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Ken Borland

One could tell Venter was poised for big things … and she delivers with Royal Cape win 0

Posted on June 07, 2024 by Ken

CAPE TOWN – Judging by her two previous appearances on the Sunshine Ladies Tour, one could tell young Gabrielle Venter was poised for big things and the 19-year-old duly delivered on Friday when she won the Standard Bank Ladies Open in a thrilling battle with the experienced Kylie Henry at Royal Cape Golf Club.

Venter had finished tied-fifth in the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am and second in the SuperSport Ladies Challenge earlier this season, and on Friday she showed her enormous talent and mettle by shooting a superb four-under-par 70 to finish on nine-under-par.

It was enough to overtake 37-year-old Henry, a two-time Ladies European Tour winner, who had led after the first two rounds but could only post a level-par 74 on the final day, finishing on eight-under.

While the victory might not have been a big surprise for followers of the Sunshine Ladies Tour, Venter said afterwards she had no inkling her maiden professional win was on the cards until she was on the 18th green.

“Honestly I was not focusing on the win at all because if you do that too much then you lose focus on the actual golf,” Venter said. “So I didn’t know what the scores were at all, I was just focused on my own game. I felt my game was in place to win, but if it didn’t happen then I would just wait for the next time.

“The first time I saw a scoreboard was when I was putting on 18, I missed the birdie putt and then you expect the best from your opponent and I was ready for a playoff with Kylie.”

While Henry had the misfortune to bogey the last two holes, she had played a full part in cultivating an exceptional final day in the R600 000 event. The Scotswoman recovered from a a double-bogey on the par-four first hole, while Venter made birdie to immediately catch up with the leader; Henry regained the sole lead with a birdie on the third hole and she matched Venter’s four on the par-five fifth.

The lead switched on the sixth hole, however, as Venter birdied the par-four and Henry dropped a shot. Both golfers birdied the par-five seventh, but they were level again when the Bloemfontein Golf Club representative three-putted the par-three eighth.

But she regained the lead with a birdie on the ninth, before Henry pulled level again with a birdie on the par-five 11th. Venter struck back with a birdie on the 12th, but another three-putt on a par-three followed as both golfers left the 13th green on nine-under-par.

Henry birdied the par-five 14th to lead again, but Venter’s birdie-bogey-par finish was enough to pip the Investec Order of Merit leader, who closed par-bogey-bogey.

While Venter’s pure ball-striking off the tee deserted her a bit in the closing stages, she made a lot of key putts and her short game was amazing. While the back nine was a little unkind to her, she showed impressive patience to pull off the win.

“It was quite a struggle on the back nine, but for the entire season my all-round game has been good. This win really means a lot to me because it puts me into a position to win the order of merit, which I really want to do.

“I will also take a lot of confidence into the co-sanctioned events – the SA Open and the Joburg Open – and I’ve learnt that every shot counts at this level. Now I know I can win here. This tour is a great tool to do well enough to be invited overseas and play against the best,” Venter said.

Emie Peronnin of France shared second with Henry after shooting a fantastic 70 that kept the pressure on the two leaders to not slip up.

Jake critical of budgetary imbalances & lucrative sale of SA players overseas 0

Posted on May 04, 2023 by Ken

Bulls coach Jake White was critical on Tuesday of the sale of South African rugby players for lucrative amounts to overseas clubs, pointing out that it is budgetary imbalances that have forced him to send a largely second-string outfit to do battle against the Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park in their second Champions Cup match.

White had been expected to bring back his big guns for the trip to south-west England, especially after his back-up players did such a superb job in beating Lyon at Loftus Versfeld last weekend. But the fact that the Bulls have to travel to Cape Town next week for a crucial United Rugby Championship clash with the Stormers, and it is a short week because they will only arrive back on Monday for a Friday night game, has led the coach to stick with the bulk of the side from last week.

“We’re playing against teams who have a budget of R180 million compared to our R70 million. The list goes on-and-on of Saffers doing really well overseas and if we could find ways of bringing them into our regional squads then we would be fighting a gunfight with a gun,” White said on Tuesday.

“So I will choose the same sort of team as last week, because we have to travel back on economy class and then go to Cape Town to play the Stormers next Friday night. We will only arrive back midday Monday.

“I’m not trying to take anything away from an Exeter side we respect, but we have to make sure we’re at our best against the Stormers. I would like to do well in both competitions, but I am a realist.

“There’s no way we can beat Exeter away and then the Stormers away in less than a full week. We can only use the resources we have, if we were playing the Stormers in a different week then I would definitely take other guys,” White said.

Sending a second-string outfit to Exeter is perhaps a shrewd move because it means there is no pressure on the Bulls, and the home side will know any slip-up will echo through the league and leave them possibly needing to beat White’s men at Loftus Versfeld in mid-January, which will be a tough ask.

The Stormers are also under pressure to win at home this weekend, due to their loss in France, meaning their leading Springboks might have to front up twice in seven days.

“Exeter will be a big test for us, they’re a great team full of internationals, but they will also know that they have to get it right, there’s no way they’ll be thinking it will be an easy outing,” White said.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for us, in front of a massive crowd, to experience again what it’s like in a pressure situation, that’s where we’ll grow as a group.

