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Ken Borland

Koekemoer determined but Lions strike telling blows late in the day 0

Posted on December 20, 2023 by Ken

Tian Koekemoer watchful in defence

A grimly determined Tian Koekemoer batted through most of the opening day of the CSA 4-Day Domestic Series match for the KZN Inland Tuskers against the Central Gauteng Lions at the Wanderers on Wednesday, before the home side landed some telling blows late in the day to be the happier of the two teams at stumps.

Having won the toss and elected to bat first, KZN Inland closed on 252 for six, but they were 208 for three going into the final hour.

But a fired up Duanne Olivier, operating with the second new ball, had Kagiso Rapulana (24) caught splicing a hook to square-leg, and in his next over, he had Koekemoer caught behind for 90.

You could tell the left-handed Koekemoer, who had produced more than six hours of defiance, was unsettled by the fast bowler switching from over the wicket to around and then back to over again in quick succession, and the 29-year-old just sparred at a delivery that was angled across him and was caught behind. It was a fine innings though by the former Eastern Province player, who faced 265 balls and hit 10 compact boundaries.

With Tshepo Moreki then having Thamsanqa Khumalo caught behind for a duck, the pressure was all on the Tuskers in the closing overs, but Cameron Shekleton (15*) and Malcolm Nofal (11*) collected a couple of boundaries each as they took the visitors to stumps without further loss.

Koekemoer honed his game as part of the highly successful Pretoria University side under Pierre de Bruyn, playing alongside Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen, Lungi Ngidi and Theunis de Bruyn. He joined forces on Wednesday with a man from Kimberley who came through the Free State Schools system – Michael Erlank.

The St Andrew’s Bloemfontein product scored a century against North-West in nearby Potchefstroom previously this season, and Erlank looked bound for three figures again as he batted with great tenacity, but with lovely drives through the covers and shots off his legs too, to reach 79. So when he slapped a short-and-wide delivery from Malusi Siboto straight to backward point, he would have tore his hair out if he wasn’t wearing a helmet.

The Lions started well with the ball, reducing the Tuskers to 22 for two in the first hour of play.

Josh Richards should have had the acclamation of a large Wanderers crowd ringing in his ears when he dived full-length in the gully to snap up Yaseen Valli (1) off Olivier’s second over of the day.

Ben Compton (9) then misread the aerodynamics of Moreki’s second delivery of the match and was trapped lbw.

Moreki finished the day with two for 64 in 18 overs, but the pick of the Lions attack was Olivier, who ran in like the wind and claimed three for 39 in 19 tight overs that included seven maidens.

The long & winding tale of how Noa landed up in Durban & has been called up for the Currie Cup 0

Posted on February 11, 2022 by Ken

Two new caps have been called up to the Sharks Currie Cup starting XV for their match against Griquas at Kings Park on Wednesday in flank OJ Noa and wing Eduan Keyter, and how the loose forward landed up in Durban is a long and winding tale.

Of Samoan heritage, Noa was born in Auckland but brought up in Australia. He made his professional debut in 2014, as a 24-year-old, for the Melbourne Rising in the National Rugby Championship. In 2016 he moved to the Canberra Vikings and played six games for them, before moving to Spain in 2018 and playing for SilverStorm El Salvador, one of that country’s leading teams, who also happen to play in black-and-white.

Noa began 2021 playing New South Wales club rugby, but, as a 31-year-old, it was a dramatic year that saw him finally make his breakthrough. The 1.93m, 110kg flank was chosen for Samoa to play in their two Rugby World Cup qualifiers against Tonga and was subsequently signed by the Sharks.

“It’s been a bit of a journey for OJ rugby-wise, but he is certainly physical, he has lovely silky hands and he can run all day,” Sharks Currie Cup coach Etienne Fynn said on Monday after announcing his team to meet Griquas.

The 25-year-old Keyter will be up against his previous team and the Affies and Maties product is a proven attacking force at Currie Cup level, so Fynn and URC coach Sean Everitt will be looking forward to seeing what he can bring after being out injured since his signing.

Also set to make their Sharks debuts are hooker Jason Alexander, the 21-year-old who has moved from Western Province to Durban, his front-row team-mate Dian Bleuler, who got to play against the British and Irish Lions last year; lock Corne Rahl, who went to the SA Rugby Academy in 2021; and former UCT captain Josh Moon, a loose forward who is going to follow in his delighted grandfather Mike’s footsteps and play for the Natal Sharks.

