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Ken Borland



How do the Sharks make sure they do the business against the Bulls? 0

Posted on March 07, 2022 by Ken

Sharks hooker Bongi Mbonambi said not allowing outside influences to affect the inside of the team, and pulling together to make sure there were consistent energy levels between the forwards and backs, were the main things they needed to improve on from their loss to the Stormers if they are to beat the Bulls in their United Rugby Championship match in Pretoria on Saturday.

But are there any other things the Sharks need to do to make sure they do the business against the Bulls?

  1. They need to start much better.

Especially playing away from home, as they were last weekend and will be at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, they cannot afford to allow the home team to settle and dictate the run of play. But the Sharks seemed somehow distracted and not fully focused on the task at hand against a fired-up Stormers side. The Sharks lacked energy and intensity in the opening exchanges, which perhaps contributed to several handling errors. It meant they struggled to gain any momentum.

  1. They need secure, more consistent set-pieces.

Solid set-piece displays were a feature of the Sharks’ impressive win in Johannesburg a fortnight ago and their scrummaging was outstanding against the Stormers in Durban, although they still allowed their opponents to sneak the draw. But in Cape Town, they gave away crucial scrum penalties and were untidy at key moments in the lineouts. Their woes in Pretoria recently have started up front and they cannot afford to give the Bulls an advantage in the set-pieces.

  1. They need to fix their breakdown work.

You can tell the opposition have enjoyed a field day at the rucks when their openside flank gets man of the match as Deon Fourie did in Cape Town. The Sharks conceded turnovers and penalties at the breakdown at vital moments, which needs to be rectified. Their lack of organisation and/or accuracy at the breakdown is also having a telling effect on their attacking efforts because they are not securing enough quick ball.

  1. They need to sort out their personnel at flyhalf and inside centre.

Although he is a quality player, moving Lukhanyo Am to inside centre seems to have adulterated their backline, with his defensive organisation sorely missed at outside centre. Bringing Marius Louw back into the No.12 jersey would allow Am to have his usual impact at No.13, but flyhalf is also a troubling position for the Sharks. What Tito Bonilla brought on attack was undone by his defensive lapses.

CSA placing on record all their transformation initiatives 0

Posted on July 17, 2020 by Ken

Eastern Cape Cricket on Thursday called on Cricket South Africa (CSA) to do “something tangible to put an end to racism at all levels of the sport”, perhaps unaware that the national body had already released a statement the previous night placing on record all the initiatives they have already implemented to ensure transformation of the cricket system.

CSA also reaffirmed their support for the Black Lives Matter movement and said it welcomed both Lungi Ngidi’s initial statement in this regard and the letter of support made by 36 Black coaches and former players.

CSA said they have spent nearly R385 million on cricket transformation and development in the 2019/20 financial year alone and will continue to invest resources in those programs. They pointed out that 10 of the 12-person CSA Board, including president Chris Nenzani and vice-president Beresford Williams, are Black, six of them being Black African. CSA has 64 full-time employees, 52 of which are Black.

In terms of coaching, 92% of nationally accredited coaches in South Africa are Black and 67% of national umpires and match referees.

According to the CSA statement, they support 612 township-based cricket clubs, 1052 township primary school cricket clubs and 572 township high school cricket clubs. They added, however, that the facilities in these areas remain a huge area of concern for the organisation.

Meanwhile, Rassie van der Dussen showed why he is not just a superb batsman but also a top-class human being as he became the first White current Protea to publicly back the Black Lives Matter movement.

“I support BLM, I’m against all murders, physical, character and cultural murder. I support equal opportunities for all. Because I support BLM it does not mean that I support violence or Marxism, therefore I refuse to be labelled by people,” Van der Dussen said in a tweet.

“The Boards of Eastern Province Cricket and the Eastern Cape Cricket Warriors franchise call on Cricket South Africa to take to heart the racism issues raised by former national players and coaches – many of whom are from the Eastern Cape. It is not enough to merely condemn incidents of racism and to publicly support the Black Lives Matter movement. Something tangible must be done to put an end to racism at all levels of the sport – and particularly at professional level where the example needs to be set,” the Eastern Cape Cricket statement said.

Andrew Breetzke, the CEO of the South African Cricketers’ Association, told Sport24 on Thursday that a re-evaluation of both their and CSA’s role in systemic racism needs to take place.

