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Ken Borland

Move to Lost City a boost for McCallum 0

Posted on April 03, 2024 by Ken

SUN CITY, North-West – This year’s SuperSport Ladies Challenge at Sun City from Wednesday has been moved from the Gary Player Country Club to Lost City, and Tandi McCallum reckons that is a boost for her chances, even though she finished runner-up in this event at GPCC in 2020.

That year, McCallum was edged out in a playoff by Lejan Lewthwaite, but the Johannesburger won the Sun International Ladies Challenge at Lost City in 2014.

“I’ve actually done better at Lost City, I won there in 2014 and I prefer it to the Gary Player Country Club, which I know a lot of connoisseurs will frown on. I just enjoy being there, it suits my eye and it rewards golfers who hit it very straight and putt well,” McCallum said.

“Lost City demands that you be a bit more strategic, it’s very firm on the side of the mountain and the undulating fairways mean you have got to be in good positions. The key is to be on the fairways, but they are so hard that you can’t overpower the course. I find Gary Player Country Club has more generous fairways.”

Fortunately for much of the field playing in the SuperSport Ladies Challenge, they will be coming from the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am at Fancourt, which required some advanced golfing skills and would have battle-hardened the Sunshine Ladies Tour contingent.

McCallum played solidly enough to finish in a tie for 13th on 10-over-par, the winning score being Kylie Henry’s three-under-par 213. The Scotswoman is teeing it up again at Lost City, but many of the other European golfers have moved on to the Ladies European Tour, which has an event in Morocco starting on Thursday.

“I didn’t play super-well on day three when there were fantastic conditions but a very challenging set-up,” McCallum said. “But it was good to shake off any rust and I was very happy to make the cut.

“It’s great for us South Africans to be able to compare ourselves with the international players, but this week there is an overlapping LET event. Generally our tour has international players who don’t have full cards in Europe, so if they get a start over there then they will take it. But we will still have a very competitive field at Lost City.”

Veteran Lee-Anne Pace, who charged up the leaderboard on the final day at Fancourt to finish second, will be looking to go one better this week and LPGA star and 2022 SuperSport Ladies Challenge winner Paula Reto is also in the field.

A young up-and-coming talent to watch is 19-year-old Gabrielle Venter, who finished tied-fifth at the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am, her best ever Sunshine Ladies Tour result.

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.

SA forever making a mess of 50-over World Cup campaigns 0

Posted on December 29, 2022 by Ken

South Africa are forever making a mess of their 50-over Cricket World Cup campaigns, but they have decided to shake things up a bit for the 2023 event by putting themselves under extra pressure just to qualify.

But scarred and cynical Proteas fans can relax just a little because the situation is not as bad as has been depicted by some pundits on TV and elsewhere.

Yes, the Proteas are currently in a lowly 11th place in the Super League qualifying standings. And given that South Africa have controversially conceded their three scheduled Super League ODIs in Australia in January to instead focus on the new SA20, they have five matches left in which to sneak into the top-eight. Those games are all at home – three against England and two versus the Netherlands. The Proteas already started playing the Netherlands last November, with the first ODI rained out and the next two postponed until next year due to Covid.

West Indies are occupying eighth spot at the moment, on 88 points, but they have completed their roster of 24 matches. South Africa are on 59 points, and with 10 points being awarded for each win, they are three victories away from overhauling the West Indies.

But Sri Lanka and Ireland stand between the Proteas and the West Indies and are also still in the running to finish in the top-eight.

Ireland are on 68 points and have three games left, hosting against Bangladesh next May, so if they sweep that series then they can reach 98 points. In that case, South Africa will need to win four of their last five games to get past them.

Sri Lanka, on 62 points, have six fixtures remaining – three in New Zealand and three at home against Afghanistan. Basically, however many wins they get, South Africa will need one more.

If they fail to finish in the top-eight, then the Proteas will head off to Zimbabwe next June for the final qualifier, the bottom five teams in the Super League joining five other sides, and the top two qualifying for the World Cup.

“It’s not ideal,” outgoing coach Mark Boucher admitted, “but we haven’t always had continuity in the ODI team, what with players going to the IPL and Covid, and that has caused inconsistency.

“But we know what is required against England and the Netherlands next year, and if we don’t make it then we just have to accept that we have to go to the qualifier and man up there.”

The Proteas are now leaving India for another World Cup – the T20 version in Australia. It is a long time and there will be much cricket played before they see ODI action again, and perhaps the mood around the team will be very different, hopefully triumphant.

What is sure though, is that there will be outrage if they don’t find their way back to the sandy pitches of India in a year’s time for the 50-over World Cup.

Strydom expected it to be wet & miserable at St Francis Links, but it ended up being a happy day 0

Posted on December 05, 2022 by Ken

CAPE ST FRANCIS, Eastern Cape – Ockie Strydom woke up on Friday morning and thought it was going to be wet and miserable at the St Francis Links, but it ended up being a happy day for the 37-year-old as he was sitting high, and dry, at the top of the leaderboard after the second round of the Vodacom Origins of Golf Series event there.

Strydom shot a five-under-par 67 on Friday to go to 11-under for the tournament, leading Dylan Naidoo, who also shot a 67, by one stroke.

“When I woke up this morning, I thought it was going to be a very wet day and driving to the course, I kept wondering if I should turn back and get my rain shoes,” Strydom said.

“In the end I didn’t drive back and it was as wet as it can be when we started the round. But it actually turned into a lovely day in the end. It was overcast, but the wind largely stayed away, until it came up a bit again with five holes to go on the back nine.”

Strydom, who began the day one stroke off the lead, made a quiet start to his round with just a single birdie on the front nine, coming at the par-five third hole.

It was actually a bogey – his only one of the day – at the par-four 11th that gave birth to an astonishing run of five successive birdies from the 12th that gave the Serengeti Golf Estate golfer the lead.

“I made sure I played good golf into the wind, but on the first nine I kept hitting all my putts short. Then on 11 I had a 15-foot birdie putt and I told my caddie there’s no way I’m leaving it short. So I hit it eight foot past and then missed the putt coming back,” Strydom explained.

“So I had a harsh little chat with myself walking to the next tee, I thought I must get something going now, take advantage of being downwind and give myself a cushion for the last hole when you’re back into the wind.”

Apart from Naidoo, the other golfers chasing Strydom on the final day will be Doug McGuigan (67) on eight-under-par and Hennie O’Kennedy (68) and Keenan Davidse (67) on seven-under.

Strydom has been leading many times before and he knows what he has to do.

“I’m just going to do the same as I’m doing at the moment. Try keep the ball in play and hit the greens. If I can make five putts, be five-under tomorrow then I’ll be in with a good shout. I must just be patient,” Strydom said.

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    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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