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Ken Borland



Jarvis is doing what the DJs say: ‘Keep your feet on the ground & reach for the stars’ 0

Posted on January 03, 2024 by Ken

Casey Jarvis

“Keep your feet on the ground and reach for the stars” was the catchphrase of famous American radio DJ Casey Kasem, also used by renown South African disc-jockey David Gresham, and although it comes from a time well before Casey Jarvis was born, it aptly describes what the rising star is doing on golf courses around the world at the moment.

Jarvis, who turned 20 in July, is currently firmly in the mix for the South African Open title at Blair Atholl Golf and Equestrian Estate and, at the end of a breakthrough year for one of the most decorated amateurs in local history it is his mature, measured approach that has caught the eye.

It was noticeable from the second round when the SA Open organisers began using devilishly tricky pin-placements and an inconsistent, shifting wind picked up, how adept Jarvis was at not taking on the ‘sucker-flags’ and finding the best places on the greens.

Jarvis has game, of that there can be no doubt given his stellar CV, but he also has the priceless attribute of a level head. It is that strong mentality that saw him notch his first overseas win as a professional in Austria in his last couple of weeks as a teenager, as part of his dominance of the Challenge Tour that led to him winning his DP World Tour card for the coming season.

The State Mines Country Club representative was in touching distance of the lead going into the 2022 Joburg Open at Houghton Golf Club, before fading on the weekend, but he says he is a different player to the one who left South Africa to take on Europe, and those changes were apparent as he soared up the leaderboard at Blair Atholl.

“Playing overseas is so difficult, the courses in Europe are so different to back home here in SA and you’ve got to really learn how to manage your game. I’ve learnt so much since last year’s Joburg Open,” Jarvis said.

“The Challenge Tour taught me not to be as aggressive. I learnt patience – I don’t need to hit it to five feet on every hole, which I used to want to, because my putting is good enough. I don’t need to attack all the flags, I don’t need to go for every par-five in two, I must just make sure I am straight off the tee-box.

“You’ve got to manage your game and I think I’m doing that really well this week. I can still be aggressive when I need to be and I’m happy that it all seems to be coming together,” Jarvis said.

Born in Boksburg on July 28, 2003, Casey David Jarvis has a biography that makes for riveting reading.

In 2020 he won both the South African Strokeplay Championship and the South African Amateur Championship before claiming the Freddie Tait Cup for the leading amateur at that year’s South African Open. It was a treble only achieved twice before, by the legendary Bobby Locke in 1935 and by Neville Clarke, who beat Ernie Els to those amateur crowns in 1989 but only turned pro in his senior years because he had a successful career as an electrical engineer.

If Jarvis now goes on to win the SA Open at Blair Atholl, he will join Locke, an eight-time champion who also won four British Open Championships, in rarefied air.

Jarvis’s amateur career also included winning the Junior World Cup with the South African team in 2019 as well as the African Amateur Championship back-to-back in 2021 and 2022. In 2020 he was named the America-based AmateurGolf.com Men’s Player of the Year despite not playing College golf.

Jarvis was last season’s Sunshine Tour Rookie of the Year following a season in which he also became the second-youngest golfer globally to shoot a 59 on a major tour, which he achieved at the prestigious Players Championship at Dainfern.

For such a seasoned winner, triumphing on the Challenge Tour did not come easy for Jarvis, but he showed his character with his win in Austria because it came after back-to-back runners-up finishes just a month earlier in the Czech Republic and Copenhagen.

But there is a cautionary tale in flesh at Blair Atholl of young superstars burning themselves out, in Matteo Manassero, also strongly contending for the title. The Italian won three times on the European Tour as a teenager before losing his card in 2019. Now aged 30, he is back on the DP World Tour.

“There are many things that led to my struggles, but one of the most important is that I definitely became focused on results and forgot about the process and what worked for me,” Manassero told Rapport.

“Once you start going down that spiral of needing results week after week, it gets in your head and you neither improve your game nor your results. If your game is good enough week in, week out, then your results will come.

“But expectations can mean you are only focused on results and it is easy to fall into that trap. ‘Am I improving?’ should be your only focus, not making cuts, not keeping your card, not being top-50 in the world. Those are important goals but they are not the most important thing,” Manassero warned.

Fortunately, even though Jarvis admitted the Austrian win did buck him up after the two close misses, he said winning the SA Open on Sunday will not be his be-all and end-all.

“I’m just going to stick to what I’m doing, my golf feels good and I’m very comfortable and relaxed on the course, like a social round. I will just try to stay patient.

“It’s a big mental thing. I forced it for those second-place finishes, I really wanted to win and I just put more pressure on myself when there’s already enough pressure on you.