“I expect the team to just give it a fair crack, give it as good a go as we can. You often talk about it ‘not getting tougher than this’, but this time it genuinely can’t get tougher.

“But I expect us to roll up our sleeves and embrace the fact that it is tough, give it as good a shot as we can. Every time this group has been challenged, they have accepted it, and often achieved it,” White said.

Bulls Squad:Dylan Smith, Bismarck du Plessis, Sebastian Lombard, Reinhardt Ludwig, Janko Swanepoel, Nizaam Carr, Muller Uys, WJ Steenkamp, Bernard van der Linde, Morne Steyn, Stravino Jacobs, Carlton Bannies, Stedman Gans, Sibongile Novuka, Lizo Gqoboka, Joe van Zyl, Jacques van Rooyen, Merwe Olivier, Cameron Hanekom, Phumzile Maqondwana, Tielman Nieuwoudt, Keagan Johannes, Chris Smit, Niel le Roux, Kabelo Mokoena, Juan Mostert, Wandisile Simelane, Tian Lange.

Bavuma gets chance to prove SA20 snub was wrong next week 0

Posted on November 04, 2022 by Ken

In a week’s time, Temba Bavuma will lead the Proteas into battle in the first T20 of a three-match series against India at Thiruvananthapuram, giving him an early opportunity to strike back at all the doubters and prove that his omission from the SA20 squads was a mistake.

National white-ball captain Bavuma failed to muster a bid in three attempts at the auction in Cape Town, despite, or perhaps because of, going in with a reserve price of R850 000.

The shock snub led to practically all the franchise coaches being quizzed about just how the player who will lead South Africa into the T20 World Cup next month had managed to lose out on a spot in the six franchises to play in the SA20 next January.

They seemed as nonplussed as the media.

“Just because you’re a good player in South Africa, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to be recognised around the world,” was the telling comment from Durban Super Giants coach Lance Klusener when he was asked about the omission of Bavuma and Proteas all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo.

“I’m sure Temba and Andile feel the same as the other players who weren’t sold. But it was brutal out there and there was a lot of competition.”

MI Cape Town coach, Simon Katich, the former Australian batsman, also put Bavuma’s absence down to competition for places.

“It’s a tough one, but there are plenty of good players who missed out because there was a lot of competition. And there was a lot of overseas competition for certain spots,” Katich said.

While Bavuma has proven his star quality in Test and ODI cricket, his strike-rate of 120.60 in T20 Internationals and 124.67 domestically is considered weak for the format.

But the often bizarre nature of T20 auctions was shown in how the franchises were willing to pay a dear price for Donovan Ferreira, the Northerns batsman who is an almost complete unknown overseas, but managed to fetch R5.5 million from Joburg Super Kings in the first express set of bids towards the end of the auction.

Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming seems a fan though.

“Donovan is relatively young, explosive and dynamic and he can keep wicket as well. I thought it would be a nice, easy buy, but the bidding got my heart beating.

“He was the last key position we needed, our last throw of the dice and we only just got him. Hopefully that effort will pay off for us.

“You usually can get some very good buys at the end and in the end it was a good day for us. The challenge is you set up your budget, but then you get blown out of the water on one of your prizes,” Fleming said.

Plenty of distractions adjacent to CT Stadium, but Schoeman’s focus is on Stormers front row 0

Posted on June 30, 2022 by Ken

Edinburgh prop Pierre Schoeman says the Cape Town Stadium and its adjacent Waterfront have plenty of distractions but his focus will be squarely on his key battle with the Stormers front row in their United Rugby Championship quarterfinal on June 4.

Schoeman is well-experienced when it comes to travelling to Cape Town to take on the Stormers, having done it several times while playing for their archrivals the Bulls between 2014 and 2018, before he joined Edinburgh and subsequently made his international debut, scoring a try, for Scotland in October 2021.

“I feel it’s a massive responsibility because the scrums are going to be a key battle, and the lineouts,” Schoeman said on Tuesday. “And the Stormers scrum has been going really well, they still pride themselves on that.

“Steven Kitshoff speaks for himself, Scarra Ntubeni is also a very good scrummager, and there’s a reason why Frans Malherbe is paid the big bucks at tighthead. Neethling Fouche has also done very well there.

“So we are putting a lot of emphasis on the scrums, but I have to be careful not to make it an individual battle. I can’t just throw my weight around just against those two props.

“I have to do my bit for the team and there are small moments you are responsible for that can make the momentum better for your team. Not just scrums, but tackles, carrying well, lifting in the lineouts,” Schoeman said.

The 28-year-old with nine Test caps said Edinburgh are also going to have to concentrate hard on their defence, against a Stormers side that are equipped to punish any looseness in their strategy or execution.

“The Stormers scrum is really good and their lineout is decent too, but then you’ve got that tight five offloading to wings all over the field.

“Evan Roos gets them on the front foot and then you’ve got Damian Willemse standing at flyhalf and using his quick feet to create something out of nothing.

“Tactically we need to be spot-on, but we pride ourselves on our defence and we have so much up our attacking sleeves as well. We respect them and we’ll have to be vigilant on defence when they start chucking the ball around.

“If you give them a small gap then they can win another 10-15 metres with just one offload. The Stormers are not like in the past just bashing it up, all of a sudden you have the quick feet of a Warrick Gelant joining the line,” Schoeman warned.

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