024 by Ken

Daniel Smith & Gavin Kaplan forged the key partnership for Western Province on the second day of the CSA 4-Day Series final against the Central Gauteng Lions at the Wanderers.

Western Province called into service the talents of two of their brighter prospects on Thursday as they claimed a strong advantage after the first innings of the CSA 4-Day Series final against the Central Gauteng Lions at the Wanderers.

With 26-year-old Gavin Kaplan and 21-year-old Daniel Smith both scoring 60, Western Province made 312 all out, to lead by 87 runs, and by stumps on the second day they had already reduced the Lions to 10 for two in their second innings.

Having sent the Lions crashing to 35 for five and eventually dismissing them for 225 on the first day, Western Province resumed on Thursday on 49 without loss. And even though they lost the wicket of Eddie Moore, the previous evening’s aggressor falling to Tshepo Moreki’s short-ball assault for 45, the first hour certainly belonged to the visitors as they reached 118 for one.

But the Lions fought back valiantly, with Moreki adding the wickets of Proteas batsmen Tony de Zorzi (51) and Kyle Verreynne (14) as WP slipped to 158 for four shortly after lunch.

That brought Kaplan, playing just his 10th Division I innings, and Smith, in his 14th game at this level, together with WP still 67 behind. Crucially, the home team dropped both of them early in their innings.

Kaplan was missed in the gully, a sharpish chance, by Josh Richards off Codi Yusuf on 10, and Smith was on three when he edged Moreki to wicketkeeper Ryan Rickelton, who had the ball in both gloves but it somehow squirmed out.

Kaplan and Smith proceeded to add 87 for the fifth wicket, putting WP in front. Kaplan was full of defiance, but plenty of fine strokes as well, as his 60 came off 122 balls and included 10 fours. The left-hander Smith showed his potential as he also batted with great determination, his 60 coming off 117 deliveries, with eight fours. When he was dismissed, trapped lbw after missing a peculiar little paddle-pull at left-arm spinner Bjorn Fortuin, Western Province already led by 61.

Crucially, the Lions used spinners Fortuin and part-time offie Dominic Hendricks to claim three important wickets just before they called on the second new ball – Smith and Mihlali Mpongwana (28) falling to Fortuin and Hendricks trapping Kyle Simmonds (7) lbw for just his second first-class wicket.

Moreki then made it a memorable day for himself as he claimed the last two wickets with just 11 runs added to register his first five-wicket haul in first-class cricket. For someone who already has a hat-trick in the book and is a Test cricketer, it was a surprising career-best. But five for 65 in 18.3 overs was a just reward for finding the right length on this excellent Wanderers pitch, getting the ball to skid through and sometimes bounce well, with a bit of movement, from just back of a length.

Having fought back well, the last half-an-hour of the second day was immensely frustrating for the Lions.

Within the space of four balls, Hendricks (6) edged a wild drive far outside off-stump, Smith taking a good catch at first slip off Mthiwekhaya Nabe, and Josh Richards (2) then no doubt bemused his coaching staff by batting on off-stump but then stepping outside off and trying to play an away-swinger from Dane Paterson, presenting an easy catch to wicketkeeper Verreynne.

With the WP bowlers now rampant, Zubayr Hamza and Moreki had to survive a torrid few overs before stumps, which they managed while adding just two singles to the total.

The Lions will have to rediscover their roar with the bat in a big way on the third day if they are to stop Western Province from continuing their triumphant march through this season.

I don’t normally ascribe too much importance to the toss, but … 0

Posted on February 28, 2024 by Ken

Dane Paterson enjoyed a stellar opening day of the CSA 4-Day Series final with the ball at the Wanderers.

I don’t normally like to ascribe too much importance to the toss, but there is no doubt Western Province calling correctly on the first morning of the CSA 4-Day Series final against the Central Gauteng Lions at the Wanderers has turned out to be a big advantage for the visitors.

Having sent the Lions in to bat in heavily overcast conditions, WP backed it up with excellent bowling and an astonishing first 100 minutes saw the hosts crash to 35 for five. That the Lions eventually made it to 225 all out was thanks to fringe player Delano Potgieter showing what a useful cricketer he is by scoring 81, and their batting depth as the left-hander shared crucial partnerships with Wiaan Mulder (41) and Codi Yusuf (34).

