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Ken Borland



Henry keeps her round on track to win as crosswinds whizz around Fancourt 0

Posted on March 13, 2024 by Ken

GEORGE, Western Cape – With crosswinds whizzing over the Montagu fairways on the back nine, Kylie Henry was best able to keep her round on track as she sealed a two-stroke victory in the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am at Fancourt on Sunday.

Henry was two strokes off the lead at the start of the final round, but the other leading contenders spluttered along on the third day. Even though the Scotswoman went out in one-over-par 37, a string of six successive pars on the back nine saw her claim a share of the lead with Ana Dawson, who had led after both the first and second rounds.

And then, as the pressure mounted and Dawson missed some crucial putts, Henry pounced with key birdies on the par-four 16th and 18th holes. It was her first professional win since 2014, when she won twice on the Ladies European Tour, and the 37-year-old said she was delighted to get back on the winner’s podium after a couple of tough years.

“It means so much to me, I have been playing for a long time, this is my 15th season on tour. But the last couple of seasons have been really tough. I broke my elbow and then last year was just very difficult for me personally and my golf suffered as a result,” Henry said.

“To get my golf game back makes me so happy. It was tricky out there today, there were a lot of crosswinds on the back nine, and I knew I just had to commit to my shots. I managed to keep doing that and I sank some good putts as well.”

Henry was tied for second with Alexandra Swayne going into the final round, and Swayne had a level-par front nine on Sunday, but her back nine was a car-crash with a run of double-bogey, bogey, bogey from the 11th hole. She finished tied for ninth on six-over-par after an 80.

Dawson, despite dropping shots on the 11th and 12th holes, was just one shot behind Henry when she teed off on the final hole. But she drove into the trees, and then ricocheted off another tree trying to come out with her second. Eventually she had to settle for a bogey-six, which left her in a tie for third on level-par with Romy Meekers, who fired an outstanding 67, the best round of the day by four shots.

There were birdie chances available for Dawson in the middle of the back nine, but she had struggles with her putter.

Local stalwart Lee-Anne Pace stepped up on the final day by shooting a level-par 72 and getting herself into contention. She once again eagled the par-five ninth and also birdied the 18th, but Henry did not give her an opening and Pace had to settle for second place on her own, on one-under-par.

Recent instalments of U19 Week had no official winner, but this year Lions undisputed champions 0

Posted on February 21, 2024 by Ken

Recent instalments of the Khaya Majola Week for the country’s best U19 boys cricketers have not seen an official winner declared, but even if that policy had continued this season, there would have been no doubt the Central Gauteng Lions were the undisputed champions of the event in Makhanda at the end of last year.

Our young Lions Pride were the only side that went through the week unbeaten and had three players named in the prestigious SA Schools team, as well as another two in the SA Colts side.

 The Central Gauteng Lions U16 girls also went unbeaten through their national Week in Pietermaritzburg and played some brilliant cricket. 

According to boys U19 coach Ahmed Nawab, excellent preparation was top of the list of reasons for his team finishing first.

“The most important thing was preparation and it was very specific in order to ensure the team played as a unit. It was my third year with the team and it took a couple of years of hard work to get that elusive first title,” Nawab says.

“The boys played really well and they trusted our preparation and plans. We started with a winter group of players, to work on player development, and the U16 national weeks in the last couple of years also helped us to identify potential talent.

“We would have specific days of training where we were building towards the Khaya Majola Week, we prepped through the winter and we also had a trials week. All of that was also very important for me to understand the players better, to build trust and relationships. It has been a very important exercise to show our depth as a union,” Nawab says.

While providing six members of the SA U19 World Cup squad is a source of tremendous pride for the Central Gauteng Lions union, it did make life terribly difficult at times for the coaching staff because it meant our young Pride had to rely on other players to triumph at the Khaya Majola Week.

“A lot of the time our six SA U19 players were not available because they had to go away to national camps. We had them all together for a week-and-a-bit before going to Makhanda and once we were there, they each had to sit out at least one game in the Week,” Nawab explains.

