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Ken Borland

South Africa lose the plot in the afternoon, in desperate trouble 0

Posted on October 12, 2022 by Ken

South Africa lost the plot in the afternoon and found themselves in desperate trouble after the second day of the second Test against England at Old Trafford on Friday, needing 241 more runs just to make the hosts bat again.

Openers Sarel Erwee (12*) and Dean Elgar (11*) will resume in the morning on 23 without loss but the skipper will not only be contemplating the massive mountain in front of his team, but also his own decision-making in the field.

England amassed 415/9 declared in their first innings thanks to inspired centuries by captain Ben Stokes and wicketkeeper Ben Foakes, who added a match-defining 173 for the sixth wicket.

They came together in an intriguing morning session in which fast bowler Anrich Nortje made two early inroads into the England batting by dismissing Jonny Bairstow (49) and Zak Crawley (38), both edging excellent deliveries that angled in and then nipped away to be caught behind the wicket.

That left England on 147/5 and South Africa were still four runs ahead. But Stokes and Foakes batted with great clarity and composure, digging in until the hosts went into lunch on 212/5.

With the lead now already 61, one imagined the talk in the South African dressingroom over lunch would have been all about hitting England hard straight after the break to try and get the tail in to bat as soon as possible.

But incredibly, the on-fire Nortje was not brought on until after spinners Simon Harmer and Keshav Maharaj had bowled for 35 minutes, allowing Stokes and Foakes to get themselves properly in at the crease.

Having established control, Stokes and Foakes then batted with more freedom as the Proteas became more and more desperate shopping for a breakthrough, four reviews not going their way.

Stokes went to his fourth century in 14 Tests against South Africa, but fell for 103 as he tried to slog Kagiso Rabada. One of the most competitive cricketers in the world had produced a masterclass in playing the situation, his judgement of when to attack and when to defend solidly being well-nigh perfect.

Foakes batted on for his second Test century and ended with a career-best 113 not out, a determined innings of great value for his team, in which he targeted his favoured leg-side with nifty footwork and fine shots, collecting nine fours.

Nortje’s bowling – he finished with 3/82 in 20 overs – and the fact that England were unable to buy a wicket in the nine overs they bowled at South Africa before stumps, were about the only positives for the Proteas on a second day that somehow managed to be worse than their opening day woes.

Boks talk Wales up with doe-eyed sincerity; alarm bells ring for Welsh 0

Posted on August 15, 2022 by Ken

The Springboks have spoken all week with doe-eyed sincerity about how desperate and tough opposition Wales are going to be in the first Test at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday evening, while the tourists themselves have acknowledged how large, both literally and metaphorically, the challenge will be for them in Pretoria.

Wales centre Nick Tompkins admitted on Friday that if they don’t shut down the Springboks from early on, then Saturday night could develop into a very dark time for them indeed.

The 1.80m, 95kg Tompkins will earn his 21st cap as he steps into the Loftus Versfeld ring at inside centre, but he does have considerable experience and bulk alongside him in George North, who will bring his 1.93m, 109kg frame into the Test arena for the 106th time, including three appearances for the British and Irish Lions. The 30-year-old ruptured his ACL in April 2021 and last played for Wales at the end of the 2021 Six Nations.

“To have George back is brilliant and I’m massively excited to play alongside him,” Tompkins said on Friday. “Hopefully we can take our chance and do what we can do.

“Damian de Allende and Lukhanyo Am have consistently shown how good they are as a pair. They have done great things, so it’s going to be a massive test for us. They are also sharp in defence.

“So it’s going to be a real Test match for us and obviously we have to try and contain them. But George brings a real voice on the field along with his strong carries.

“We just need to try and get that consistency as a combination and really carry it on. It’s up to us as a team to shut the Springboks down, but especially us as centres,” Tompkins said.

The ability of Am to disrupt an opposition backline was especially concerning for the 27-year-old Tompkins, who hinted that every time the Sharks star flinches, alarm bells will ring in his head.

“We know Lukhanyo defends very aggressively and you need to look at his body language to see what he’s going to do. Whatever happens, you have to be decisive.

“Those seconds are so vital and you can’t afford to be passive. I’ve gone through the scenarios and what will happen, and it’s good to have a big guy like George outside me,” Tompkins said.

Focus on the job at hand is the key for Wales if they are to win their first Test on South African soil in 11 attempts.

“We just need to focus on our jobs and make sure every action we make is positive, it’s got to be aggressive and 100% committed,” Tompkins said. “We need to scrap for each other and give a 100% performance.

“The game will ebb and flow, like it did when we played them in Wales last year. There will be a lot of kicking, and with the bounce of the ball, things can happen.

