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Ken Borland



Elgar looking forward to home & a juicy steak on the braai 0

Posted on December 30, 2023 by Ken

Proteas captain Dean Elgar says he is looking forward to getting home and enjoying a juicy steak on the braai following his team’s 2-0 hiding in the Test series against Australia, but at least some of the hurt and embarrassment was eased by the draw they managed to secure on the final day of the third Test in Sydney on Sunday.

South Africa came through the flames on Sunday, managing to stretch their first innings from 149/6 to 255, and then making 106/2 in their follow-on innings to deny the sizzling hot Australians a 3-0 sweep. They are not scores that would usually prompt satisfied celebrations, but this Proteas team needs small victories at the moment.

“We had a conversation last night where we said we could either lie down today and let Australia roll us, creating more embarrassment, or we could fight it out for the full final day,” Elgar said.

“It was really great to see how the team responded and there were a lot of learnings today. Being hurt and embarrassed probably go hand-in-hand, but maybe we feel that a bit less now. We showed a lot of fight and there were positive signs.”

Elgar must have felt like he was a piece of meat being braaied in the flames as he endured a miserable series, scoring just 56 runs in six innings.

“I could never get going in this series and the one time I did, I managed to run myself out. I can accept being caught down the leg-side twice, but three or four times highly irritates me. That’s something different. Generally there is a way you get out, and bowlers target that.

“Ten years into my Test career and now there’s something new. I’ll have to look at it. There have been a few conversations between me and the batting coach about some extra work.

“But for now I just want to get on a plane, go home, chill out, braai, go to the bush and play some golf. Taking as much time off as I want is what I need,” Elgar said.

The 35-year-old said he still has big ambitions, however, around the whole tricky business of fixing South Africa’s Test fortunes.

“There are four-day games in February before the two Tests against the West Indies. I still have the hunger and drive, no doubt. And I really believe there’s space for CSA to entertain motivating the players more who play this format.

“There’s room for discussion around compensation for the purest format, and we also need to play more games. At the moment the number of Tests is being stripped back and we are behind the pack,” Elgar pointed out.

Schaper well-bronzed after a sweltering day at Blair Atholl … & with the SA Open lead 0

Posted on December 02, 2023 by Ken

Jayden Schaper during the third round of the South African Open at Blair Atholl Golf & Equestrian Estate.
(Photo by Carl Fourie/Sunshine Tour)

Jayden Schaper is fairskinned and baby-faced, but he came off the Blair Atholl course on Saturday looking well-bronzed after a sweltering third round of the South African Open. More importantly, he also headed for a cold shower with a marvellous 67 and a share of the lead.

The 22-year-old Schaper started the SA Open in solid fashion but under the radar as he posted back-to-back 70s to sit with the pack of 10 other golfers in 15th place. But on Saturday when temperatures in the mid-30s and wicked pin-placements combined for the toughest round yet, he stood tall and emerged as the frontrunner, along with compatriot and buddy Ryan van Velzen, for the third oldest national title in golf.

And his third round did not even start auspiciously as he bogeyed the par-five first hole. But thereafter he was tremendously controlled as he collected consecutive birdies on the fourth and fifth holes and another at the par-four ninth to reach the turn on three-under.

He then birdied the three par-fives on the back nine – the 10th, 13th and 18th holes – to finish on nine-under-par.

Van Velzen, seven months younger than Schaper and also hailing from the East Rand, followed up his stunning 65 in the second round with a solid 70 on Saturday. He made a blazing start with three birdies in four holes from the second, but a couple of bogeys followed, before his only other birdie of the third day, on the par-three 17th.

South Africans could well dominate the podium after Sunday’s final round, with Louis de Jager (70) one behind on eight-under and Dean Burmester in a tie for fourth on seven-under after a terrific 65.

Whoever adapts best to what is expected to be another ferocious test at Blair Atholl on Sunday will take the spoils, and there is a dangerous overseas contingent, led by a resurgent Matteo Manassero (-7) also scrapping for the prestigious title.

