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Ken Borland

Floyd surely not far from breakthrough victory given recent form 0

Posted on July 01, 2024 by Ken

Talented 19-year-old golfer Kiera Floyd is surely not far from her breakthrough Sunshine Ladies Tour victory given her recent form, and this week’s Absa Ladies Invitational being played at her home course of Serengeti Estates may just give her that extra edge that leads her to her first professional title.

Floyd has finished in the top-10 of her last two events, the Fidelity ADT Ladies Challenge and the Standard Bank Ladies Open, while she also contended strongly in the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am at Fancourt, before shooting 84 in the final round to finish tied-15th.

And the good news for her is that the Serengeti layout is just her cup of tea. Floyd’s length and accuracy off the tee should see her prosper on the 5688m course.

“I’ve been playing Serengeti for many years and I’m really looking forward to this tournament. Serengeti has a lot of signature holes, which can make it a make-or-break situation. Just none of the holes are the same, there’s always something different thrown at you and usually a bunker in the way too,” Floyd says.

“It’s not a very open course, but it all depends on where you play it off the tee. It’s definitely not the same as the other courses we’ve played this season, for me it is special, I really like the layout and it has its own way of playing it.

“I’m feeling really confident, I’m playing really nicely at the moment. The course is a bit longer, which suits me because I am a long hitter. But I still have to play well, I can’t take things for granted just because it is my home course,” Floyd says.

The second-year pro has always quickly conquered the different levels of the game, and her maiden Sunshine Ladies Tour win cannot be far away judging by her previous achievements. Floyd won the Benoni Country Club Ladies Championship aged nine, she finished third in the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s Jabra Classic aged 14, and she won the South African Women’s Strokeplay Championship in 2022 before turning professional at the beginning of last year. She has already racked up six top-10 finishes on tour.

But on a course with so many different layers of difficulty, she has identified staying calm during the inevitable tough times as the key element of her game that needs to improve for her to make that next step into the winner’s circle as a professional.

“I’ve struggled a bit in the past events with keeping my head up if I make a bogey or a hole does not go well. I need to be more consistent, put both nines together. You need that consistency so if you start on a roll then you can keep it going. I need to stay patient to get the ‘W’, just work my way through the course and whatever happens, happens,” Floyd said.

Her contemporary Gabrielle Venter won the Standard Bank Ladies Open at Royal Cape Golf Club three weeks ago, giving Floyd a lot of confidence she can make it back-to-back South African winners when the Absa Ladies Invitational gets underway at Serengeti on Thursday.

But there will be other winners providing a stiff challenge in the R1.2 million event as well, such as seasoned champion Lee-Anne Pace, Germany’s Helen Kreuzer and India’s Tvesa Malik, already winners on tour this season, as well as strong South African challengers such as Stacy Bregman, Nicole Garcia and Cara Gorlei, and the consistent Alexandra Swayne from the U.S. Virgin Islands, who has not finished outside the top-14 yet this campaign.

Delight for doughty SA women’s rugby team 0

Posted on September 19, 2022 by Ken

It’s been an amazing couple of weeks for women’s rugby in this country. After their breakthrough victory on away soil over Japan on July 30, the news that FNB will be the new major sponsors of the Springbok women’s team was confirmed on Wednesday, and on Saturday the doughty national team will take on Spain at Ellis Park in the curtain-raiser to the massive Rugby Championship Test against the All Blacks.

Delighted SA Rugby president Mark Alexander said finding a principal partner for the national women’s team had not been an easy task, but having chased after several potential sponsors, they then went back to an Old Faithful in FNB, and they have committed themselves to sharing the federation’s passion for the development of the women’s game.

It is the same company who, after Springbok rugby had arguably reached its nadir in 2017, signed a three-year deal, which was extended for five more in 2020, when other sponsors were jumping ship. The bank is undoubtedly now reaping the benefits with South African rugby on an absolute high.

“We have presented so many proposals to so many companies to sponsor our women’s team,” Alexander said at the announcement at Melrose Arch on Wednesday.