“So the rest of the squad had to understand that they themselves were actually the core of the team and it was up to them to put us in the good position. The key performances during the Khaya Majola Week actually came from those outside the national squad.

“Our two main values as a team were to be resilient because conditions meant you had to grind, and to make sure that all our sticks were in the fire, burning bright,” Nawab says.

While the new-ball bowling of Kwena Maphaka and Esosa Aihevba befitted their status as SA U19 stars, Fayaaz Vawda was also phenomenal up front; Luke Francis played a couple of key innings that dug the side out of tough situations; and Tjaart Mentz was an absolute find for the Lions, coming from one of the smaller cricketing schools in Helpmekaar. He showed he can hit a long ball as well as playing unorthodox strokes, while his wicket-to-wicket bowling was also very useful.

 But the talent in the Central Gauteng Lions U16 girls team is just as exciting. Neo Molefe, who scored back-to-back centuries without losing her wicket in the opening two games, was named both batter and player of the tournament. Fay Cowling was honoured as all-rounder and fielder of the week.

“There’s definitely a lot of talent in Lions cricket and our winning week was testimony to that,” triumphant coach Teboho Ntsukunyane says. “We did lots of hard work in preparation, we began our work earlier in the year so that we could expose the girls to lots of middle time.

“By August I had pretty much identified our squad and we were able to work in groups. I already knew the balance I wanted and the girls really complemented each other. In October we played games against senior Division II teams just to try and expose our players more and see how they expressed themselves under pressure.

“We also had some specific preparation like getting them to bowl at our senior DP World Lions star Sunette Viljoen-Louw, who hits the ball so hard, so they could get used to that. Their mental strength got better and better and all that exposure meant they were able to handle the pressures of the Week in Pietermaritzburg.

“That also enabled us to get our conditioning on-point and hone our game-plan, our role-clarity was very good and we understood what brand of cricket we wanted to play. Then it was just a case of making it easy for the girls to express themselves,” Ntsukunyane says.

The success of the Lions U19 and U16 teams is a clear warning to their rivals that they intend to dominate domestic cricket for a while yet.

“It really is a proud moment for us as Lions cricket to have witnessed the performances of our teams in both our regional and national Weeks hosted in all parts of South Africa. The achievements are testament to the hard work done over a long period of time in preparation of the players. We knew that 2023 was going to be rough with all the changes implemented to the format of the Weeks and the trophies at stake. These changes include the promotion and relegation at both U16 and U18 for boys’ and girls’ sections,” Reuben Mandlazi, the CGL Cricket Services Manager, says.

“One could not be prouder with the achievements of both U16 girls and U18 boys as they were crowned champions and the U16 boys and U18 girls finished third. We could not have achieved such good results without the support and hard work of our schools, as they continue to play a pivotal role through the strong cricket system.

“In addition, we thank everyone who played a role, including parents and selectors who identified these players under pressure. We recognise that selection is not an easy task and we are proud of them. We are also proud of the boys who represented South Africa at the ICC U19 World Cup hosted in South Africa.

“We know that year two of the new era will not be any easier, therefore we need to keep working harder and not be complacent about anything. Well done to all the teams and they continue to be the pride of Jozi,” Mandlazi said.

Central Gauteng Lions umpires also shone during the busy December period with very pleasing results.

Amy Gear stood in the final of the Girls U19 Week, as did Angus Gouws in the final of the Boys U16 week. Gear then went on to officiate as third umpire in the CSA 4-Day Series match between the DP World Lions and the Tuskers at the Wanderers, a remarkable achievement for a 17-year-old.

Davies Radebe stood in the third/fourth place final of the USSA A Week, while Zuber Saleh officiated in the SA Schools vs SA Colts match, the third/fourth place final of USSA A Week and was selected for Cubs week in January.

Mbekezeli ‘Randy’ Nkomo,  Mpumelelo Ngwevela, Nelisiwe Madondo and Roodt Jacobs were also appointed for national Weeks and acquitted themselves well, according to umpires administrator Brian Catt.