“I have some good memories of this course and this event, but today it was a brute,” a sweating Schaper said shortly after his round. “It’s very long with massive greens and it was cooking today with a dry heat that fried the greens and made things even trickier.

“I would have taken a 67 with both hands at the start of the day. I just tried to keep focused, my hands dry and my body hydrated. It was never going to be too easy making birdies today. It’s a tough course and on moving day you expect some easy pin positions and the tee-boxes being moved forward so guys can make some birdies. But it was just the opposite today and it was brutal.

“I caught a few glimpses of the leaderboard and you just try to keep yourself in it. I’ve been in a lot of positions like this, you learn from them and now it feels pretty much normal. You always want to win your national open and this would be an awesome one to make my first pro win,” Schaper said.

The prevalent view of the leaders was that patience is going to be key on a testing final day.

“The biggest thing I’ve learnt in the last year is that golf is about patience,” Schaper, one of the rising stars of South African golf, said. “I’ve based my game on consistency and I’m more than happy to have top-10s every week.

“Because of my strong junior and amateur careers, I definitely know I can handle the pressure on Sunday. Golf is about constantly growing and developing and the more experience you get, the more comfortable you feel out there,” Schaper said.

“You have to play smart golf, stay very patient and be fine with making pars out there,” Van Velzen said. “Don’t go chasing birdies with those tough flags because that’s how bogeys are made.”

T20WC player ratings as Proteas again flatter to deceive 0

Posted on February 06, 2023 by Ken

Anrich Nortje – 8

11 wickets @ 8.54, Econ 5.37, BB 4-10

Pushed himself farther than any of the other bowlers and enjoyed a superb tournament. High pace, good control and even some slower balls saw him twice take four wickets in an innings.

David Miller – 7

78 runs @ 78.00, SR 116.41, HS 59*.

The left-hander’s beloved finishing ability was to the fore against India, but unfortunately he could not repeat the heroics against the Netherlands, thanks to a spectacular catch.

Still South Africa’s best in the middle-order, he was sorely missed against Pakistan due to his back spasm.

Rilee Rossouw – 7

141 runs @ 35.25, SR 169.87, HS 109.

The crowds were cheering him after his magnificent century against Bangladesh, but he failed against India and Pakistan, while he looked threatening but gave it away versus the Netherlands. Shot-selection can sometimes let him down.

Wayne Parnell – 6.5

5 wickets @ 20.40, Econ 6.37, BB 3-15. 5 runs @ 2.50, SR 38.46, HS 3.

Did grand work up front with the new ball, but was expensive at the death, conceding 26 runs in the two overs he bowled there against Pakistan and the Netherlands. His batting was barely functional for an all-rounder.

Keshav Maharaj – 6

3 wickets @ 29.66, Econ 7.41, BB 2-27.

You can always rely on Maharaj’s left-arm spin to be tidy and controlled, which it once again was.

Quinton de Kock – 6

124 runs @ 31.00, SR 161.03, HS 63.

Magnificent in the first two games, and then his batting fell away as his feet often looked entombed in concrete. Also tended to be a bit solemn in the field, when teams normally look to their wicketkeeper to provide the spark.

Tabraiz Shamsi – 6

4 wickets @ 14.00, Econ 7.00, BB 3-20.

Only used by the Proteas in the two matches in Sydney; Bangladesh’s demise was hastened by his three wickets, but then Shamsi was put to the sword in one over by Pakistan’s Shadab Khan.

Lungi Ngidi – 5.5

7 wickets @ 16.57, Econ 8.92, BB 4-29.

Missed the match against Bangladesh but bounced back with an outstanding display against India. Was disappointing when the Proteas exited the competition in Adelaide, his performance not being up to scratch on a pitch that suited him.

Aiden Markram – 5.5

99 runs @ 24.75, SR 125.31, HS 52. 1 wicket @ 21.00, Econ 7.00, BB 1-16.

Always looks so technically correct at the crease, and his half-century against India was an innings of proper class. Got in and got out though against Pakistan and the Netherlands. Bowled three overs of tidy off-spin.

