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Ken Borland



Fox shows his class after Presidents Cup omission gave birth to plenty of controversy 0

Posted on February 10, 2023 by Ken

Ryan Fox’s omission from the International Presidents Cup team gave birth to plenty of controversy, and the New Zealander showed his class on the opening day of the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City as he soared to the top of the leaderboard with an amazing eight-under-par 64.

At the time of South African – and 2007 Nedbank Golf Challenge winner – Trevor Immelman choosing his International team, Fox was ranked 47th in the world. But half-a-dozen players ranked below him were chosen, Immelman going as far down the rankings as No.114 Taylor Pendrith.

Fox is now up to 26th in the world rankings, the second-highest in the field behind No.25 and defending champion Tommy Fleetwood. The son of former All Blacks great Grant Fox was hurt by the fact he does not play on the U.S. PGA Tour and his major showings were poor in an otherwise stellar 2022.

But Thursday was a dream day on the Gary Player Country Club course for Fox, who leads veteran Luke Donald (65) by one thanks to five birdies and an eagle on the back nine.

“I don’t know what happened to be honest,” Fox said. “I couldn’t believe Louis Oosthuizen shot 64 on this course when Tommy won in 2019. I played okay on the front nine [-1] but from the 11th hole I felt that I pretty much couldn’t miss any shot.

“I’ve become better with the Driver, I have more confidence with it now and I wasn’t as intimidated off the tee as I used to be here. I kept the ball in play better and I had a lot of good numbers in, which makes a massive difference.

“You’re not between clubs and you don’t feel like you’re guessing. It was also easier to pick the wind today, it didn’t swirl so much.

“On the back nine I was in one of those zones you don’t get very often, and in that state you just need to get out of your own way,” Fox said.

Fox made just one mistake with a bogey on the par-four third, and being that error-free was an unattainable wish for most of the 66-strong field, even though it was a mild day at Sun City.

Only three golfers were bogey-free. Incoming European Ryder Cup captain Donald was one of them with an outstanding 65, where he also burnt up the back nine with five birdies.

Italian youngster Guido Migliozzi also had four of his five birdies on the back-nine, as he signed for a bogey-free 67 and third place.

Min-Woo Lee, Fabrizio Zanotti and Richard Bland finished on four-under, while the other bogey-free round came from another Italian, Edoardo Molinari, who shot 69. He is in a tie for seventh with Richie Ramsay, Lucas Herbert, Rasmus Hojgaard and Adrian Otaegui.

The leading South Africans were Branden Grace and Justin Walters, a shot further back on two-under-par 70.

SACA gets involved in De Kock fray 0

Posted on December 06, 2021 by Ken

The players union gets involved in Proteas matters when the team as a whole is affected by an issue and that’s exactly why the South African Cricketers’ Association have been offering their support to the squad over the last 24 hours in the wake of the Quinton de Kock ‘taking a knee’ controversy, CEO Andrew Breetzke said on Wednesday.

De Kock withdrew from the Proteas’ T20 World Cup match against the West Indies a couple of hours before the start after Cricket South Africa issued a directive on the morning of the game instructing all players to take a knee in support of Black Livers Matter.

While CSA are awaiting a report from team management before deciding on what action to take, and De Kock spent Wednesday with agent Dave Rundle crafting a statement to explain his actions, SACA have been actively involved in protecting the interests of the team as a whole.

“It’s a complex and complicated scenario and our focus has been on supporting the team over the last 24 hours,” Breetzke told The Citizen on Wednesday. “But we’ve engaged with Quinton a lot too.

“The timing of CSA’s directive has been destructive to the team environment at the World Cup. While SACA would have preferred a unified team stance on taking the knee, the players’ stance has not changed in 12 months.

“So this directive by the CSA Board should have been made before the World Cup and not during the tournament. The timing of the directive is the problem for the players. We always seem to have issues at world cups,” Breetzke said.

Although the players have not been able to come up with a unified response to supporting BLM, Breetzke said “This current Proteas team has had more culture camps and discussions about diversity under Temba Bavuma than any other Proteas side.”

While the cricketing world eagerly awaits De Kock’s explanation for the stance he took, the fallout has continued with unconfirmed reports from India saying his IPL franchise, the Mumbai Indians, will not be re-engaging his services at the next auction. But after a fairly average last season for them, they might have been looking to move on anyway from a big earner with a reported $500 000 contract.

The Big Bash League in Australia has, however, already put out the welcome mat for De Kock should he no longer be playing for the Proteas this summer.

“We encourage our players to think about the issues and express their views as they see appropriate,” Cricket Victoria CEO Nick Cummins told The Daily Telegraph in Australia.

“We would certainly be interested in a player of his calibre to come to the BBL. It would be great for the competition.”

Struck by BLM directive & De Kock’s withdrawal, it still did not stop the Proteas 0

Posted on December 06, 2021 by Ken

Despite being struck before the game by the controversy of the BLM directive and Quinton de Kock’s withdrawal from the team, the Proteas bounced back at the T20 World Cup on Tuesday as they beat the West Indies by eight wickets with 10 balls to spare.