“SACA has life skills programmes that deal directly with diversity in teams and we need to revisit that. We have systems in place that have dealt with issues where players feel they have been unfairly treated in the past, and that still stands, but we need to look at them again. We are, and have always been, there to take up issues for players. In any given season, there are a number of issues that are raised. The system does work. 

“What has come to the fore in the last two weeks, though, is the unconscious biases that exist and that requires some work from everybody. We’re pleased that players are speaking up about things that have impacted their careers in the past. We have to welcome that. We have to have those discussions. That’s how we look at this and it’s incumbent on all stakeholders to look within,” Breetzke said.

A statement from the Proteas team regarding the Black Lives Matter movement was expected on Thursday but had still not been made at the time of going to press.

Dudley Pringle Dam, Maidstone 0

Posted on July 23, 2018 by Ken

 

IMG_2733[1]

Looking down on the Dudley Pringle Dam outside Maidstone

The KwaZulu-Natal North Coast is generally extremely degraded habitat due to the development of extensive sugarcane fields and timber plantations, as well as the high levels of urbanisation and the roads and alien plant infestations it brings.

The natural vegetation of the coastal belt is classified as Endangered; comprising Moist Coastal Forest, Thorn and Palmveld; bushed grassland and bushland thicket. But these days, as you venture north from Durban, it is just a sea of sugarcane, endless and monotonous.

The undulating topography of the area – rolling hills heading westwards to the plateau in the central regions of the province – with steep sloping ground, means only sugarcane can really be considered as a permanent crop, because the ground is either too wet or too sloping to grow much else.

The valley bottoms are where more indigenous flora is found and, having spotted a dam on the maps of the Maidstone area, I decided to head there to see what the birdlife would be like around this colonial village that was built for the employees of Tongaat Hulett Sugar Company.

But in order to find my way down to the dam, I had to negotiate a myriad of little tracks through the monoculture. Being towards the end of May, it was also the dry season and I wasn’t expecting much. But it was proven otherwise as the canefields threw up some birds of their own.

For good birding habitat, the drainage streams between canefields with irrigation water still in them proved a hit with the birds, including Whitewinged Widow, but it was still a surprise when a couple of Spurwinged Goose turned up where the water had collected into a small pool near the road.

You wouldn’t find Southern Africa’s largest duck (it’s not a real goose) in the actual sugarcane but it is generally common and conspicuous at inland waters and fallow fields, usually being seen in flight.

Two Southern Red Bishop males, surprisingly still in breeding plumage, went towering upwards in the sky nearby.

While the Stonechat was the most common bird, the Fantailed Widowbird is the common Euplectid of sugarcane fields, flying up out of the rows of green, alongside the Yellowthroated Longclaw, which is more a bird of the lower reaches of South Africa, as you head towards the sea, being far more widespread than the endemic Orangethroated (Cape) Longclaw, and flying up from the grass on the tracks that cut through the cane.

The only natural habitats available on-site are restricted to a few isolated patches of riparian vegetation along water courses, where I was able to confirm the winter presence of Redwinged Starling along with a family of Vervet Monkey, and the major feeder for Dudley Pringle Dam is the Wewe River, part of the Tongaat River catchment.

IMG_2734[1]

The island in the middle of Dudley Pringle Dam – how I would love to bird there!

The dam itself is not very accessible but I did manage to find one spot to walk around, a launching area for a local canoe club.

Little flocks of Fantailed Widowbird, the males with their red shoulder patches, flew up out of the tall, moist grassland around the dam, over which Egyptian Geese were flying.

A Threebanded Plover, which has been recorded breeding in the area, was nodding along on the dilapidated weir, while a few pairs of African Jacana, an unlikely bird to see on sugarcane farms, were squabbling and flying around and then settling in the waterweed.

Another surprise was when a Whitebreasted Cormorant came gliding into view from around the corner of the dam, and I was delighted to see a few Little Bee-Eater hawking insects from the reeds on the dam shore.

There is more vegetation, including stands of bamboo, around the dwellings on the farm, and it was interesting to see a Fiscal Flycatcher in the same tree as the more fierce bird it mimics in appearance, the Fiscal Shrike.

A similar example of mimicry in which one birds looks confusingly similar to another highly aggressive bird occurs between the Southern Black Flycatcher and the Forktailed Drongo, with the Flycatcher hypothesised to gain some sort of advantage by looking like the more rapacious Drongo.

Coincidentally, a Southern Black Flycatcher was spotted in the tree right next door to a Forktailed Drongo.

Where is Dudley Pringle Dam?