SharksAnthony Volmink, Yaw Penxe, Werner Kok, Marius Louw (c), Eduan Keyter, Jordan Chait, Cameron Wright, Mpilo Gumede, OJ Noa, Thembelani Bholi, Emile van Heerden, Gerbrandt Grobler, Lourens Adriaanse, Dan Jooste, Khwezi Mona. Replacements: Jason Alexander, Dian Bleuler, Wiehahn Herbst, Corne Rahl, Josh Moon, Sanele Nohamba, Murray Koster, Marnus Potgieter.

Zak one of a number of Paarl Gim products at Bulls, but he has taken a more scenic route 0

Posted on June 09, 2021 by Ken

Zak Burger is the latest in a number of Paarl Gimnasium products that have landed up at Loftus Versfeld, including Handre Pollard, Johan Grobbelaar, Stravino Jacobs and Muller Uys, but the 22-year-old scrumhalf is a bit different in that he has taken a more scenic route into the Bulls team.

Born and bred in the Cape, Burger missed out on SA Schools selection but took up a junior contract with the Sharks. It was a foot in the door at a major union, and he was chosen for the SA U20 squad for the 2018 Junior World Cup, but Burger then gambled by joining Griquas in a move that has turned out to be every bit as audacious as some of his trademark breaks from the back of the ruck or scrum.

“It was a bit of a gamble, but after the Junior World Cup I got the opportunity to play Currie Cup rugby at the age of 19 in Kimberley. So I sat with my Dad and we decided that it was a big privilege to get senior experience at my age, rather than waiting to come through the ranks at the Sharks, through the U21s into senior level.

“It worked out very well. I learnt so much in Kimberley and I ended up as captain, so now I have leadership experience from a young age. Scrumhalf is a crucial position in terms of leadership and it was a big privilege to captain Griquas. I definitely grew and became a better player there,” Burger explained on Wednesday.

In a struggling side, Burger’s vision, reading of the game and all-round ability caught the eye of Bulls coach Jake White, who snapped him up after the Currie Cup. With Ivan van Zyl’s tour of duty at Loftus soon coming to an end, Burger is going to be playing a more and more influential role alongside Embrose Papier, if he does not return to the Springbok squad.

And Burger says he is particularly looking forward to running on to the field on Friday night against the Stormers, the team he supported as a kid.

“I grew up in the Cape and went to school there, so naturally I supported Western Province. My Mom and Dad were big Stormers supporters since I was small. So I know it’s the big North/South derby and every match between the sides is very physical, I can remember Schalk Burger and Bakkies Botha going up against each other.

“I’m looking forward to Friday night, it will be lekker to play the Stormers at Loftus. I definitely don’t have a point to prove though, it’s not a grudge meeting, just another game. At the moment I’m playing for the Bulls so I want to do my best for them in every game. Losing to the Lions was a big disappointment for us, but it was a good wake-up call,” Burger said.

Beuran lands killer blows as Lions skittle ailing Cobras 0

Posted on November 12, 2020 by Ken

Left-arm paceman Beuran Hendricks landed the killer blows in a record performance as the Imperial Lions skittled an ailing Cape Cobras batting line-up for just 115 on the opening day of their CSA 4-Day Domestic Series match at the Wanderers on Monday.

Hendricks returned exceptional figures of seven for 29 in 13 overs, his career-best analysis and the best ever for the Lions against the Cobras, beating the seven for 61 fellow Proteas quick Friedel de Wet took in 2005/6.

The Cobras had bravely decided to bat first under overcast skies and Hendricks made them suffer as he swung and seamed the ball around in helpful conditions. Kyle Verreynne was the only batsman to do well, scoring 51.

The Lions then reached 152 for three by stumps and already have a first-innings lead of 37. Opener Dominic Hendricks, compact and leaving the ball well, dug in for the home side and had scored a tenacious, important 60 not out off 141 balls at the close, and captain Temba Bavuma was with him on 22.

In Bloemfontein, an outstanding unbeaten century by young Raynard van Tonder saw the Knights post 323 for seven in their match against the Dolphins.

The Knights, having won the toss, produced another solid batting display but Van Tonder was the only one to cash in as he scored a classy 119 not out.

An unflagging Dolphins attack kept plugging away though and Matthew Kleinveldt (44), Jacques Snyman (35), Pite van Biljon (39) and Farhaan Behardien (39) all made starts without going on past fifty.

The Warriors team owes Gihahn Cloete their gratitude as he ushered them to 137 for four on a rain-shortened opening day of their match against the Titans in Port Elizabeth.

Cloete showed good composure and determination as he scored 57 not out, helping the Warriors recover from 35 for two and then 84 for four. Sinethemba Qeshile is with him at the crease on 20 not out.

Lizaad Williams once again led the attack for the Titans, with two for 50 in 15 overs.

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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.”

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