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Ken Borland

Fox shows his class after Presidents Cup omission gave birth to plenty of controversy 0

Posted on February 10, 2023 by Ken

Ryan Fox’s omission from the International Presidents Cup team gave birth to plenty of controversy, and the New Zealander showed his class on the opening day of the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City as he soared to the top of the leaderboard with an amazing eight-under-par 64.

At the time of South African – and 2007 Nedbank Golf Challenge winner – Trevor Immelman choosing his International team, Fox was ranked 47th in the world. But half-a-dozen players ranked below him were chosen, Immelman going as far down the rankings as No.114 Taylor Pendrith.

Fox is now up to 26th in the world rankings, the second-highest in the field behind No.25 and defending champion Tommy Fleetwood. The son of former All Blacks great Grant Fox was hurt by the fact he does not play on the U.S. PGA Tour and his major showings were poor in an otherwise stellar 2022.

But Thursday was a dream day on the Gary Player Country Club course for Fox, who leads veteran Luke Donald (65) by one thanks to five birdies and an eagle on the back nine.

“I don’t know what happened to be honest,” Fox said. “I couldn’t believe Louis Oosthuizen shot 64 on this course when Tommy won in 2019. I played okay on the front nine [-1] but from the 11th hole I felt that I pretty much couldn’t miss any shot.

“I’ve become better with the Driver, I have more confidence with it now and I wasn’t as intimidated off the tee as I used to be here. I kept the ball in play better and I had a lot of good numbers in, which makes a massive difference.

“You’re not between clubs and you don’t feel like you’re guessing. It was also easier to pick the wind today, it didn’t swirl so much.

“On the back nine I was in one of those zones you don’t get very often, and in that state you just need to get out of your own way,” Fox said.

Fox made just one mistake with a bogey on the par-four third, and being that error-free was an unattainable wish for most of the 66-strong field, even though it was a mild day at Sun City.

Only three golfers were bogey-free. Incoming European Ryder Cup captain Donald was one of them with an outstanding 65, where he also burnt up the back nine with five birdies.

Italian youngster Guido Migliozzi also had four of his five birdies on the back-nine, as he signed for a bogey-free 67 and third place.

Min-Woo Lee, Fabrizio Zanotti and Richard Bland finished on four-under, while the other bogey-free round came from another Italian, Edoardo Molinari, who shot 69. He is in a tie for seventh with Richie Ramsay, Lucas Herbert, Rasmus Hojgaard and Adrian Otaegui.

The leading South Africans were Branden Grace and Justin Walters, a shot further back on two-under-par 70.

Proteas would dearly like Bavuma to play & get a good score 0

Posted on January 04, 2023 by Ken

With Tabraiz Shamsi returning to form superbly against New Zealand in their first warm-up match, the Proteas would dearly like captain Temba Bavuma to not only play but also get a good score behind his name in their final dress rehearsal for the T20 World Cup, against Bangladesh in Brisbane on Wednesday.

Bavuma has not appeared for the Proteas in two weeks due to illness, while before that he was out of action for two-and-a-half months with an elbow injury. He has struggled to find form at international level, scoring just 11 runs in four innings since his return to the national team.

So it would really solve an awkward selection dilemma if the captain can produce the goods against Bangladesh at Allan Border Field on the eve of the tournament starting. Everything else looks in place for their opening match on Monday against the top side in qualifying Group B, in which Scotland and Zimbabwe currently have wins over the West Indies and Ireland respectively.

Having spearheaded the nine-wicket win with 52 balls to spare against New Zealand in the Proteas’ first warm-up match, spinners Shamsi and Keshav Maharaj are once again the talk of the towns, enjoying the bigger Australian fields after being taken apart at times on their tour of various smaller Indian grounds.

While Wayne Parnell swung the ball up front to take wickets in his opening two overs, reducing New Zealand to 11/2, the Kiwis recovered to 52/2 after seven overs when Shamsi came on. He dismissed the big-hitting Glenn Phillips with his second ball, then bowled a wicket-maiden in his second over, and rested with outstanding figures of 3-1-6-2.

With Maharaj (3-0-17-3) taking a wicket in each of his three overs, New Zealand lost their last eight wickets for 45 runs in one ball short of 10 overs.

It was an apt reminder of how South African spin has dominated T20s against everyone except India.

“The pitch was a bit slow and that allowed us to utilise spin, but the tone was set up front and we were very disciplined in the field,” Maharaj said. “We know Shamo is world-class and it was good to see him back to his best.

“I know he has a big hand to play if we are going to progress on to bigger things in this World Cup. We were very professional and it’s important for the two warm-up games to create some momentum for us.”

Joburg Super Kings secure services of Fleming & Faf 0

Posted on October 17, 2022 by Ken

The Joburg Super Kings have secured the services of Stephen Fleming as their head coach for the inaugural SA20 tournament and the New Zealander will obviously have good memories of returning to the Wanderers, where he steered the mother franchise – the Chennai Super Kings – to the Champions League title in 2010.

