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Ken Borland



The passing of the Queen and the effect on sport 0

Posted on October 24, 2022 by Ken

The passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has not only caused great sorrow in the United Kingdom as they have lost the longest-serving monarch they ever had, but around the world where she was a much-loved figure, one of the constants of the 20th and 21st centuries and all the turmoil practically three generations lived through.

The charming sight of the Queen, always so immaculately turned out, meeting sporting teams is also now a thing of the past. I wonder if King Charles III will bring the same gravitas and elegance to the occasion …

While meeting government ministers who invariably end up delaying the scheduled starting time of whatever sporting event they are piggybacking on is not the sort of thing sports stars keep in the memory banks, and they largely annoy spectators, shaking hands with the Queen was always a memorable moment.

Part of that had to do with the fact that she was engaging, had a famously mischievous sense of humour and always had a sharp eye on proceedings. She and Prince Philip were avid cricket fans and she visited Lord’s on 25 occasions.

Jonty Rhodes scored a quickfire, sparkling century in the opening match of South Africa’s 1994 tour of England, against the Earl of Carnavon’s XI at Highclere, but his memories of that day revolve around meeting the Queen.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh had spent a few hours watching the game from a marquee and Rhodes tended to stand out whenever he was in the field – a real livewire in terms of his dazzling fielding skills, but also constantly cajoling his team-mates with handclaps and shouts of encouragement.

During the lunch break, the teams were lined up and introduced to Her Majesty and she showed how keen an observer she had been as she stopped and asked Rhodes “Are you the one making all the noise?” with an amused glint in her eye.

“Yes Ma’m, I’ve got to keep the old guys moving,” Rhodes replied, drawing a smile and a nod from the Queen before she moved on down the line.

As one would probably expect, Australian cricket teams have had rather more uncouth interactions with Her Majesty, with Dennis Lillee asking for her autograph and Rodney Hogg commenting on her attractive legs. She later sent Lillee a signed photograph of the incident and he says the photo still has pride of place in his office, while Elizabeth II apparently had a warm friendship with the late Shane Warne, who also passed away this year.

She would also routinely hand out the silverware at the Wembley football stadium, most notably when England won their only soccer World Cup, in 1966.

Prince Harry, fresh from celebrating the birth of his second child, Lilibet, in June, is known for his love of rugby. The Springboks are perhaps his ‘second team’ and his celebrations after their 2019 World Cup win, including a conversation with scrumhalf Faf de Klerk who was wearing just his famous Springbok flag underpants, gave rise to many hilarious memes.

When one thinks of the Royal Family and sport, however, the obvious main connection is with horse racing. Queen Elizabeth II has been described as the sport’s “greatest supporter”. Her royal meeting at Ascot is one of the most famous equestrian events in the world and, as an owner of thoroughbreds, she enjoyed several big wins there.

Both Nicky Henderson and Sir Michael Stoute, who trained the Queen’s horses, mentioned her thorough knowledge of all things equestrian in their warm tributes.

Her daughter, Princess Anne, rode in the 1976 Montreal Olympics, and her daughter, Zara Tindall, wife of former England rugby star Mike, won a silver medal with the Great Britain equestrian eventing team at the 2012 London Olympics.

Everitt’s focus is on why Sharks were practically residents in Edinburgh’s 22 but could only score 5pts 0

Posted on April 21, 2022 by Ken

The Sharks spent so much time in the Edinburgh 22 that they were practically residents, but they only managed to score five points in their United Rugby Championship match in Durban, so their awful finishing was unsurprisingly the focus of coach Sean Everitt’s post-match press conference.

Their 21-5 loss to Edinburgh means the Sharks have now slipped to eighth place behind the Stormers and Bulls and are in danger of slipping out of the playoff spots.

“It’s extremely frustrating when you create so many opportunities and you just can’t finish them,” Everitt said. “Against top teams, you need to take every opportunity and the points on offer.

“We got our maul going but we just could not finish off and capitalise on that. We had territorial and possession advantage, but we missed penalties and at times missed touch too.

“Our plan worked quite well and we got into position, but we just weren’t clinical enough to round off. It’s the same challenge every week.

“It’s all about accuracy at this higher level, how accurately you can execute on the opportunities you are given. We will have to review the game and see where we can get better,” Everitt said.

The defeat will place the spotlight firmly on some of Everitt’s selections. Curwin Bosch has now been given a run starting at flyhalf, but he was poor against Edinburgh, failing to kick a couple of penalties to touch and missing all three of his shots at goal, one of them from in front of the poles.

The departure of captain Lukhanyo Am to Japan has obviously unsettled the team and the Sharks are battling to replace him at outside centre, with Ben Tapuai and Jeremy Ward tried there without conspicuous success.

While the Sharks were cruising to bonus point wins over the likes of Benetton, the Scarlets and Zebre, they were still performances with a high error-count, especially in terms of finishing, and the worry was that the cracks that had been papered over would be exposed by the top URC sides.

Edinburgh certainly proved that to be the case as they made shark fin soup of the home side at a sopping wet Kings Park.

Bulls sitting pretty through utilising the services of all their players – Jake 0

Posted on April 12, 2022 by Ken

Coach Jake White says the Bulls are sitting pretty not only inside the top eight on the United Rugby Championship log but also in terms of the confidence in the squad and the depth that has been created by utilising the services of practically all of his players.

