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Ken Borland

Only human for Maphaka to feel pressure of expectation, but instead he flourished 0

Posted on April 05, 2024 by Ken

Expectation can be an unkind burden for young cricketers and it would only have been human for Kwena Maphaka to feel the pressure during the ICC U19 World Cup hosted by South Africa. But instead the DP World Lions rising star showed his mettle by flourishing and enjoying a spectacular tournament.

The St Stithians pupil was named the Player of the Tournament for his 21 wickets, just one short of the all-time record at the event. Bangladesh spinner Enamul Haque took 22 wickets in 2004, but one record Maphaka did claim for himself was for three five-wicket hauls in a single edition of the U19 World Cup, which no-one had managed before.

He is the fourth South African to receive the honour, the first being current DP World Lions men’s captain Dominic Hendricks in 2010. Aiden Markram (2014) and Dewald Brevis (2022) are the others to bring the individual title back to Mzansi.

Left-arm fast bowler Maphaka is a prodigy, of that there is no doubt, and the 17-year-old was playing in his second junior world cup. He first played for the St Stithians first XI in Grade IX, so he has had to deal with expectation from a very young age.

“I’ve learnt how to deal with it quite well, there is always expectation. It’s getting higher as I get older, but I’m just trying to grow as a cricketer at the same pace,” Maphaka says.

“On a personal level I was quite happy with the tournament, but it was unfortunate that we did not go through from the semifinals and win as a team. But that’s cricket.

“I guess I just hit a run of form and when you’re in that purple patch you feel confident and that there’s not much that can stop you. The games were all so close together and I was in good mental places, so I just ran with it,” Maphaka says.

Having fulfilled his considerable potential at junior level, the matric student will be prioritising his academics in 2024, but he is already part of the DP World Lions men’s squad. He made his debut for them on November 30 at St George’s Park, taking four wickets in the match against the Warriors. He had already made his first-class debut back in June last year when he was fast-tracked into the SA A team in Sri Lanka by Test coach Shukri Conrad.

Maphaka is sure to still pop up from time-to-time this year as he begins to transition into senior cricket.

“This year my first priority is to pass matric, so my focus will be on school, that’s my main goal. From next year onwards I can focus on domestic cricket and I hope to make my name with the DP World Lions. Then maybe in a couple of years I will be fortunate enough to represent the Proteas,” Maphaka says.

By then he could quite possibly be running the joint, just like his predecessor at St Stithians and the DP World Lions, the great Kagiso Rabada.

DP World Lions bowling coach Allan Donald sees some similarities between Maphaka and Rabada, who he coached in his first few months at international level with the Proteas.

“You get these youngsters who you just absolutely know have got it and they’ve got the jewels to go the whole way, like KG. The first time I saw Kwena I could see he had everything – he’s fit, strong and athletic; he has a good action and a magnificent wrist.

“We saw in the U19 World Cup that he was bowling late-inswinging full balls to the right-handers, knocking over the stumps at pace. He has all the credentials to be a wonderful prospect. Every now and then you get a freakish cricketer and Kwena is one of those.

“It’s a privilege to be involved with him and I look forward to him joining us full-time when he’s finished school. He is just a gem and the world is at his feet,” Donald said.

Dawson has good reason to feel delighted after day of very bad weather at Fancourt 0

Posted on March 11, 2024 by Ken

GEORGE, Western Cape – After a day of very bad weather at Fancourt, with strong gales and torrential downpours, Ana Dawson was the only golfer to finish under-par after the first round of the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am and she had good reason to feel delighted.

Dawson, who hails from the Isle of Man, played the Outeniqua course in one-under-par 71 and so ended the opening day one stroke ahead of another three international golfers who finished on level-par: Germany’s Carolin Kauffmann, Scotland’s Kylie Henry and Englishwoman Lauren Taylor.

If the vile weather did not dampen Dawson’s mood then even a three-putt for bogey at the par-four last hole was not going to do it either.

“It was really hard weather and with all the delays, keeping your round going was probably the trickiest bit. It’s always a shame to three-putt the last, it leaves a bit of a sour taste, but I’m still very happy,” the 22-year-old Dawson said.

“If someone had offered me one-under today at the start of the round I would definitely have taken it. I had a nice draw because Outeniqua is a bit shorter and a bit more forgiving, but you still have to play well. I honestly hit just one bad shot today, but I struggled on the greens.”

Dawson enjoyed a fast start with a birdie on the par-four first hole, but she had to stay very patient thereafter as three pars were followed by a bogey on the par-four fifth. She birdied the sixth and eighth holes, but then dropped a shot at the ninth to turn in one-under.

The back nine was more grind with birdies on the 10th and 14th holes, but another bogey on the par-three 12th.

Dawson said the tough conditions actually suited her because it allowed her to take her time.

“It was quite slow out there, but in a way that was nice because it meant I didn’t have to try and rush, which has happened to me in the past. I felt I didn’t need to hurry at all today and that helped me. I really took my time and made sure everything was ready and right before I played,” Dawson said.