Heinrich Klaasen – 5

36 runs @ 18.00, SR 133.33, HS 21.

The difficulties of the role can be seen in the performances of the Proteas’ back-up finisher. Would obviously have liked to have changed the results of the two matches he played in, against Pakistan and the Netherlands, but his strike-rate was okay.

Temba Bavuma – 3.5

70 runs @ 17.50, SR 112.90, HS 36.

Again found life at the top of the order tough, although his 36 off 19 balls against Pakistan seemed to have revitalised him. Can there be any future for him in T20 Internationals?

Kagiso Rabada – 3.5

2 wickets @ 75.50, Econ 9.43, BB 1-24.

South Africa’s premier fast bowler was a bit like the husband who does not do his chores around the house. The expectation was there, in perfect conditions for him, and he looked good at the start of the tournament, but he was tardy in the last two matches.

Tristan Stubbs – 3

31 runs @ 10.33, SR 100.00, HS 18.

An unforgiving World Cup debut for the 22-year-old as he was just not able to provide much acceleration at the death. Perhaps he pushed too hard, too early, but the Proteas should certainly give him more opportunities.

Sharks looking to take away Leinster quick ball & phases 0

Posted on December 14, 2022 by Ken

Irish powerhouses Leinster, especially at home, thrive on quick ball and phase-after-phase of ball-in-hand attack, but the Sharks will be looking to take that away from them in their United Rugby Championship clash in Dublin on Saturday night.

James Venter and Dylan Richardson, both traditionally openside flanks, will continue to play in tandem in a mobile loose trio that sees Springbok Sikhumbuzo Notshe return as starting eighthman and the hardworking Phepsi Buthelezi on the bench.

And the more Leinster recycle the ball through rucks, the more they will bring Venter and Richardson, both expert ball-stealers, into play.

“We know that Leinster rely on lightning-quick ball at the breakdown and we need to slow that down,” Sharks coach Sean Everitt said on Friday. “But they do concede turnovers, and if we defend well then that could be a source of attacking possession for us.

“Leinster have an all-round game, a good kicking game forces you to play in the wrong areas and then their attack is really dangerous, they enjoy keeping ball-in-hand.

“But hopefully we can wear them down, get on top at the breakdowns and then get behind them. The amount of work that Dylan and James gets through stands us in good stead.

“Dylan is an all-round loose forward, he can play on the blindside too because he is physical, his carries are very good and he gets a lot of them. He’s good on the ground too,” Everitt said.

The Sharks have won both of their matches on tour thus far, but it’s not as if they have peacefully gone about securing that unbeaten record. They had to withstand a fierce second-half comeback from Zebre in Parma, eventually holding on 42-37, and last weekend they mounted the last-ditch effort, snatching a 20-19 win over the Dragons in Newport.

Everitt knows how steep the challenge is away to Leinster and he knows they need their all-round game to click.

“It’s a massive game for us to see where we’re at because we’re going to have a number of games without our Springboks. We’re under no false illusions, but teams have beaten Leinster and we beat them in Durban last season.

“We have to improve the areas that have let us down the last two weeks. Our attack was brilliant in the first game, but our defence let us down in the second half. Last weekend our defence was good but the attack was poor.

“So we need to get consistency in both of those areas. It’s going to be a great challenge because Leinster weren’t the top side in Europe for five years for nothing,” Everitt said.

Sharks team – Aphelele Fassi, Werner Kok, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Ben Tapuai, Thaakir Abrahams, Boeta Chamberlain, Grant Williams, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Dylan Richardson, James Venter, Hyron Andrews, Justin Basson, Thomas du Toit (c), Kerron van Vuuren, Ntuthuko Mchunu. Bench: Dan Jooste, Dian Bleuler, Carlu Sadie, Reniel Hugo, Phepsi Buthelezi, Cameron Wright, Nevaldo Fleurs, Marnus Potgieter.

Kickoff – 6.05pm.

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