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Ken Borland

Teams try to ignore altitude at Loftus, but summer heat is 1 factor they can’t brush off 0

Posted on April 11, 2022 by Ken

Many teams coming to Loftus Versfeld these days try to ignore the effects of altitude, but one factor the Bulls are hoping Munster are not able to brush aside in their United Rugby Championship clash in Pretoria on Saturday is the late afternoon heat of a summer’s day.

Kick-off on Saturday is at 4.05pm and, judging by the weather forecast for Pretoria this week, the temperature could still be a warm 28°, a far cry from the 7° Munster was shivering in on Monday.

“We hope the conditions at home will give us a bit of an advantage,” Bulls flyhalf Chris Smith said on Monday. “The coastal teams battle with altitude here and hopefully the sun is out on Saturday.

“Hopefully it’s cooking for the 4pm kickoff and that heat could actually be more important for us than the altitude. We hope we can chase them around the field with the sun beaming down.

“We want to make them tired and then hopefully the game will open up a bit later on. But it’s going to be a good challenge for us, to measure ourselves against top players in the URC,” Smith said.

It’s a big sporting week for the Smith family, with Chris’s teenage brother Daniel scoring his maiden first-class century for the Western Province cricket team. The 27-year-old Chris Smith is a key figure in the Bulls side at present, with Morne Steyn suspended and Johan Goosen out injured, and he has enjoyed very good outings against both Zebre in Parma and Griquas in Kimberley.

“I’ve definitely felt the pressure because I’ve mostly played off the bench for the last two years, I have not played many full 80s,” Smith said. “But I see it more as an opportunity.

“It’s more the pressure I’m putting on myself to make use of this opportunity than any external pressure.

“I’ve been working on playing more flat and being more in the defence’s faces. I do tend to hang back a bit, I sometimes rely more on my passing game than my running game,” Smith said.

SA hockey looks forward to putting aside mixed fortunes against top opposition 0

Posted on March 03, 2022 by Ken

South African captain Keenan Horne is looking forward to his team putting aside the mixed fortunes they have had against top opposition and performing with more consistency against them in the FIH Hockey Pro League that gets underway in Potchefstroom from Tuesday.

The home side are missing a couple of key players as they take on the Netherlands, India, France and Germany in the South African leg of the league this month. The Dutch, the Indians and the Germans are all powerhouses of the game, although they have come to Potchefstroom with some new players as they begin preparations for the World Cup in a year’s time.

South Africa were 3-0 up against the Netherlands in last year’s Olympic Games, before losing 5-3, but they did pull off a famous 4-3 win over Germany, who were winners by the same scoreline in their previous meeting, which followed 6-2 and 6-1 wins in the two Tests before that.

India have beaten South Africa 5-1 and 5-0 in their last two engagements.

“Even if our primary aim is to grow the team, as a competitive player you always want to win,” Horne said on Monday. “We don’t always get the chance to play against teams in the top-eight and it’s usually in tough tournament conditions.

“So it is always great to get one of their scalps and we know we are able to do it. But we really need to build our consistency, what we really want is to be able to compete in every single game,” Horne said.

While South Africa will have home-ground advantage – Potchefstroom bringing heat and high-altitude into the equation – Horne said their opponents have shown the ability to adapt to different conditions.

“We’re coming up against really top teams who tour all around the world. So they play in all sorts of conditions and they are used to adjusting.

“But the altitude and heat will not be as difficult for us, so if it is an advantage we will take whatever we can get,” Horne said.

South Africa have certainly shown the ability to score goals – notching 11 in their three matches against Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands at the Olympics – but coach Garreth Ewing said they have to shore up their defence in the Pro League. Especially since they have a tough opening fixture against the Dutch at 8pm on Tuesday.

“The Netherlands are very skilful and gifted all around the field and it’s going to be a challenge for our defence. That’s our first focus, trying to get that right,” Ewing said.

Bavuma in touch with his female side 0

Posted on December 31, 2021 by Ken

Temba Bavuma said on Tuesday that putting aside the emotion and focusing on the situation in the present helped him cope with the heavy pressures of leading the Proteas at the T20 World Cup.

The relatively new South African white-ball captain has drawn widespread praise for his handling of the usual off-field issues that plagued the team as well as his deft hand on the field as the Proteas exceeded expectations by just missing out on the semifinals on nett run-rate, despite winning four of their five group games.