“I took a step back in Austria and just tried to go out and see what happened. I’ve learnt not to put so much pressure on myself because then I don’t play the way I want to. After finishing second so many times, to get it done was a good feeling. But I really did not expect to be doing these things when I was still so young.

“If I don’t win the SA Open, I would have learnt a lot,” Jarvis said.

Under-performing Proteas have SA cricket under enormous pressure 0

Posted on June 26, 2023 by Ken

South African cricket is under enormous pressure at the moment, with the Proteas battling to keep their heads above water in Australia at the height of summer in a Test series that enjoys considerable profile due to it being between the two sides at number one and two in the World Test Championship.

The second Test at the MCG from Boxing Day, one of the great occasions in the game, is do-or-die for the Proteas in terms of staying alive in the series; but it also offers them the chance to go into 2023 on a much-needed positive note.

There can be no doubt that the South African cricket team have underperformed in 2022. The Test format has actually been their strongest, which is why they are still in contention to play in next year’s World Test Championship final, despite having one of the weakest batting line-ups.

They began 2022 by sealing a memorable series win over India, where the batsmen showed true guts and the bowlers were superb in home conditions. Their inconsistency then came to the fore in New Zealand with an abysmal performance in the first Test, but then a brilliant effort in the second to draw the series on the home turf of the reigning WTC champions.

Bangladesh were efficiently dispatched by a Proteas team missing their IPL stars, but spinners Keshav Maharaj and Simon Harmer came to the fore, and a thumping innings win over England at Lord’s followed to really raise expectations.

But then the batting was exposed and heavy defeats followed at Old Trafford and the Oval. The Gabba massacre was a continuation of that trend.

The same batting woes often inflicted the T20 side. There were times when the Proteas looked genuine T20 World Cup contenders, like when they beat India away twice in a row in June or won the series in England. Even at the World Cup in Australia, winning a crunch game against India in Perth gave renewed hope; but they then lost to Pakistan and, most humiliatingly, to the Netherlands when just one more win would have seen them through to the semi-finals.

South Africa’s ODI form has been mediocre. The highlight of the last year was the 3-0 series win over India in the Cape, but unfortunately that did not qualify for World Cup qualification points. Their record for the rest of the year in ODIs was three wins and five losses, including a shock home series defeat to Bangladesh.

The Proteas are now struggling to automatically qualify for next year’s 50-over World Cup, especially since they are forfeiting their series in Australia, which was meant to follow the Tests, to concentrate on the SA20 competition, a desperate bid to rescue Cricket South Africa’s finances.

Those same dismal finances are the reason the Proteas are going to be desperately under-exposed at Test level over the next few years, so how can we honestly expect them (especially the batsmen) to get better in that arena? The Australia tour is the last three-Test series South Africa will play until September 2026!

The lack of attention CSA is giving to red-ball cricket is an immense frustration. There are many coaches who believe having a foundation in the skills of long-format cricket actually makes better limited-overs players, so we should not be surprised that the malaise spreads to the ODI and T20 performances.

And it’s not just the Proteas who aren’t getting enough red-ball cricket. Our domestic stars, the internationals of the future, play just seven four-day games the whole season. With the inevitable weather interventions and innings wins, some batsmen will only get 10 visits to the crease all summer.

And then there is the quality of that cricket. It is really annoying that the Proteas play such scant regard to ‘paying it back’ to the system that grew them and play so infrequently, even right before a major series like the current one in Australia.

I have no doubt our batsmen’s woes can be directly attributed to the fact their games are not sufficiently honed at domestic level. They are seldom really challenged from both ends during a game, whereas at international level they will face two fast bowlers roaring in at 140km/h or a top-quality spinner almost the whole time.

Unless these basic building blocks are fixed, we can stand by for another very frustrating year.

Beaten Bulls show the spirit that ensures they won’t be temps but contenders in Currie Cup semis 0

Posted on June 12, 2023 by Ken

Cornal Hendricks scored two tries for the Bulls against the Free State Cheetahs.

The Bulls may have scraped into the Currie Cup semi-finals, but the passion and desire they showed in going down 27-31 to the Free State Cheetahs in a match of high drama at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, securing two vital bonus points despite suffering a red card in a moment of temporary madness, means they cannot be considered temps in this competition but genuine contenders.

The Bulls nearly won the match, the final whistle going with their maul four metres from the Cheetahs’ tryline. But by scoring four tries and finishing within seven points of the Free Staters, they earned two invaluable log points that left them on 38 points, two ahead of the Lions and out of reach of Western Province (37pts), despite their thrashing of the Sharks.

Considering they played the entire second half with 14 men after eighthman Elrigh Louw was red-carded in the 38th minute, it was the stoutest of efforts, showing that the Bulls do have that never-say-die quality that will make them very dangerous semi-final opponents. They will play the Cheetahs again this weekend in Bloemfontein, but if the Free Staters underestimate the Bulls based on how they reached the last four, they will tempt fate most foolishly.