Henry and Taylor both took on the Montague course that is rated as being more difficult.

Henry was excellent on the front nine, going out in two-under, but the back nine bit back as she bogeyed three of the first four holes. A birdie on the par-five 18th was a great way to end though, restoring her to level-par.

Taylor recovered brilliantly from a disastrous front nine. After three pars, a double-bogey seven at the fourth would have knocked the wind out of her sails. She also dropped shots on the sixth and ninth holes, partially offset by a birdie on the par-three eighth, but the 29-year-old was three-over at the turn.

But Taylor stormed to three birdies in the first five holes of the back nine, not dropping any more shots on her way back to the clubhouse.

Kiera Floyd and Lejan Lewthwaite are the leading South Africans, tied in fifth place on one-over-par with Alexandra Swayne of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

You can only feel sorry for the SA women’s hockey side 0

Posted on August 22, 2022 by Ken

Having been one goal away from qualifying for the Women’s Hockey World Cup quarterfinals but then finishing in a share of last place, you can only feel sorry for South Africa’s women’s hockey side as they lost 1-0 to Chile in their final game to finish joint 15th in Amsterdam.

To make matters worse, they had numerous chances against Chile but failed to take their opportunities. The momentum gained from their comeback 3-3 draw with Japan and gutsy 1-0 defeat to Germany that saw the superpowers scrape into the quarterfinals has now been lost as they head for the Commonwealth Games.

Kayla de Waal’s direct running from midfield created problems for Chile in the first quarter, but the final pass kept going astray, with the Diablos only threatening the South African goal a couple of times.

The score was still 0-0 at halftime, as both teams lacked the finishing touch even though the game had opened up.

South Africa dominated possession in the second half, but chances were wasted. This led to frustration and a yellow card for Erin Christie.

Giles Bonnet’s side weathered the storm of being a player short, but will kick themselves that they conceded the matchwinning goal a minute after being restored to 11 on the astro. They will also lament the defensive lap that left Manuela Urroz wide open to a diagonal ball that allowed her plenty of time and space to finish well.

Even though Chile were also reduced to 10 players in the final quarter, South Africa were unable to threaten their opponents’ goal.

While the defence, led by goalkeeper Phumelela Mbande and sweeper Jean-Leigh du Toit, has been outstanding in this World Cup, questions will need to be asked about an attack that was off the mark for much of the tournament.

Smal quick to deflect questions about his return to Cape Town 0

Posted on February 14, 2022 by Ken

Bulls coach Gert Smal was quick to deflect a question over how it is going to feel for him to return to Cape Town and take on arch-rivals Western Province, a team with whom he enjoyed considerable success as a player, coach and director of rugby, in their Currie Cup match on Wednesday night.

But it will be a poignant moment for the former Springbok loose forward and World Cup winning assistant coach to Jake White. In answering the question, Smal did give an insight into how quickly allegiances can change in the world of professional rugby.

“Ja, it’s funny. In the past week-and-a-half I’ve been having one-on-ones with the players and some of them are guys I contracted at Western Province and now they are at the Bulls,” Smal, who was director of rugby at Newlands from 2014 to 2018, said. He coached the Western Province and Stormers teams between 2000 and 2005.

“There are others here who I was looking at, wanting to bring them to Western Province. But it’s always nice to see talent growing, on both sides. Western Province played well too over the weekend.

“I’m looking forward to the contest, I’m really excited to see how it pans out. It’s a new, big match for us and it’s important we put the game together that we want to see on the park,” Smal said.

And Smal is not the only Springbok who will be visiting Cape Town with the Bulls. He has been able to name fellow internationals Bismarck du Plessis, Marcell Coetzee, Morne Steyn and Lionel Mapoe in his side.

Smal was cagey when it came to the question of whether they are just on loan to him until the United Rugby Championship gets back into full swing.

“It’s a new dynamic, running with two teams and it’s a nice challenge to get the balance right. It’s important for some guys to get some game-time and it’s nice to have them with us at the moment.

“They bring great experience and the youngsters around them are getting experience, in terms of intellectual property and leadership, from the senior players.

“It’s about managing the squad, giving everyone some game-time. The beauty of us being one squad is that all the players feel they are part of it, in with a shout.

“Obviously our big names in the team are going to motivate Western Province quite heavily. The challenge for us is to keep our concentration and processes going for 80 minutes,” Smal said.

Bulls team:James Verity-Amm, Canan Moodie, Lionel Mapoe, Harold Vorster, Sibongile Novuka, Morne Steyn, Marco Jansen van Vuren, Muller Uys, Cyle Brink, Marcell Coetzee, Janko Swanepoel, Sintu Manjezi, Robert Hunt, Bismarck du Plessis, Simphiwe Matanzima. Replacements– Schalk Erasmus, Jan-Hendrik Wessels, Sebastian Lombard, Reinardt Ludwig, WJ Steenkamp, Keagan Johannes, FC du Plessis, Stedman Gans.

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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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