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Ken Borland

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.

TV networks’ bias under scrutiny as Marnus slips from the net 0

Posted on November 07, 2023 by Ken

The incident on the opening day of the third Test between the Proteas and Australia where South Africa were convinced they had caught Marnus Labuschagne in the slips, only for the batsman to slip from the net, thankfully has not had a major bearing on the game, but it did highlight an area of cricket – and many other sports – where the authorities need to consider the role of host broadcasters.

Labuschagne enjoyed a huge slice of luck when he was on 70 and he edged left-armer Marco Jansen low to first slip, where Simon Harmer seemed to have scooped up a fine catch.

Neither Labuschagne nor the umpires were 100% convinced though, with third umpire Richard Kettleborough being called into play, the soft signal being out. Having watched numerous replays, the Englishman felt the ball had touched the ground, but a conclusive replay, zoomed in from the front, was strangely absent.

Labuschagne survived, and five minutes later, the crucial replay suddenly emerged and showed that Harmer did get his fingers under the ball. Fortunately, the South African-born batsman could only add nine more runs before the heroic Anrich Nortje got him caught behind.

The incident raised suspicions about the role of host broadcasters in the officiating of the game, and it later emerged that the third umpire only had access to the world feed camera shots and the front-on slow-mo replay was exclusively a Seven Network shot. But how that footage then appeared on the SuperSport feed was not explained.

One must credit Cricket Australia for their rapid response to the incident, with CEO Nick Hockley saying they will conduct a review on whether the third umpire should have access to footage from both broadcast rights holders.

“The broadcasting of cricket is probably the most complicated of any of the major sports,” Hockley said. “We have a huge number of cameras. It was really, really fine margins. The match referees and umpires are making the best calls they can with the information they have available.”

Indeed, Kettleborough and the onfield umpires, Chris Gaffaney and Paul Reiffel, should not be blamed for this controversy. It was an exceptionally tough decision for Kettleborough to make based on the incomplete picture he was given.

The International Cricket Council has been pretty good at removing the frustration of clearly wrong decisions from the game, and I would say the DRS is a roaring success. They will surely now be contemplating the perceptions of bias among host broadcasters.

As South Africans, we need to acknowledge the anger Australians felt when SuperSport targeted their cameras on them in 2018/19, while who can forget Indian captain Virat Kohli’s furious outburst (strangely unpunished) into the stump mics a year ago at Newlands.

And this is not just a cricket problem. Rugby has been particularly under the spotlight, with South African fans, already feeling there is a vendetta against them, infuriated by the number of times there has been incomplete footage of a TV referral that seemed to be going the way of their team. Like what happened with France’s matchwinning try against the Springboks a couple of months ago.

It’s a bit like an arms race, with broadcasters doing nefarious things on a tit-for-tat basis because they feel ‘their’ team were on the receiving end when they went overseas. But moulding the outcome of key decisions is clearly unsporting and we don’t want the match officials to become merely ornamental in nature.

If the current trend continues, the legitimacy of the sport we watch could end up having a wound that a mere plaster won’t fix.

Would an association of sports broadcasters which has a clear code of conduct be the answer? Any broadcaster who has been found to engage in favouritism could be stripped of their membership and not allowed to bid for TV rights.

There are bound to be all sorts of contractual, legal and practical obstacles to overcome, but would neutral executive producers/directors be the answer?

Both the ICC and WorldRugby managed to phase in neutral officials a long time back, which seemed unlikely to be possible at one stage, so where there is a will (and there needs to be one!) there is a way.

Brevis all the rage; critics all up in arms about Bavuma 0

Posted on January 30, 2023 by Ken

Five days ago, Dewald Brevis was all the rage as the most exciting T20 talent anyone had ever seen, while Temba Bavuma’s continued presence at the top of the order for South Africa at the T20 World Cup had people all up in arms, many of them enraged, judging by social media comments.

This weekend, however, Brevis will open the batting for the Northerns Titans in the CSA T20 Challenge final with his mortality exposed, having looked all at sea against the sheer pace of Free State Knights fast bowler Gerald Coetzee in their semi-final.

Bavuma will open the batting for the Proteas in the early hours of Sunday morning against the Netherlands, some confidence renewed after it all finally clicked against the powerful Pakistan pace attack and he struck a commanding 36 off just 19 balls.