Sightings list

Forktailed Drongo

Hadeda Ibis

Redwinged Starling

Southern Black Flycatcher

Cape Wagtail

Fiscal Shrike

Grassveld Pipit

Fiscal Flycatcher

Tawnyflanked Prinia

African Stonechat

Vervet Monkey

Southern Red Bishop

Spurwinged Goose

Redeyed Dove

Blackeyed Bulbul

Whitewinged Widow

Yellowthroated Longclaw

Fantailed Widowbird

Egyptian Goose

Threebanded Plover

African Jacana

Whitebreasted Cormorant

Little Swift

Litte Bee-Eater

 

Gauteng’s treasures mirror what SA cricket could look like 0

Posted on May 16, 2016 by Ken

 

It may take a long time for the whole procession of winners to come up for their trophies and certificates, but they are like precious treasure for them,  and the fact that awards dinners usually focus on the club levels that are so crucial to any sport means I like them.

One of my favourites is the Gauteng Cricket Board awards banquet, which was held this week at the Wanderers Club, because, for me, it mirrors what I imagine transformed cricket in South Africa should look like.

This is a union that, a few years ago, was suffering from such internal strife and mistrust that the different clubs across the colour divides could barely sit in the same room together. And yet, there they all were, clubs from Soweto, Greenside, Lenasia, Riverlea, Jeppe, Azaadville, Thokoza and Florida, all enjoying a festive, celebratory evening together, all driven by MC Joey Rasdien’s wonderful mix of wicked humour and stern admonitions to keep focused on the prizegiving.

The current leadership of the GCB, from president Thabang Moroe, to the board, CEO Greg Fredericks and the staff, deserve credit for how they have dug Gauteng cricket out of their off-field hole.

Their professional teams, the Gauteng Strikers and the Highveld Lions, continue to win trophies on the field, and the Lions’ victory in the Momentum One-Day Cup means they have now won all the domestic trophies (four in total) in the four seasons that Geoff Toyana has been coach.

I would like to pay special tribute to Toyana (and senior players like Stephen Cook and Neil McKenzie) because it would have been easy for the Lions to find themselves in a hole on the playing field.

Toyana has managed to keep an often fractious dressing room – the outer veneer of a happy team is misleading because there are some difficult personalities that rub each other up in the changeroom – focused and winning, which is no mean feat and speaks volumes for his man-management.

The awful cloud of matchfixing has also hung heavily over the team and seeing a handful of his players being investigated for corruption has been like a kick in the solar plexus for Toyana.

National call-ups and SA A duties have also taken key players in and out of the team, but Toyana has handled this as well and the Lions have remained a force to be reckoned with.

In roughly the same time period Russell Domingo has taken the Proteas from the top two in all three formats to sixth in Tests, third in ODIs and fourth in T20s.

Steps have to be taken to arrest this slide. I certainly believe South Africa has the players to return to the heights of 2012, so the issue has to be related to the leadership and management of the side.

Cricket South Africa could do worse than to think seriously about elevating Toyana to the national coaching job. I believe he is one of those rare coaches able to both groom young talent – think of how Temba Bavuma, Aaron Phangiso, Eddie Leie, Hardus Viljoen, Chris Morris and Kagiso Rabada have all made it into the national squad – and also to get the best out of wise old experienced players such as Cook, who is batting better and better, Alviro Petersen and McKenzie before he retired.

A player like Dwaine Pretorius has also blossomed under Toyana and the all-rounder, named the most valuable domestic player of last season by the SA Cricketers’ Association, is going to be knocking on the door for national honours as well.

A promotion for Toyana would allow Gauteng cricket to reflect on great success at both the upper and lower levels of the game, and they are certainly going to continue pushing the Titans hard for the honour of being South Africa’s premier franchise.

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    Don’t be so busy – even working for God – that you don’t have regular quiet time. Don’t let your activities become more important than your time with the Father. You can be alive ‘for’ God without experiencing the presence and power of the living Christ.

    “Attempting to serve the Lord without the strength of the Holy Spirit results in frustration and ultimate disaster.

    “If your vision of him grows dim, your service will become powerless and ineffective. This will happen if your spiritual reserves are not regularly replenished through prayer and meditation.

    “You must put him first in all your activities. Your service for him must be the result of your intimate knowledge of him. Only when he enjoys priority in all things, can you understand life from his perspective. Putting Christ first in your life and work makes you a more capable servant of God.” – A Shelter From The Storm, Solly Ozrovech



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