Louw was sent from the field after his shoulder made contact with the head of Cheetahs flank Siba Qoma, as he rushed into a ruck and made a clumsy attempt to clean.

By that stage, the Cheetahs had already turned around the momentum after the Bulls made a flying start, rushing into a 19-0 lead in the first quarter. With halftime beckoning, the visitors had closed to 14-19 and had lifted themselves from a lethargic start, really making their presence felt in defence and at the breakdown.

Although flyhalf Morne Steyn, in his farewell game at Loftus Versfeld, kicked a 42nd-minute penalty to stretch the lead to 22-14, the Cheetahs took control of the match as they scored two tries in five minutes to open up a 28-22 lead.

Excellent flyhalf Siya Masuku, who will be in Sharks’ colours next season, seemed to be clothing himself in either a cloak of invisibility or the most slippery substance known to man as he weaved his way through the heart of the Bulls team to score an exceptional try. Masuku succeeded with the conversion too, as he did with all four of his other kicks at goal.

In the 49th minute, hooker Marnus van der Merwe, who was like a bull in a china shop, produced another storming run that left him just short of the line, but scrumhalf Rewan Kruger picked up the ball and dived over to score.

It was not as if the Cheetahs closed up shop then either, but the Bulls just upped their game with sheer desperation. They too scrambled in defence against a team that is always so dangerous with ball-in-hand.

Masuku had the final say with a 71st-minute penalty won at a ruck, but the Bulls were up close in their rearview mirrors throughout the final quarter.

Replacement flyhalf Chris Smith was brought into action in the 54th minute as Steyn departed his home ground for the last time. The Springbok flyhalf had been more inspirational in his running of the backline than with the boot, missing three of his six kicks at goal.

It was Smith’s boot that ultimately put the Bulls into the semi-finals as, with the ferocious Cheetahs defence in his face and cutting him off from his centres, he put the deftest of crosskicks into the corner for wing Cornal Hendricks to score his second try. It was also the fourth for his team, bringing the first bonus point, and it dragged the home side back to within one point of the Free Staters, setting up a second log point.

The other legend being farewelled, hooker Bismarck du Plessis, came off the bench and had a big impact in the closing stages, both in the set-pieces and in bringing some added presence at the rucks.

The Bulls had begun the match in inspired fashion with three tries in the first 14 minutes.

Fullback Johan Goosen’s prowess in the air allowed the Bulls to attack the blindside and, with the Cheetahs defence slow to react, outside centre Stedman Gans was able to put Hendricks away for the opening try.

Two minutes later, Free State dropped the ball in their backline and wing David Kriel pounced, swivelling out of a tackle and then passing to centre Harold Vorster, who was quickly up in support and raced away for the second try.

The third try went to scrumhalf Embrose Papier, who is in such great form at the moment, but it is doubtful whether he will be able to play in the semi-final due to a hamstring injury. He sidestepped a defender and streaked away for a try after Ruan Vermaak’s super offload, the lock having burst clear after Steyn put him in a hole with a skip-pass.

The Cheetahs were very competitive in the scrums and they opened their account after getting a penalty there and going for a lineout deep in Bulls’ territory. Van der Merwe burst clear from the maul and then the similarly-built centre David Brits muscled over for the try.

Their second try also came off a lineout, but this time with a slick backline move, fullback Tapiwa Mafura dummying and then breaking the line, wing Daniel Kasende then providing a strong finish.

Given the quality the Cheetahs showed, the 14-man Bulls were just relieved to still be in the running for the Currie Cup crown.

“The team showed a lot of character and desire because the game could really have got away from us,” assistant coach Hugo van As said after the game. “We still had two or three opportunities to win right at the end, a great chance with our maul.

“But you’ve got to give the Cheetahs great credit for the way they stopped our maul and the breakdown was a big concern for us as well. We were beaten there, they came really hard at us and disrupted a lot of our plays.

“We’ve got to adapt on the day and make sure we look after our ball better. We saw in the first 20 minutes that when we get it right then we can score tries, it was a huge positive to see the interplay between forwards and backs.

“The team desperately want to send Morne and Bismarck off with a win and there is still a lot to play for. The hunger and desire is there to go further, we just need to be more clinical and make better decisions,” Van As said.

Scorers

Bulls: Tries – Cornal Hendricks (2), Harold Vorster, Embrose Papier. Conversions – Morne Steyn (2). Penalty – Steyn.

Free State Cheetahs: Tries – David Brits, Daniel Kasende, Siya Masuku, Rewan Kruger. Conversions – Masuku (4). Penalty – Masuku.

