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Ken Borland



Keeping their fine Champions Cup form going is the Sharks’ goal 0

Posted on June 26, 2023 by Ken

Keeping the momentum of their fine Champions Cup form going is the goal of the Sharks on Friday night as they tackle the Lions in a United Rugby Championship match at Kings Park, but whether they can do that having rested a few key Springboks will be the question on coach Neil Powell’s mind.

Having been instrumental in the impressive wins over Harlequins and then Bordeaux-Begles in France, Springboks Eben Etzebeth, Bongi Mbonambi and Ntuthuko Mchunu have all been rested this weekend, while Siya Kolisi, Jaden Hendrikse, Gerbrandt Grobler and Ben Tapuai will play off the bench.

“We’ve had two good EPCR games and we would love to keep the momentum going,” Powell said on Thursday. “So we will keep going with continuity in selection as well.

“We always want to do well, no matter which competition it is, but every home game is especially important. It’s obviously going to be a physical battle looking at the forwards the Lions have selected.

“So we obviously have to match that and we’ve selected a team that will give us the best energy. Some of the changes are part of our rotational policy, maybe giving guys a break.

“The number of game minutes that Siya and Eben have had, not just for the Sharks but the Springboks too, means it is crucially important to manage them well. This was an opportunity for a bit of a break,” Powell said.

Apart from the actual game time, the Sharks have also had a punishing schedule of short weeks and overseas travel, which is a major concern and they will be relying on Alan Temple-Jones being a real conditioning guru to ensure the players can still perform at peak levels.

“The travelling has been tough,” Powell admitted. “We played Friday to Friday and then we only flew back from France on Sunday. So this is a short week again, it makes it difficult.

“The Lions have not done a lot of travel, so we felt the guys coming in for us could bring some extra energy. We have a block of 11 consecutive weeks of games and we are only on game five now.”

Maketa not laying out red carpets for anyone, but says Bavuma is key 0

Posted on May 09, 2023 by Ken

Proteas interim coach Malibongwe Maketa has stressed that he will not be laying out red carpets for anyone when it comes to selecting the team for the first Test against Australia in Brisbane, starting in the early hours of Saturday morning SA time, but he sees Temba Bavuma as being one of the key batsmen.

Bavuma has endured a rather wretched 2022, injury keeping him out of the Tests in England and then his travails as Proteas T20 captain being well-documented. He did not play any domestic four-day cricket before arriving in Australia, and did not bat in the first innings of the warm-up match against a Cricket Australia XI due to a reoccurrence of elbow problems. But the vice-captain did bat in the second innings and compiled 28 off 92 balls.

“I’m not here to protect anyone and we will make decisions that are best for the team,” Maketa said on Wednesday. “If we have to knuckle down and play with just six batsmen because the pitch will be tough to get 20 wickets on, then we will do that.

“If there’s a lot of grass and the pitch really assists the bowlers, then we will need the extra batsman to give us that magical 400/450. But we have to trust the top-order to get those runs.

“I’m very happy with how Temba is batting. It was nice for him to get in in the second innings, but he has also done a lot of batting volume in the nets since we got here and I am very happy with his progress.

“He hit the ball really nicely in the warm-up game and at practice today at the Gabba, he looked one of our best batsmen. Where he’s at mentally, smiling and confident, bodes well for him being one of our best batsmen going into the series,” Maketa said.

South Africa have the bowling attack to be ruthless, and one Australian batsman who seems to have an ever-tightening oesophagus at the moment is opener David Warner, given how he was the central figure in Australia’s capitulation in their previous Test series against the Proteas and his mediocre recent form, averaging just 23 in nine Tests this year. The events of 2018 seem to be haunting him the most at present.

“What happened in that previous series has not dragged on for us and neither are we focused on what’s happening in the other camp,” Maketa said.

“Our focus is on how to get Warner out, let the ball do the talking and we have got our basic plans. He always brings energy to our contests and I think this series will be no different.

“We’re looking forward to the challenge. There’s no talk about sledging, but we will bring a lot of aggression like we usually do,” Maketa said.

Enza Construction Pink Day incentive will have Proteas building a strategy for the short boundary 0

Posted on March 31, 2023 by Ken

The Wanderers Stadium – scene of the Pink Day ODI against the Netherlands

Sunday’s Betway Pink Day ODI between the Proteas and the Netherlands at the DP World Wanderers Stadium will be played on the same pitch that was used for the high-scoring final T20 between South Africa and the West Indies, and building a suitable strategy for the short boundary on the scoreboard side will be a key factor in the game.

The boundary on the eastern side of the Wanderers will be just 57 metres away from the pitch and, if targeting the short side was not a priority already, Enza Construction have added their own incentive for the two teams, while also demonstrating their passion for serving the communities they help develop.