There was also good news on the scoring front with Central Gauteng Lions scorers co-ordinator  Kishen Pillay happy with the ratings achieved by the members of the association during an extremely busy festive period.

Natasha Nyoni, who scored at the Khaya Majola Week and was rated at 96%, and Mary Ramphela, who officiated at the U19 Girls Week and notched 99%, both finished in the top 2 of their respective Weeks.

Kagiso Taukobong finished fourth at the U16 Girls Week with 91% and Lebohang Dinake was in the top 10 at the U16 Boys Week with 87%.

“As a scorers association, we are pleased with the feedback and ratings received from the National Weeks, however we will strive to get even better,” Pillay says.

Oosthuizen & Schwartzel at their best as they set up another Leopard Creek showdown 0

Posted on December 09, 2023 by Ken

Louis Oosthuizen during his wonderful 63 in the third round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek.
(Photo by Tyrone Winfield/Sunshine Tour)

With Louis Oosthuizen shooting his best ever round at Leopard Creek and Charl Schwartzel feeling physically back to something approaching his best, the stage is set for a classic showdown between the two great friends and Major champions as they go into the final round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship tied for the lead.

Sunday’s closing round will take the tournament back a decade and more as Schwartzel and Oosthuizen re-enact a rivalry that was a dominant feature of the tournament back then. Schwartzel had the better of the exchanges, winning the title a record four times, in 2012, 2013 and 2015, in addition to his 2004 triumph at Houghton Golf Club.

Oosthuizen has never won the Alfred Dunhill Championship, finishing runner-up in 2005 and 2014. The famous prowling leopard trophy is one he dearly wants to raise, and he put himself into prime position with a tremendous, nine-under-par, course record equalling 63 on Saturday to go to 15-under-par after three rounds.

“That was good,” Oosthuizen grinned after his faultless round with seven birdies and an eagle on the par-four, 284m sixth when he drove the green. “I played really solid and did not make a lot of mistakes, and then rolled it nicely on the greens.

“But it was hot! I was close to getting a beer from someone on the side of the course! I just tried to walk in the shade as much as I could, because it was brutal out there. And this is such a tough course, there are certain holes you need to take on and you have to play good shots. This course can really bite you and I’ve been on the bad side of it.

“But this is one tournament I really want on my CV, I’ve come close to winning before and I’ve messed it up before too. So tomorrow I’m just going to stay calm and do the same thing as today,” Oosthuizen said.

Charl Schwartzel on his way to firing a 65 in the third round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek.
(Photo by Tyrone Winfield/Sunshine Tour)

Schwartzel has endured an injury-plagued year and is just delighted that the physios have managed to patch him back together so well that he feels like his old self again. That old self has been the dominant figure at Leopard Creek through the years, and the 39-year-old turned back the clock on Saturday as he produced a stellar back nine featuring four birdies and an eagle on the par-five 15th, posting a 65 that saw him reach 15-under shortly after Oosthuizen.

“I loved it, that was really nice. It’s so much fun to be healthy again after having constant niggles for the whole year. You don’t realise how much an injury hampers you because you are always working around it. It was just free-flowing again and I can hit all my shots again. The clubface is stable and I’m striking the ball so well. It makes me really happy.

“This heat is comfortable for me, it’s how I know Leopard Creek. The first two days it felt like a new course I was learning how to play, with the ball not going so far in the cool weather, making it very difficult to go for the par-fives in two.

“Louis had a great round and we’ve been friends for a long time. We’ve come a long way together and we will both just try our best in the final round and see what the outcome is. The one who makes the least mistakes will win,” Schwartzel said.

Heavy prices were paid lower down the leaderboard for errant tee-shots or impure iron shots, and for poor course-management, which combined to give Oosthuizen and Schwartzel a five-shot lead.

Two quality golfers, well-versed in winning in South Africa, are tied in third place on 10-under-par: Christiaan Bezuidenhout dropped a couple of shots on the front nine, but reeled off four birdies in a row after the turn to post a 68; Andy Sullivan had a double-bogey on the par-three seventh and dropped another shot on 17, but finished superbly with an eagle at the last to sign for a 69.