Bavuma adds another seminal moment to join his Newlands ton 0

Posted on March 10, 2023 by Ken

STICKING IT TO THEM: Temba Bavuma celebrates his masterful, inspirational century at the Wanderers.

Temba Bavuma on Friday added another seminal moment in South African cricket history, to join with his memorable maiden Test century at Newlands in 2016, as his masterful 171 not out first rescued the Proteas and then put them in firm control of the second Test against the West Indies at the Wanderers.

When the long-awaited moment of his second Test century came, one that will hopefully silence the critics who constantly bring up that statistical quirk and ignore the fact he has been South Africa’s best Test batsman for the last couple of years, it came with a flourish as he lashed fast bowler Alzarri Joseph over the covers for his 12th four. It’s a bit like refusing to rate Jacques Kallis as a great batsman before he scored a Test double-hundred.

Even though the third-day crowd at the Wanderers was small, the joy was obvious, especially in the commentary boxes where former Black African players like Makhaya Ntini, Mfuneko Ngam and Nono Pongolo celebrated with a passion that showed just how special and important Bavuma is for the majority of this country.

Those commentary boxes are in the Charles Fortune Media Centre, and one wonders how the doyen of South African radio commentary would have described the moment as Bavuma went to 100 in 254 minutes, off 192 balls. Perhaps the great John Arlott would have been better suited to capture the moment, given that he once wrote “human” on a South African customs form asking him what race he belonged to back in the dark days of Apartheid.

As usual, after he had led the Proteas from a parlous eight for two to 287 for seven at stumps, leading by 356, Bavuma had to field questions both about what happened on the field on Friday and the wider significance his exploits will have for society as a whole.

“It’s been a long journey with a lot more downs than ups,” he stated. “But I keep learning about myself, the type of person and cricketer that I am. I try and keep my chin up and always stay true to myself.

“That Temba who scored the hundred at Newlands was very young and naïve, I was ignorant to what was going on around me and the pressures and challenges of playing international cricket.

“Making it against the West Indies is sentimental and makes it even more special because I used to support them as a child. It’s also important because it’s about inspiring the next generation, allowing much more Black African batters to dream and come through and etch their name in the record books.

“There’s always that angle and perspective to everything I do. I’m sure young Temba would be very proud of this Temba today,” Bavuma said.

But the 32-year-old Bavuma made it clear that his motivation and satisfaction on Friday night had more to do with rescuing his team than reaching individual milestones, no matter how sought after they have been.

This was the sort of Wanderers pitch on which anyone who dares to chase runs is likely to come short and many of Bavuma’s team-mates were guilty of going too hard. Dean Elgar (5) and Tony de Zorzi (1) both fell looking to score off deliveries they would have been better off leaving.

Aiden Markram (18) hung around with Bavuma and tried to steady the ship, but Kemar Roach had Markram caught behind with a superb delivery.

Ryan Rickelton (10) and Heinrich Klaasen (14) were then both lured into loose strokes and South Africa were 103 for five, leading by just 172.

Even with the hot sun beating down on the pitch, there were still plenty of embers of life in the surface, but Bavuma, diminutive but standing tall as a giant, doused the West Indian attack. Staying compact and not chasing after deliveries outside the stumps, leaving well and putting away anything on his pads, Bavuma played one of the great pressure knocks in a Proteas second innings in recent times.

Wiaan Mulder dug deep and scored an invaluable 42 as he added 103 for the sixth wicket with Bavuma; Simon Harmer then contributed 19 runs, but more usefully, added another 71 with his captain.

Bavuma made it to stumps having batted for more than six hours and faced 275 deliveries, stroking 20 fours.

“It’s a key point that the team was in trouble. I always seem to find myself in these situations when I really have to try and soak up pressure, absorb and release,” Bavuma said. “I’ve done it well in the past, but without getting really big scores, and my game kinda leans towards that.

“It was a very important partnership with Wiaan, I tried to calm him down by saying he had nothing to prove because he’s done it before for the Lions and in county cricket.

“We had good synergy and the partnership with Simon was also important. It’s about the team and we are in a lot stronger position now.

“My mindset was just to stick to what I was doing. Getting a hundred was not the objective, it was getting to the end of the day’s play. It was more mentally tiring than physically, but the adrenaline kept me going,” Bavuma said.

The new South African Test captain is far too polite to publicly rub his many critics’ faces in his success, but he did say there was one monkey he now has off his back.

“I’ve never scored a first-class hundred at the Wanderers before and the guys always tease me about that, my name not being up on the honours board. I’m pleased I can stick it to them now,” a satisfied Bavuma said with a glint in his eye.

The skipper, a hero to so many in this country, produced a truly heroic performance of which he can be most proud. What a pity that with so many good things happening around this Proteas Test team, their next outing is only in December.

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