Despite the rearguard action, WP were in no mood to allow the initiative to slip and Eddie Moore capped a great day for the Capetonians with a dominating 35 not out off 31 balls that took them to 49 without loss at stumps.

To be fair, it was not just a case of winning the toss and bowling first and dominating for WP. With the weather forecast predicting very hot weather and the pitch likely to dry out and crack (there was turn on day one for Kyle Simmonds), batting last will be tough as well. WP captain Kyle Verreynne admitted the decision was difficult when he said at the toss: “I was going to bat first but when I saw the floodlights were on I decided to bowl.”

There was a tinge of green on the pitch on the first morning and, with the overhead conditions, there was swing on offer. But credit to the WP bowlers, especially Dane Paterson, who found exactly the right areas of prime real estate on the pitch to cause major problems for the Lions top-order.

Paterson turns 35 in little over a month, but he does not look like retirement is on his horizon. And, after all, he has just returned from playing Test cricket for the Proteas in New Zealand, taking three for 39 in the second Test as South African gained a first-innings lead in Hamilton.

Lions openers Josh Richards and Dominic Hendricks seemed to have negotiated the first five-and-a-half overs comfortably enough, but then Paterson struck.

Richards found himself across his stumps and trapped lbw by an inswinger and the next delivery had Zubayr Hamza caught in the slips via a loose drive that seemed more appropriate for a game of garden cricket than a prestige final.

At the end of his next over, Paterson claimed the considerable scalp of the regular Proteas Test captain, Temba Bavuma, for a two-ball duck. Having survived the hat-trick ball, Bavuma could not have done much more with his second delivery, defending compactly on off-stump, but a beautiful away-swinger moved just enough to find the edge and wicketkeeper Verreynne took a fine one-handed catch diving in front of first slip.

Captain Hendricks survived for the first 45 minutes, before edging Beuran Hendricks to Verreynne and when Ryan Rickelton (9) edged Mihlali Mpongwana into the slips playing a loose punch outside off-stump when a leave would have been better in that situation, the Lions top-order had folded quicker than the origami world champion.

Mulder, enjoying a marvellous season with the bat, helped Potgieter to restore some balance, adding 77 for the sixth wicket before he also edged Mpongwana into the slips.

When Bjorn Fortuin, trying an overly-ambitious drive, was caught behind in the same over, the Lions had crashed to 112 for seven. But Potgieter played an inspired innings, his 81 coming off just 106 deliveries with 12 fours and a six.

His aggression paid off and his determination kept the Lions in the game, especially since the sun came out in the afternoon and batting definitely is becoming easier, at least until the back end of this five-day match.

The last pair of Malusi Siboto (32) and Tshepo Moreki (8*) then sat in for over an hour to stretch the total towards respectability.

All-rounder Mpongwana eventually ended the innings to finish with four for 41 in 15 overs, an admirable foil for Paterson, who finished with outstanding figures of 16-8-31-5.

With Moore and Tony de Zorzi (12*) then starting the WP innings so well, in terms of dominant positions, the visitors are definitely enjoying a front-seater.

Jake has a little grouse: SA Rugby should remove the cap 0

Posted on May 23, 2023 by Ken

Bulls director of rugby Jake White has always been an outspoken commentator on the affairs of the game and he had a little grouse this week at what he sees as an unfair advantage for the European teams he is now competing against in the Champions Cup.

If White were not such a shrewd practitioner of mind games, a master of motivating his players, often saying one thing in public and telling his team the opposite, his comments about South African teams not being able to win the Champions Cup could be seen as really defeatist talk.

White justified his decision to send his second-stringers to England to take on Premiership big guns Exeter Chiefs on Saturday by pointing out that next Friday night, they have a crucial United Rugby Championship match against the Stormers in Cape Town and the travel arrangements made it well-nigh impossible for him to field his best XV in both matches.

White said: “I would like to do well in both competitions, but I am a realist. To win the Champions Cup, on three consecutive weekends you have to beat teams like Toulouse, Leicester Tigers and La Rochelle.