“But like they did when they came in after the 2016 season when all our other sponsors were leaving us, FNB have answered the call. A lot is being said about supporting women’s sport, but very few corporates actually do.

“This is an exciting start for the women’s game. You can see the quality of their play and I must commend Lynne Cantwell [High-Performance Manager for Women’s Rugby] for getting the right pillars in place.

“We want people to see our Springbok Women in action, to put them in the lights. Society needs to change its mindsets and the time has come for corporates to put their money where their mouths are,” Alexander said.

South Africa’s 20-10 win over Japan was a top-class effort, with Cantwell, a former Ireland captain, describing it on Wednesday as “a huge stake in the ground, a well-constructed win that was not by luck”.

Springbok captain Nolusindiso Booi was thrilled by all the good news surrounding her team and said Saturday’s Test against Spain at Ellis Park was a chance for them to perform in front of their heroes in the men’s side.

“We’re very excited to play before our heroes and display our rugby, and also to make the fans proud,” Booi said. “We’ve seen a lot of improvement, things are changing in women’s rugby.

“We’re on the up and now we need to go and compete with bigger teams as our goal is to make the top-five and ensure every girl playing rugby is aiming to play for the Springboks,” Booi said.

Hamza celebrating white-ball breakthrough as he realises his skills are applicable in those formats too 0

Posted on December 31, 2021 by Ken

Zubayr Hamza is definitely one of the most skilful batsmen in the country and his breakthrough in limited-overs cricket came when he realised those same abilities were applicable in the white-ball game.

Over the last couple of seasons, Hamza has shaken off the tag of being a red-ball player, becoming a key batsman for the Cape Cobras and now Western Province in both 50-over and T20 cricket.

After being dropped from the Test side in January 2020, having played five Tests, during South Africa’s troubles against England, Hamza found himself in the middle of a slump in form. It was actually 50-over cricket that revitalised his career as he averaged 55.58 at a strike-rate of 97.81 later that season in the Momentum One-Day Cup. This season it has been T20 cricket in which he has sparkled, averaging 46.75 at a strike-rate of 142.74, including a century against the powerful Central Gauteng Lions attack.

And so the national selectors have rewarded him with a call-up to the squad for the three-match series against the Netherlands in Gauteng from November 26.

“I started as a red-ball batsman in the middle-order, now I’m at the top in white-ball cricket. It’s been a learning curve in terms of adapting my scoring areas and strike-rate, I’m very happy with my progress.

“It was a bit of spite actually to get one-up on the naysayers who said I couldn’t play limited-overs cricket. To play white-ball cricket for South Africa has always been a goal.

“So I adapted my game to meet the standards around the world. The game is evolving and it’s best to keep up with that.

“If you want to keep up at the highest level then you have to continually adapt and become a better all-round batsman. I’ve learnt to apply myself to whatever game-plan is required in the different formats,” Hamza said.

It’s been a winding road for Hamza since he began playing franchise cricket for the Cobras shortly after turning 21. The Rondebosch Boys High prodigy was soon averaging around 50 in first-class cricket and his Test debut came in 2019 when he was 23.

And then came the loss of form, but the talented batsman now seems to have regained his usual prolific ways, thanks to the freedom he has enjoyed in limited-overs cricket.

“The turnaround came after a tough run for a season and a bit,” Hamza said on Thursday. “When you’re not performing and things aren’t going your way, you can look for issues that aren’t actually there.

“It was mostly in the mental space that I had problems, but I managed to turn it around. Now playing is purely about enjoying myself and trusting the players around me.

“There will always be criticism and I’m realistic with how I view the game – obviously there were certain areas I had to improve. Other guys have enhanced their games to fit into different formats and I’ve taken some advice from them.

“My focus is on adapting and understanding my different roles, all purely for the good of the team,” Hamza said.

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    Mark 7:8 – “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.”

    Our foundation must be absolute surrender, devotion and obedience to God, rising from pure love for him. Jesus Christ must be central in all things and his will must take precedence over the will of people, regardless of how well-meaning they may be.

    Surrender yourself unconditionally to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, then you will be able to identify what is of man with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Then you will be able to serve – in love! – according to God’s will.

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