Overnight leader Casey Jarvis notched four birdies but made too many mistakes, four bogeys and a double-drop on the par-five 15th took him down the leaderboard with a 74 to finish on eight-under-par.

Marco Penge got himself to 12-under-par after 13 holes, but three bogeys in his next four holes saw him slip back to nine-under and in a tie for fifth with Ashun Wu (69).

Coetzee fully committed to getting best out of his talent, so move to Titans makes sense 0

Posted on April 05, 2023 by Ken

Gerald Coetzee impressed in his debut Test series against the West Indies this year.

Gerald Coetzee strikes one as a young cricketer who is fully committed to getting the absolute best out of his talent, so when his Free State Knights team were relegated at the end of the season, it was only natural that he should look elsewhere to further his burgeoning career.

The Northerns Titans, with whom he has now signed, are an ideal fit for the exciting fast bowler, being a team with a history of winning and a reputation for converting domestic talents into international stars. The Titans dominated the last decade of franchise cricket and they topped the Division I promotion/relegation log after the last two seasons.

The Proteas and their fans will also be delighted because the newly-capped Coetzee is too exciting a talent to be languishing in Division II.

The 22-year-old Coetzee played two Tests and two ODIs for South Africa in the season just finished, and proved himself to be a strike-bowler with 14 wickets. He is also a handy lower-order batsman.

“He’s an x-factor player, dangerous with the white ball and he will also really help us in the four-day competition,” Titans CEO Jacques Faul told kenborland.com. “He’s an exciting talent who has the kind of profile of young fast bowlers we have developed in the past – guys like Morne Morkel, Dale Steyn and Lungi Ngidi.

“With Lungi being contracted to the Proteas, we don’t get to see much of him in Titans colours, and Lizaad Williams too has spent time away with the national squad. So we need Gerald’s firepower as well,” Faul said.

Northerns Titans have also signed Free State opening batsman Matthew Kleinveldt, who fitted in well with the Knights after moving there in 2020 following 10 seasons in the Western Cape. In the last two seasons based in Bloemfontein, Kleinveldt has scored 692 runs at an average of 49.42.

With Theunis de Bruyn’s future in doubt and Heinrich Klaasen likely to be away with the Proteas for much of next season, it makes sense for the Titans to beef up their batting, an area where they also looked a bit light on experience at the end of last season.

The movement of Coetzee and Kleinveldt to Northerns is important because it also ensures two of the Knights’ better players still have a place in Division I cricket. With its strong schools and university, Free State is an important area of talent in terms of the national pipeline and their relegation to Division II is not good news for South African cricket as a whole. Especially since it is KZN Inland who are replacing them in the top division, meaning there are two teams from KwaZulu-Natal, based less than 100km apart, now playing in the A Section.

Of the Knights’ other players of national interest, Raynard van Tonder, so prolific with the bat a couple of seasons ago, is moving to the North-West Dragons, where he will definitely bolster a fragile batting line-up. Pace bowler Migael Pretorius, however, is believed to have turned down contracts elsewhere and will be playing as a free agent, which probably means he will be heading overseas to play in T20 leagues.

The 36-year-old Pite van Biljon, who was playing T20s for South Africa in 2021, is heading to Pietermaritzburg to play for the KZN Inland Tuskers, one of the few signings they will be making as they are believed to be backing the talent that won them promotion.

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    John 15:16 – “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”

    Our Christian experience begins when the Holy Spirit starts working in our imperfect lives. An inexplicable restlessness and a feeling that nothing can give you the satisfaction you yearn for, could be the Spirit working in you.

    Even when God calls you and chooses you to serve him, there may be inner conflict and confusion because you are not always willing to do what God is asking of you.

    But this inner struggle is part of spiritual life … Commit yourself to God and open yourself to the inflowing of the Holy Spirit.

    It is by great grace that you were chosen by God to serve him and to live to the honour and glory of his name. Surrender unconditionally to the Lord and you will discover that your life gains new meaning and purpose.



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