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Ken Borland

The joke’s on Lawrence as Strydom goes out & breaks his course record himself 0

Posted on March 29, 2023 by Ken

Ockie Strydom told fellow South African Thriston Lawrence that someone needed to address the problem of his inability to break the Blair Atholl course record on the second day of the South African Open, and he then went out and did it himself as they both thoroughly entertained the public and ended on top of the leaderboard on Friday.

Lawrence had led after the first day as he fired an eight-under-par 64, equalling the course record he set in October 2021 in the Blair Atholl Championship. Strydom jokingly ribbed him about being unable to break the record on the driving range on Friday morning … and then went out and shot a phenomenal nine-under-par 63 that rocketed him up the leaderboard to second.

Lawrence held on to his lead, however, as he posted an impressive five-under 67 in the second round, moving to 13-under for the tournament, two ahead of Strydom.

“I said to Thriston that someone must break the course record today and he just said ‘We’ll see’,” Strydom said after his bogey-free round that included two hat-tricks of birdies, from the fifth hole and the 11th hole.

“But I had plenty of fun, it was pleasant out there and I hit the ball as well as I can and in the right places. I played it safe to the tough flags and just made sure I missed in the right places.

“Today was exceptional and I am in a good position. On the weekend I will just try to keep my head in the game, be positive and go out and hit the ball as well as I can,” Strydom said.

Lawrence sealed his lead, and held off Strydom’s challenge, by making four birdies in his last five holes.

“Ockie had an unbelievable round today, but fortunately I had a good finish,” Lawrence said. “He said this morning that I must break my course record and now he has done it.

“It will be lekker playing together in the third round and hopefully we can make sure a South African wins the tournament.”

Lawrence continued to attack the longest course in DP World Tour history off the tee, saying “Driver has been the best club in my bag all year”. Starting his round on the 10th hole, he birdied the 12th and 13th, but his round then lost a bit of momentum as he made pars the rest of the way to the turn, three-putting the par-five 18th for par. Bogeys at one and four meant his lead was well and truly under threat, but he then sank a series of impressive putts to pull clear again.

Frenchman Clement Sordet (66) and amateur Christian Maas (65) both enjoyed brilliant days as they moved to 10-under and tied for third.

Maharaj: Proteas need to ensure such a terrible batting display does not happen again 0

Posted on November 28, 2022 by Ken

South Africa’s top-order produced a terrible batting display in the first T20 against India in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday, crashing to nine for five after being sent in to bat, and top-scorer Keshav Maharaj admitted that they had been caught unawares in the powerplay and needed to look at ways of ensuring such a parlous start does not happen again.

The Proteas eventually made it to 106-8 thanks largely to Maharaj’s greatly determined 41 off 35 balls, while there were also rearguard knocks by Aiden Markram (25) and Wayne Parnell (24). But despite a shaky start they saw them reduced to 17-2 in the seventh over, India cruised to victory by eight wickets with 20 balls to spare, thanks to unbeaten half-centuries by Lokesh Rahul and Suryakumar Yadav.

“We don’t want to dwell too much on the match, but there are things we can address and hopefully rectify,” Maharaj said after the awful start to the tour. “We do need to chat about how we started.

“When you are put under pressure like that then it’s very difficult to come back. But we showed some fight and we can build on that. It showed great character to go from nine for five to 106, we made a game of it and there are a lot of positives from that.

“But we need to adjust better against the new ball, they were getting a lot of swing, so we needed a change of plan and mindset. We didn’t expect the ball to swing so much, and the pitch was also two-paced, there was a lot of tennis ball bounce, so it was not easy.

“We need to find a way to combat the swing up front and our application at the top also needs to be looked at. But the ball was swinging prodigiously and we were just trying to get to the 16th over and not get bowled out,” Maharaj said.

Losing five wickets in the powerplay was the difference between the two sides though, as Rahul dug in and Suryakumar scored an inspired 50 not out in 33 balls.

“With five wickets down in the powerplay, you’ve still got to be focused. We wanted to try and get to 16 overs and not get bowed out, and then unfortunately Wayne got out.

“Our seam bowlers also did really well in the powerplay, KG Rabada and Wayne were exceptional. Small moments went India’s way, but they batted exceptionally well.

“It was always going to be very difficult to come back from five wickets down in the powerplay, maybe it was a bit of rustiness on our part. Hopefully we can execute much better and make the second T20 more exciting.

“Conditions were in the bowlers’ favour, but full credit to Deepak Chahar and Arshdeep Singh for landing the ball in the right areas. They had us under pressure in the powerplay,” Maharaj said.

Bok team might not have been prim & proper, but Wales could only snatch victory at the death 0

Posted on August 22, 2022 by Ken

The Welsh may not have felt the Springboks’ selection for the second Test in Bloemfontein was prim and proper for the occasion, but in the end they needed a 78th-minute try and a brilliant touchline conversion by Gareth Anscombe to win 13-12 and celebrate their first victory in South Africa.