“We don’t doubt it’s going to be physical, and in the first few minutes hopefully we’ve figured out where we are, and hopefully after 20 minutes we have stood up to it,” Tompkins said.

WP desperate not to miss out on semifinals after a most average season 0

Posted on September 13, 2021 by Ken

Western Province have endured a most average season and, unless they beat the Sharks in Durban on Saturday, they will miss out on the Currie Cup semi-finals for only the second time since 2008. And Sharks coach Sean Everitt foresees a desperate visiting team that will play more rugby than usual.

The problem with that is that Durbanites are expecting to see squalls of rain sweeping in from the sea and the Sharks have made using their kicking game to force teams deep into their own territory something of an art form.

“Western Province are a proud franchise and they won’t be happy with where they are on the log. They will see the opportunity to get five points, I’m sure they will come to Kings Park and give it their all and play more rugby than usual. Our kicking game will certainly help us because the conditions Durban is expecting will bring a lot of rain and gale-force winds.

“So we are very happy to have Curwin Bosch back and we will have another look at him at fullback, where he played very well against Griquas when we played them at Kings Park. He’s certainly dying to play again and that big boot of his will definitely be very useful for us,” Everitt said this week.

The Sharks lost that match to Griquas because they failed to grab their scoring opportunities and the Northern Cape team have since moved to third on the log with their thumping of Western Province last weekend, giving them wins home and away against the team that has won the Currie Cup more than any other (34 times).

The match between Griquas and the Pumas in Kimberley on Saturday afternoon will be a feast of celebration for the winners as they will be assured of a semi-final place. The losers of this 2.30pm clash will have to wait until after dinner on Saturday night to see if Western Province can upstage the Sharks and sneak past them into the knockout round.

In between those games, the Bulls host the Free State Cheetahs at Loftus Versfeld. Having devoured the Pumas pack in the set-pieces, which was crucial as the Bulls were not dominant in any other area, Jake White’s young pack will be eager to stamp their mark again and get the win that seals first place on the final log.

“I do not think the Pumas have been dominated at set-piece before this season like they were by the Bulls, which was a great boost for us. We generally have quite a young pack, only Arno Botha is older than 25, and their performances have given us massive confidence. Credit to forwards coach Russell Winter, who has done a fantastic job getting that pack going.

“Mornay Smith at tighthead is one of the most improved players we’ve had and I’m very happy to have Jacques du Plessis covering lock and flank. Ruan Combrinck is not a bad replacement either, he’s a Springbok who has played in Super Rugby finals. Although he has not played for a while, I’ve seen enough in the small time he’s been with us to know he has rugby in him,” White said on Friday.

Very poor in patches & not sharp enough in the field, and injuries to Temba & Rassie the worries for Boucher 0

Posted on April 13, 2021 by Ken

Being very poor in short periods of play and not being desperate enough in the field were the two main concerns Proteas coach Mark Boucher has after the ODI series loss to Pakistan, but he is also worried about injuries to captain Temba Bavuma and key batsman Rassie van der Dussen heading into the T20 series.

South Africa lost the decisive 50-over match at Centurion on Wednesday evening by 28 runs but were competitive for almost the entire contest despite missing six first-choice players. They were not only deprived of their five IPL stars, but Van der Dussen had to pull out due to a quad strain.

“We want to start winning series, especially at home, so it is very disappointing to lose this one. We knew a while ago that the IPL guys would be leaving, so the players coming in were prepared. It was unfortunate to lose Rassie to injury, that was another blow, and although a couple of the guys coming in did really well, it’s not about individuals but about the team, and we lost.

“The problem is when we’re not good in certain pockets of the game we are really bad. For example the last two overs today going for 43 runs … if we had kept that down to 25 then we would have had a much better chance of winning. I would also like to see higher intensity and more desperation in the field; we maybe would have won the first ODI if we had been better in the field,” Boucher said after Wednesday’s match.

The coach said Van der Dussen and Bavuma, who injured his hamstring while batting, are both doubtful for the T20 series that starts on Saturday at the Wanderers.

“Rassie has between a Grade I and Grade II quad strain so he’s probably out for 10 days. We hope for a quick turnaround but it would be stupid to try and push him, so he’s not likely to get on the park. Temba is a tough guy but he’s hobbling in the changeroom and in quite a bit of pain, so I’m afraid it’s quite bad. But those are the cards we’ve been dealt and we have to find a way.

“The senior players need to stand up in those tough, pressurised moments. Even when we’ve played at only 50%, we’ve still had a chance to win if it were not for disappointing little things. But it was good to see we have some depth, we’ve got backup players who can stamp their mark on international cricket. Kyle Verreynne, Janneman Malan and Keshav Maharaj all did really well,” Boucher 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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