“There’s always some type of pressure around me and I’ve learnt ways to deal with it. I put aside the emotion and deal with the issue at hand,” Bavuma said.

“The Quinton de Kock situation all happened quite quickly and there wasn’t really any time to consult anyone. I had to weigh up both sides and express an opinion.

“Sometimes it’s best when you don’t have too much time to think about things, you just speak to the merits of the matter at hand and that means you’ll be more authentic.

“It was always going to be a big responsibility to be captain and the pressure and expectation at a World Cup comes from all angles. But I have seen a shift in the energy and I sense that the backing and support for me is now there,” Bavuma said.

The skipper acknowledged that all the off-field noise surrounding the Proteas does eat the players up inside, but in a classic case of make-or-break, he said it strengthened the bond between the players, which was expressed in their never-say-die performances on the field.

“Matters off the field have put us under pressure, they have been challenging times but we have been able to get through them as a team. There were moments that could have broken us or pulled us together, and it turned out being more of the latter.

“I was put in a situation that was very hard to prepare for and I’m grateful that I got out of there. I now have a lot more confidence with the team in terms of trust and backing.

“I do believe we are in a better space as a team. We found a way to get together as a team and really fought for each other. That gave us the ability to play in those pressure moments, we did exceptionally well in those.

“There have been massive positives from this World Cup, even though we are now sitting at home watching on our screens, and we need to make sure we grow from strength-to-strength,” Bavuma said.

Proteas put aside misleading claims that they are at an all-time low with 3rd consecutive T20 series win 0

Posted on September 29, 2021 by Ken

The Proteas put aside all the misleading claims that their fortunes are at an all-time low as they hammered Sri Lanka by nine wickets with 35 balls to spare in Colombo on Sunday to clinch their third consecutive T20 series win.

In their final dress rehearsal before next month’s T20 World Cup in similar conditions in the United Arab Emirates, South Africa took an unbeatable 2-0 lead, winning both games comfortably. They will now go into the showpiece event with both a settled, confident team and a game-plan that is working.

Sri Lanka had won the toss and batted first, but paceman Anrich Nortje ended a fast and accurate second over by removing Dinesh Chandimal, mishitting a pull to mid-on, for just 5.

Although Kusal Perera (30 off 25) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa, who was particularly severe on ace fast bowler Kagiso Rabada in his 20 off 13 balls, swung lustily to add 28 for the second wicket in three overs, the Proteas kept taking wickets, with the spinners leading the way.

It was the part-timer, Aiden Markram, who made the breakthrough with Rajapaksa’s wicket, before Tabraiz Shamsi took wickets in successive overs to reduce Sri Lanka to 71 for four in the 10th over.

Markram then trapped Kusal lbw and the rest of the batting folded as Sri Lanka were bundled out for just 103, their lowest completed score against the Proteas.

Shamsi returned to his best after missing the mark in the first T20, taking three for 20 in four superb overs, while Markram did a brilliant job in taking three for 21 in four overs that included a maiden.

Orthodox left-armer Bjorn Fortuin returned the magnificent figures of two for 12 in four overs, while Keshav Maharaj chipped in with a wicket and was tidy as ever.

Quinton de Kock then killed off any aspirations Sri Lanka may have had of snatching a comeback win and dismissed all claims that he will be under-prepared for the World Cup as he cruised to 58 not out off 48 balls to steer South Africa to one of their most comprehensive victories ever in T20 Internationals.

De Kock collected seven fours as he unveiled the full array of his wonderful strokeplay, and his skill and placement was on full display as well.

South Africa’s charge to victory was delayed by rain after nine overs, with their score on 65 for one, but Aiden Markram (21* off 19) helped De Kock seal their biggest ever victory over Sri Lanka batting second. Reeza Hendricks scored a run-a-ball 18 adding 62 for the first wicket with De Kock.

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    Philemon 1:7 – “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.”

    “Every disciple of Jesus has a capacity for love. The most effective way to serve the Master is to share his love with others. Love can comfort, save the lost, and offer hope to those who need it. It can break down barriers, build bridges, establish relationships and heal wounds.” – A Shelter From The Storm, Solly Ozrovech

    If there’s a frustrating vacuum in your spiritual life and you fervently desire to serve the Lord but don’t know how you’re meant to do that, then start by loving others in his name.


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