“Do we have the squads in South Africa that can do that away from home, because of the participation agreement? If you believe we do then you are either disconnected from reality or you believe our teams are going to get very lucky.”

The well-travelled World Cup winning coach said the biggest cause of an uneven playing field is the massive financial resources available to the European clubs. According to White, the French and English clubs have budget of around R180 million to pay their players, while SA Rugby has put a cap on our teams’ spending, at only R70 million.

Okay we can accept that the European clubs will always be richer than our teams simply because of the effect our decidedly mediocre economy has on the exchange rate. But perhaps SA Rugby should lift their player cap restrictions, especially with equity partners now having come into the local game.

Apart from the lesser budget available to him, White has also been banging on for some time about the number of South Africans playing overseas, saying the Springboks should only choose locally-based players in order to stop this player drain.

But it was exactly that restriction that plunged Springbok rugby into mediocrity in the previous decade; why do you think one of the first things Rassie Erasmus did when he became national coach was to do away with the locally-based rule he had enforced on Allister Coetzee when acting as director of rugby.

And White also needs to be a realist in accepting that for many players, the massive salaries they can earn overseas are worth taking oneself out of national contention for.

But if SA Rugby decides salary caps are not the correct way to go, that would at least halt some of the player exits.

The good news is that some excellent players have already turned their backs on overseas deals – Eben Etzebeth is one of the biggest global stars, able to command practically any fee, and he is inspiring the Sharks, while Rohan Janse van Rensburg swopped the Sale Sharks for the Durban variety.

Marco van Staden was lured back from Leicester Tigers to play for the Bulls, while Johan Goosen, Lionel Mapoe, Harold Vorster, Cyle Brink, Jacques du Plessis and Nizaam Carr are all the sort of quality players who really boost the strength of local rugby.

The Stormers have nabbed a player of similarly experienced ilk in Juan de Jongh and the Lions have brought back fellow Springboks Willem Alberts, Jaco Kriel and Ruan Dreyer.

Venter keeps the door closed on his rivals as he shoots 69 0

Posted on October 05, 2022 by Ken

PRETORIA, Gauteng – Albert Venter led by four strokes after the first round of the SunBet Challenge hosted by Time Square Casino at the Wingate Park Country Club and the 26-year-old ensured he kept the door closed on his rivals in Thursday’s second round as he posted a solid three-under-par 69 to stretch that advantage to five strokes.

Venter will head into the final round on 12-under-par for the tournament, having shot a brilliant 63 in the first round.

There was a blustery wind in Pretoria on Thursday, just the sort of conditions in which a golfer could blow a lead on the hard and fast greens of Wingate Park, and Venter began his round cautiously, being level-par, with a birdie and a bogey, through his first eight holes.

But he was then able to tear around the turn with three birdies in the next four holes. Six straight pars coming in on the front nine completed a round which could only be considered a success.

“The wind picked up a lot today so my first few holes were not too bad. It was definitely trickier today to figure out which way it was blowing. Because the course is tree-lined, it swirls around a bit,” Venter said.

“There were quite difficult decisions to make over which irons to play. But we predicted the wind would pick up and the plan was to get my score as low as possible to build a bit of a cushion.

“Thankfully I kept my head in the game and managed to get a decent score. I can’t control what the other golfers do, but I am in a really good position,” Venter said.

On a hard day to shoot a really low score, Estiaan Conradie (69) and Jean Hugo (68) have done really well to position themselves as Venter’s closest challengers, on seven-under-par.

Luke Brown produced the round of the day, a 66 that included seven birdies to join Ruan Korb (70) on six-under for the tournament.

Venter won the Zimbabwe Open in May for his maiden Sunshine Tour title and will be able to learn from that experience in Friday’s final round.

“The big thing about winning is trying to get into those positions more and more, trying to get used to the atmosphere and nerves you face on the final day,” the Silver Lakes golfer said.

“I’ve been in quite a few situations like that in the last few years, although I wouldn’t say I’m experienced. But I’ve been in the situation before and I know how to deal with the nerves and the adrenaline.

“I can’t get ahead of myself, I have to stay patient and stick to my guns,” Venter said.

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    Persevere in your service as Christ did – through obstacles, disappointment and adversity, and never give up hope.

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