‘All’ the Proteas have to do is beat the Netherlands and they will be in the semi-finals, and all true South African fans will be hoping the skipper builds on the promise of his previous innings.

How quickly things can change in cricket is one of the prime attractions of the game; the vacillating fortunes are why players are always entreated to mine a good run of form for as long as they can.

If someone asks me for my list of the top-10 T20 innings I have seen, then Brevis’s outrageous, record-breaking 162 off 57 balls is on mine.

Coming from someone whose talent has already had people shouting from the rooftops, it was understandable that the innings was greeted with a wave of public opinion that the 19-year-old should be rushed straight into the Proteas team.

But we need to be careful not to extrapolate too much from one innings. When Dave Callaghan blasted 169 not out off just 143 balls, an incredible scoring rate back in 1994, for South Africa against New Zealand at Centurion, he looked a world beater and it was also one of the best innings I have seen.

But as good a cricketer as Callaghan was, the innings proved to be a once-off and his next highest score in 24 other ODI innings was just 45 not out.

On October 31, Brevis knocked two sixes and three fours off Coetzee as he scored 29 runs off 13 balls against the highly-rated 22-year-old. Coetzee eventually had his nemesis caught on the boundary in the final over.

On November 2, this time given the new ball against Brevis, Coetzee, pride hurt, was on fire. He came roaring in and bowled fast and aggressively at a batsman two-and-a-half years his junior. He ruffled him up with short-pitched bowling, struck him on the gloves and this time Brevis could only score five runs from the 10 balls he faced from the St Andrew’s Bloemfontein product on the same pitch.

Brevis surely has the talent to sort all this out, of course, but the cautionary lesson is that he is still just a 19-year-old with just one season of experience playing with men. He spoke with maturity about the journey he has to travel after his 162, and the precocious potential he undoubtedly possesses needs to be carefully managed by the national selectors.

The selectors have certainly taken a lot of flak for persisting with Bavuma at the top of the Proteas batting order, but there were many glimpses of the reasons why against Pakistan: the crisp strokeplay, the ability to hit boundaries in the powerplay with ‘proper’ cricket shots and his brilliant handling of the short ball.

The jury is still out, of course, on Bavuma’s long-term future as an international T20 batsman, but the graph has now taken a little up-turn back in the right direction.

Jake proud of the way Bulls stuck together like a family to beat Benetton 0

Posted on January 11, 2023 by Ken

The scoreboard shows a 44-22 triumph for the Bulls over Benetton in Treviso, but they had to work extremely hard for the win, with coach Jake White saying how proud he was of the way they stuck together like a family to end their two-match losing streak overseas.

The Bulls were fortunate to only be 9-3 down at halftime, and even though they were much-improved after the break, Benetton were still leading 22-20 on the hour mark. It was a titanic tussle, but the Bulls finished superbly with three tries in the last 10 minutes to not only snatch a hard-fought win, but also claim an unlikely bonus point.

“It’s a massive relief and I’m really proud of the players for the way they stuck together and got the reward for the work they put in at training,” White said. “And it’s wonderful that it’s a bonus point win, I’m really happy.

“The second half was fantastic, after the first half when we did not finish our chances and gave them a couple of soft penalties through silly mistakes. I had a feeling that we would finish well because Benetton looked dead on their feet.

“The talk at halftime was that we’ve got them on the ropes, every time we got down their end, we could feel the ascendancy. We just had to keep going and bashing at the wall, and it did eventually break.

“From a game that could have gone either way, we won with forty points. Not many teams come here and win, so a bonus point win is really good,” White said.

The most outstanding area of the Bulls game was at the breakdown and, were it not for numerous steals in the first half, Benetton would surely have been much further ahead and the mountain to climb away from home would have been too much for the visitors.

“Having Bismarck du Plessis, Marco van Staden and Marcell Coetzee together really helps at the breakdown, they are masters of understanding when to go in and what to do,” White said.

“I was very pleased with the defensive breakdown and we were also able to get quick ball, unlike the last two weeks. When we get go-forward ball, we play so much better.

“It’s a credit to the captain [the man of the match Coetzee] and the belief in the team. Sometimes these sort of wins can be a catalyst to jumpstart the season, turn it around.

“Coming off two losses in a row, 9-3 down away from home, how much more character can the team show? And it gets rid of what happened here last year in the Rainbow Cup final,” a delighted White said.

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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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