Enza Construction have placed a billboard to the left of the scoreboard and the first batsman to hit this on the full will earn himself R250 000 with the company donating another R250 000 in celebration to the Pink Day charities that support breast cancer awareness, education, early detection, treatment and research. If no-one manages to hit a six into the target, then Enza Construction will still make a R100 000 donation to the Pink Day cause.

“Being a proud contributor to our community is a core value at Enza Construction and we are passionate about the health and wellbeing of the people within those communities. We want to give our support to those people who are working tirelessly to overcome breast cancer.

“To that end we fully support the Pink Day cause and want to do our bit to promote and boost their efforts to encourage routine screening for early detection for what is now the most common cancer diagnosed globally,” Clinton Crowie, the executive director of Enza Construction, said.

The Proteas were not able to come up with the goods in the third and final T20 against the West Indies, but they will be banking on better execution of what they believe is a suitable plan for the short boundary.

“That short side really is quite small and logic tells you to try and stay away from there if you’re the bowler. It’s a test of our skills and it comes down to execution,” Aiden Markram, captain in the T20 series, said.

“You try and play the percentages, but a team like the West Indies were mishitting sixes on the long side! When bowling, you just try and bowl really wide outside off-stump, and you also have to use slower-ball bouncers and balls at the batsmen’s heels. We’re happy with our plans,” Markram said.

While Enza are leaders in construction, the Proteas have a master of destruction in their team in opener Quinton de Kock. The left-hander will certainly be targeting the short boundary and the Enza billboard when he is batting at the Corlett Drive End at the Wanderers on Sunday.

The former Proteas captain, as ever, simplified his approach when it comes to unusual field dimensions.

“Certain situations demand different ways of going about things, but as a batter, you’re just trying to target that boundary in any way possible. As a bowler, you’re just trying your best not to get hit there,” De Kock said.

“But on the Highveld, as we saw at Centurion in the T20s against the West Indies, a short boundary is not always relevant because the ball travels so far up here.”

The more sixes there are the better, of course, as various sponsors are lining up to add their bit to the sponsorship of the fight against breast cancer.

Former Protea’s outstanding catch, off Joburg-born bowler, breaks millions of South African hearts 0

Posted on February 06, 2023 by Ken

When former Protea Roelof van der Merwe let out a fervent roar of celebration after his outstanding catch, off the bowling of Johannesburg-born Brandon Glover, to take the key wicket of David Miller, it was unlikely he felt much regret for the millions of hearts that were breaking back in South Africa as the Proteas made a shock exit from the T20 World Cup, losing to qualifiers the Netherlands by 13 runs.

Chasing 159 for victory, South Africa had slipped to 111/4 after 15 overs and their hopes rested on Miller, their finisher supreme. The experienced left-hander had gone to 17 when he top-edged a pull at Glover and Van der Merwe scrambled backwards from short fine leg, and dived to take a superb catch.

Glover, who took 3/9 in his two overs, then had Wayne Parnell caught behind three balls later for a duck and, when Heinrich Klaasen (21) was caught at cow-corner off medium-pacer Bas de Leede in the 18th over, South Africa were all but buried. They limped to 145/8 in the end.

The Netherlands deserve full credit for their amazing victory, bowling and fielding with tremendous tenacity.

South Africa began their chase tentatively as Quinton de Kock (13) and Temba Bavuma (20) both just scored at a run-a-ball and the Proteas could only score 39/2 in the powerplay.

Rilee Rossouw (25 off 19) looked threatening before he pulled Glover straight to deep square-leg and Aiden Markram (17) sent a leading edge, well taken by a diving Stephan Myburgh, to cover off the excellent Fred Klaassen (4-0-20-2).

The dismissal encapsulated what the Netherlands did so well – taking pace off the ball and using variations, which caused the Proteas to really struggle to score freely.

It was something the Proteas attack failed to do and there can be no sympathy for their lack of awareness and adaptability to the conditions, which allowed the Netherlands to post a competitive 158/4 after they had been sent in to bat.

The outstanding Anrich Nortje (4-0-10-1) and Keshav Maharaj (4-0-27-2) apart, the Proteas attack simply lacked intensity and it was the Netherlands who seized the initiative from the start.

Pretoria-born Stephan Myburgh belted 37 off 30 balls, with fellow opener Max O’Dowd providing valuable support with 29 in an opening stand of 58 in eight-and-a-half overs.

Tom Cooper blasted 35 off 19 deliveries and another South African expat, Colin Ackermann, provided the finishing touches to the winning total with his brilliant 41 not out off 26 balls. The former Eastern Cape star also bowled three overs of probing off-spin for just 16 runs, keeping the left-handers quiet.

This time the Proteas could not blame anything outside of their own control – there was no rain, no freakish misfortune – for failing to make the semi-finals.

They defied history by choosing to bat first on a pitch that was only going to slow down and their whole mindset seemed incredibly soft when so much was on the line.

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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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