The Bulls take on the second-from-bottom Dragons in Pretoria on Saturday, fresh off a 57-12 dismantling of Scarlets at Loftus Versfeld at the weekend, which White described as being “probably the best we’ve played”. It was their third successive URC win.

“A couple of weeks ago we were 14th on the log and now we’re challenging for top place in the South African Shield,” White pointed out. “And we are improving every week.

“It’s also nice that we have created some depth, we’ve used everyone in our squad now except for Diego Appollis and Stravino Jacobs. I’m pleased there’s competition in every position, that brings out the best in the team.

“We’ve had three tough games in the last week but we’ve proved we got it right in terms of player management and selection. There’s an easier week coming up and we have a lot of confidence now,” White said.

Like fighter jets and 747s doing aerobatics together in the sky, the Bulls also scored some fabulous tries against Scarlets through the dazzling interplay of their backs and forwards.

“I said before the game that we wanted to see some enterprising play between forwards and backs and we saw that,” White said.

“We got good returns from the scrums as well, Jacques van Rooyen was good at tighthead and Robert Hunt is improving. I was very happy with Cyle Brink, the way he carries and defends, and Elrigh Louw and Ruan Nortje are backing up such good rugby week in, week out.

“There were moments in which we played really well. It was easier because we started well, scoring early takes the wind out of their sails, we probably caught them a bit.

“It’s very difficult then to play catch-up rugby, especially at altitude, in your second week up here and you have a few injuries,” White said.

Hands off our cricket, Guptas! 0

Posted on March 29, 2016 by Ken

 

It would be naïve to think, after all the dramatic revelations this week of just how far the tentacles of the Guptas have infiltrated into practically every organ of state, that sport in this country is okay. Never mind football’s problems now that Fifa have named South Africa as being complicit in bribery.

Sports Minister Razzmatazz may just want to carry on partying and living the life, hoping it all just goes away (“Fifa must retract”, have you ever?), but the government’s ability to make things just disappear doesn’t work so well in overseas courts.

And cricket could face another day of reckoning once it is exposed just how thoroughly Cricket South Africa sold out to the Guptas. It was a few years ago, but many of those same, morally deficient administrators are still on the board.

As with so many of CSA’s problems, it all started with the IPL South Africa hosted in 2009. Initially it all looked okay, a wonderful jamboree of cricket brought to our shores. But it didn’t take long for the sordid underside of the tournament to become visible.

Such a billion dollar event was obviously going to be irresistible to the rapacious Guptas and their fingers had to be in the pie. The Family (ironically, this is how they are known in cricket circles) were involved in the assault of a man in the Wanderers Long Room and when the police were called they were instructed by the Guptas to arrest the victim. It is believed he was subsequently deported.

The IPL was moved to South Africa due to security concerns surrounding the Indian general election, and the South African government instituted a requirement that anyone travelling from troubled areas of India to the tournament would have to undergo a 30-day security clearance process. But when all the Guptas’ friends from Uttar Pradesh wanted to come over for the IPL final, this requirement was mysteriously waived for them, allegedly on the instruction of the family.

A leading administrator of the time says “Many cricket administrators colluded with the Guptas, like the politicians. The Guptas controlled the administrators and Gerald Majola, especially, was their man. He was the means to their control and so, when we were fighting him, we were actually fighting the Guptas.”

Little wonder then that, when some board members, with the support of then BCCI president Shashank Manohar, called for clarity as to how the amount of R400 million paid to CSA for the tournament was spent, there was a furious response from other directors and KPMG were prevented from doing an audit.

There is no doubt there was a you-scratch-my-back-and-I’ll-scratch-yours relationship between CSA and the Guptas. The Guptas even had their family spokesman, Gary Naidoo, sitting on the board.

When Majola was finally removed from office, his successor, Jacques Faul, faced a vicious onslaught from The New Age, the Gupta newspaper.

Board members have often been invited to Saxonwold and in return the Guptas are used to being treated like royalty at cricket matches, demanding their own tables and such like. The Guptas invited the CSA board to 2010 soccer World Cup games and CSA had board meetings in the family’s R50 000 a day penthouse at the luxurious Oyster Box in Umhlanga Rocks. Security measures that have been in place for everyone else attending matches, including top CSA administrators, have been waived for the Guptas because they refused to comply.

No one seems to know for sure how much per annum stadiums like Willowmoore Park, Newlands and Kingsmead received for Sahara [the Guptas’ computer company, they even “borrowed” the name of the more famous Indian version] getting the naming rights; but the talk is it was a negligible amount.

The finger has also been pointed at TV broadcasters, with a schools cricket game at St David’s being shown live in prime time; co-incidentally one of the Gupta sons was playing.

Cricket administrators also speak of the build-up to the IPL when they were told by the Guptas not to bother keeping then sports minister Makhenkesi Stofile informed of proceedings because “we have been to the cabinet kgotla and he won’t be sports minister for long”. That’s another thing Fikile Mbalula has to answer for, given his denials about how he was put in his post in the first place.

The day is hopefully coming soon when South Africa is rid of this parasitic family, whose presence must become as unpopular as e-toll gantries given how they have sucked the blood of the people along with their corrupt accomplices.

 

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    “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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