Here are four Talking Points from the game:

Did Jacques Nienaber’s selection gamble pay off?

No. And it’s not as if several players took the chance to make a big statement either. Of the 19 new players chosen, eighthman Evan Roos was probably the standout with a busy first half featuring several strong carries, while wing Kurt-Lee Arendse looked threatening on attack.

Nienaber will at least have more clarity in terms of selection now, and will know that the vast majority of the team that played in the first Test in Pretoria will be his first-choice players going forward.

The decider in Cape Town next weekend will surely see the Springboks field their proper team.

Many a slip between the cup and the lip

There were periods when the Springboks cooked up all the ingredients to turn their territorial dominance into points, but several times it was like the fork nearing the mouth but the food falling off.

South Africa just could not convert some bright attacking moments into a single try, all 12 of their points coming from four Handre Pollard penalties, but the captain also missed two penalties which proved crucial in the long run.

Credit must be given to the steely Welsh defence, but the Springboks need to polish up those finishing touches.

Mixed fortunes for new caps

While starting debutants Roos and Arendse did well, the four new caps coming off the bench did not have much impact. Loosehead prop Ntuthuko Mchunu earned a penalty from his first scrum with a mighty shove, but then conceded a penalty for scrumming in that gave Wales the territory to launch their matchwinning try.

Ruan Nortje and Deon Fourie could not turn the shifting momentum in the final quarter and reserve scrumhalf Grant Williams came on when Pollard left the field with a leg injury. The Springboks will be hoping it was just cramp, otherwise there will be fresh problems at flyhalf after Elton Jantjies’ off-colour display in the first Test.

Credit to Wales

The tourists defended with tremendous zeal and dominated the aerial battle, which was enough for them to win a tightly-contested battle. Initially it seemed like Wales were going to struggle in the scrums and lineouts, but Wayne Pivac’s side fought back to level the playing field in those crucial set-pieces. They were also tenacious at the breakdown and flank Tommy Reffell was named man of the match in his second Test.

Smith the older brother SA cricket needed … and then spurned 0

Posted on May 27, 2022 by Ken

Graeme Smith may have only been 22 years old when he was appointed as national captain in 2003, but democracy in this country was only nine years old then and the Proteas were a bit of a mess, so in many ways he was the big, older brother South African cricket desperately needed.

As a brash young man still trying to make his way in international cricket, Smith was probably only fully aware of the culture problems within the team after a few years. After the disappointment of the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean, Smith set about fixing the Proteas, alongside manager Mohammed Moosajee, who was appointed in 2008, and the input of life coaches like Paddy Upton and Jeremy Snape.

Protea Fire and a far more inclusive culture were born, one which acknowledged that they were representing a country which had a divided past. Honesty and Ubuntu were required, they were playing for more than just themselves.

The result was a much happier team and it showed in performance as they became the No.1 side in the world.

When Smith retired in 2014 he hoped the Protea Fire legacy would live on. How sad it must have been for him that, just five years later, the Proteas were in rack and ruin. Typical of the leader he is, Smith agreed to try and restore South African cricket to former glories by becoming Director of Cricket at the end of 2019.

But worse was to follow as the very people who had pushed Cricket South Africa to the precipice then spearheaded a campaign against Smith. It culminated in the Social Justice and Nation-Building hearings, where it seemed as many vile untruths were spoken as there were painful reminders of a shameful past.

The totally inadequate work of Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza was finally undone this week when Smith was cleared of all charges of racism by an independent arbitration hearing. CSA gave notice of their defeat – with costs – at 9pm on a Sunday night and board chairman Lawson Naidoo issued a statement that said it was now “appropriate to recognise the extraordinary contribution that Graeme has made to South African cricket”. It was almost as if the history we know we lived through as Proteas fans was now officially approved.

Unfortunately, there is lasting damage – one only has to see on social media the bitter divisionists refusing to accept the arbitrators’ findings – and Naidoo’s closing comment – “we very much hope that he will still work in the cricket world in appropriate capacities going forward” – hints at the fact that Smith’s expertise as the most experienced captain in Test history is now probably lost to South African cricket and will be snapped up by some other country.

If it’s not bad enough losing so much talent and I.P. to overseas teams thanks to the exchange rate, we are also actively chasing away people who could contribute so much good to our sport.

Head coach Mark Boucher’s disciplinary hearing is still to come and the outcome of Smith’s arbitration suggests there is still hope that the ‘tentative’ and unproven but damning allegations made by the SJN will receive the proper, unbiased and legally sound treatment they deserve.

A new Director of Cricket is also still to be appointed, with Enoch Nkwe probably still the favourite to succeed Smith.

Having to appoint a new head coach for tough tours of India, England and Australia as his first task would not make his life any easier, but then again the good of the Proteas, who bring in 80% of CSA’s income, is way down the list of priorities of those who have grudges to settle.

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