As the owners of the Johannesburg franchise, it is understandable that CSK would appoint their much-admired head coach to take the reins. Fleming has won the IPL four times and been runner-up another four times during his two stints as Chennai coach.

“My last memory of being at the Wanderers was with Chennai, winning the Champions League. I remember it very fondly, it’s a wonderful ground,” Fleming said.

“First thing I remember was the support that we got through South Africa, which was a surprise for all of us. It just shows the passion of the South African cricket fans to follow good cricket.

“We like to produce that and we’re really hoping we can get good support from Johannesburg and around the country. That’s a big part of what Chennai is about,” Fleming said.

Faf du Plessis, who made his IPL bow with the Chennai Super Kings in 2011, spent a decade with the franchise and it must have been hell for him when they did not retain him ahead of this year’s IPL auction, where they then lost out on his services in a bidding war with Bangalore Royal Challengers.

But he is now back in the Chennai fold and will captain the Joburg Super Kings. Du Plessis has an impressive record at the Wanderers, averaging 40.61 in his 15 T20s there, and he made South Africa’s highest T20I score – 119 off 56 balls – there against the West Indies in 2015.

“I have an extremely lucky and long relationship with Chennai,” Du Plessis said. “When the opportunity presented itself to play for them again, I was extremely happy.

“I think the SA20 league is going to be incredibly crucial for the sustainability of South African cricket. Being involved with the IPL for the last 11 years, I’ve seen first-hand the difference that T20 leagues can have on a country’s cricket.

“You see the difference that it makes to the younger players. That knowledge, wisdom and experience that you can share with your young talent in your own country, that’s extremely important for the growth of the national team.

“I’ve been lucky as a player and as a captain to have some really good leaders in my time. Starting under Graeme Smith, then moving to AB de Villiers, then my time at Chennai Super Kings, where Stephen Fleming was really influential at the beginning of my leadership journey,” Du Plessis said.

Springboks, showed, week, long time, rugby, lacked, sharpness, nous, previous, weekend, well-beaten, All Blacks, Ellis Park, keeping, wits, about them, first half 0

Posted on September 26, 2022 by Ken

All Blacks coach Ian Foster seemed to burn with righteous indignation when he criticised the New Zealand media for a “vicious onslaught” against him, following his team’s pressure-relieving 35-23 victory over the Springboks at Ellis Park on Saturday evening.

Foster was widely expected to be fired if the All Blacks had suffered a second successive loss to South Africa, which would have been their sixth defeat in seven outings. But his All Blacks team showed glimpses of past glories as they stretched the Springboks out wide with a rapid offload game, won the breakdown battle, stood up well in the set-pieces and defended as if their lives depended on it.

“The stress has been good for me, I guess, I’ve lost one kilogramme,” Foster wryly observed. “It comes with the job but it has been a pretty vicious onslaught, particularly from the New Zealand media.

“Calling them popgun selections I feel is quite insulting to players who are giving their all for their country. But these times are the best test of character.

“I’m intensely proud of that performance. I could not be more proud, to do that at altitude with the game swinging around – there were times we could have won and times we could have lost.

“It was 0-0 for a long time and you could feel it was a real arm-wrestle, but that’s what South Africa are like here. You have to bide your time and we wanted to target the second half and tired legs with the way we wanted to play,” he said.

For the prudish, a Springboks versus All Blacks Test at Ellis Park could be one of the more grosser experiences: the crowd is almost baying for blood, coarse language flows freely and within the first 10 minutes there was a fight in the main grandstand.

But Foster, feeling vindicated, relished the occasion as the All Blacks produced their staple response to the pressures of playing in Johannesburg, notching their fifth win in their last six games there.

“It’s a pretty special occasion and the All Blacks versus Springboks rivalry often generates moments like this. I would like to thank South Africa for their contribution to this amazing spectacle,” Foster said.

“We are very proud to hang on to the Freedom Cup, it is very important to us. The performance today was the result of the last two-and-a-half weeks, this team has reformed and reshaped a bit.

“I saw the same character last week as well, but we did not get the bounce of the ball and did not play well enough. Sometimes a dramatic change just comes from playing more together.

“Long-terms success often starts with adversity. I said last week was our best performance of the year because I saw some signs of competitiveness. This game needs patience, which some people don’t have,” Foster said.

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    Mark 7:8 – “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.”

    Our foundation must be absolute surrender, devotion and obedience to God, rising from pure love for him. Jesus Christ must be central in all things and his will must take precedence over the will of people, regardless of how well-meaning they may be.

    Surrender yourself unconditionally to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, then you will be able to identify what is of man with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Then you will be able to serve – in love! – according to God’s will.

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