De Kock pulled out of the game because he decided not to follow the Cricket South Africa Board’s directive, issued on the morning of the game, that all players must take a knee to support the Black Lives Matter movement.

It left an already under pressure Proteas batting line-up missing their star player, but they responded brilliantly to chase down a tricky target of 144.

Aiden Markram belted a matchwinning 51 not out off just 26 balls, including four towering sixes, to see South Africa home, Rassie van der Dussen providing stout support with his 43 not out off 51 deliveries. The pair added 83 off just 57 balls in an impressive display of just how far both of their games have advanced in T20 cricket.

Earlier, Reeza Hendricks, opening the batting in place of De Kock, hit a bright 39 off 30 deliveries to give South Africa a positive start after captain Temba Bavuma ran himself out for 2 in the first over, chancing a single to mid-on, from where Andre Russell scored a direct hit with a fine piece of fielding.

South Africa had won the toss but looked in disarray in the early stages of the West Indies innings, no doubt shellshocked by CSA’s directive and De Kock’s subsequent withdrawal.

There were lapses in concentration as Van der Dussen misjudged a boundary catch when Evin Lewis had just 12 and replacement wicketkeeper Heinrich Klaasen fluffed a straightforward catch from Lendl Simmons.

Lewis was explosive, hammering 56 off 35 balls before left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj finally claimed South Africa’s first wicket in the 11th over, with the score already on 73.

But the Proteas were inspired thereafter, and slowly put the West Indies in a stranglehold.

Maharaj (4-0-24-2) added the wicket of Nicholas Pooran (12) and Kagiso Rabada (4-0-27-1) returned to bowl Simmons for a painstaking 16 off 35 deliveries.

Anrich Nortje was magnificent throughout, taking one for 14 in his four overs, while Dwaine Pretorius was superb at the death, taking three for 17 as he bowled the 18th and 20th overs.

The West Indies staggered to 143 for eight and, having been thoroughly rattled at the start of the game, South Africa went into their run-chase in high spirits.

Jake does not need social media to create stir 0

Posted on February 01, 2021 by Ken

Bulls coach Jake White has never been averse to stirring up a bit of controversy and, although he does not have much of a social media presence he knows very well how to stoke up conversation before a big game. And in South African rugby, matches don’t get much bigger than the Currie Cup final, which the Bulls will host against the Sharks on Saturday.

But this week White, who admitted that he still feels the pressure of crunch matches, has been strangely restrained and even went as far as to suggest the Sharks might be favourites because half of their team have won the Currie Cup previously. Knowing how canny Jake is though, this is almost certainly some sort of mind game and he will ensure his Bulls team are the most inhospitable of hosts on Saturday.

That’s the thing about  the 57-year-old White, who has been a top-level coach now for almost 20 years, dating back to when he led the Junior Springboks to the U21 World Cup crown in 2002 – there is always a plan and it usually comes off. From utterly transforming a Springbok team that was in disarray in 2004 into World Cup champions in 2007, winning a rare Tri-Nations title along the way, he then took the Brumbies to the 2013 SuperRugby final and the Sharks to the 2014 semifinals, before leading Montpellier to the European Challenge Cup in 2016.

“I’ve been in enough finals and playoffs to know how it works and you can never take away the pressure. So I still feel the pressure and myself and the players will make mistakes, but a final brings the best out of certain players and they take their opportunities. There’s a real buzz in the squad, it’s so nice to be in the changeroom, you can just feel it.

“This is a very proud and driven team, they have a great hunger to win the Currie Cup and I just need to channel that the right way. I felt what it was like to win in the 2007 World Cup and I would like to taste that again, although it doesn’t get easier. But hopefully I can transfer my experience and the lessons I have learnt to the team. I’ll be trying to keep them calm and they must just enjoy the moment,” White said.

Sharks coach Sean Everitt (51) would have had a lot of interaction with White in 2014 because he was one of the Sharks’ assistant coaches, but the relationship between the head coach, his assistants and the players reportedly became strained leading to the World Cup winner spending just a year in Durban.

White was accused of being dictatorial but he has certainly softened since then, and is well-versed in global modern rugby trends.

Everitt’s coaching stock has certainly grown hugely since then as well, and Brad MacLeod-Henderson, who coached with him at the Sharks, winning the Currie Cup in 2013, described him as being a mentor who placed more responsibility on the players.

“Sean is more collaborative, he won’t pitch up and say ‘this is what we are going to do’. He will help the players make the right decisions, depending on the cues the opposition give them. As a former backline player, he’s more creative and he’s in favour of ball-in-hand rugby and having a go. But he wants the players to have a look first; if it’s on, have a go, if not, go to the air. It’s about space and getting the balance right.

“Sean is a great guy and all the players respond well to him being a good person. They have a lot of respect for him, he’s well-liked by the players and they will go the extra mile for him. He has created a good environment  and that’s why the players want to be in Durban because they’re happy on the field,” MacLeod-Henderson told Saturday Citizen on Friday.

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  • Thought of the Day

    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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