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Ken Borland

Floyd surely not far from breakthrough victory given recent form 0

Posted on July 01, 2024 by Ken

Talented 19-year-old golfer Kiera Floyd is surely not far from her breakthrough Sunshine Ladies Tour victory given her recent form, and this week’s Absa Ladies Invitational being played at her home course of Serengeti Estates may just give her that extra edge that leads her to her first professional title.

Floyd has finished in the top-10 of her last two events, the Fidelity ADT Ladies Challenge and the Standard Bank Ladies Open, while she also contended strongly in the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am at Fancourt, before shooting 84 in the final round to finish tied-15th.

And the good news for her is that the Serengeti layout is just her cup of tea. Floyd’s length and accuracy off the tee should see her prosper on the 5688m course.

“I’ve been playing Serengeti for many years and I’m really looking forward to this tournament. Serengeti has a lot of signature holes, which can make it a make-or-break situation. Just none of the holes are the same, there’s always something different thrown at you and usually a bunker in the way too,” Floyd says.

“It’s not a very open course, but it all depends on where you play it off the tee. It’s definitely not the same as the other courses we’ve played this season, for me it is special, I really like the layout and it has its own way of playing it.

“I’m feeling really confident, I’m playing really nicely at the moment. The course is a bit longer, which suits me because I am a long hitter. But I still have to play well, I can’t take things for granted just because it is my home course,” Floyd says.

The second-year pro has always quickly conquered the different levels of the game, and her maiden Sunshine Ladies Tour win cannot be far away judging by her previous achievements. Floyd won the Benoni Country Club Ladies Championship aged nine, she finished third in the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s Jabra Classic aged 14, and she won the South African Women’s Strokeplay Championship in 2022 before turning professional at the beginning of last year. She has already racked up six top-10 finishes on tour.

But on a course with so many different layers of difficulty, she has identified staying calm during the inevitable tough times as the key element of her game that needs to improve for her to make that next step into the winner’s circle as a professional.

“I’ve struggled a bit in the past events with keeping my head up if I make a bogey or a hole does not go well. I need to be more consistent, put both nines together. You need that consistency so if you start on a roll then you can keep it going. I need to stay patient to get the ‘W’, just work my way through the course and whatever happens, happens,” Floyd said.

Her contemporary Gabrielle Venter won the Standard Bank Ladies Open at Royal Cape Golf Club three weeks ago, giving Floyd a lot of confidence she can make it back-to-back South African winners when the Absa Ladies Invitational gets underway at Serengeti on Thursday.

But there will be other winners providing a stiff challenge in the R1.2 million event as well, such as seasoned champion Lee-Anne Pace, Germany’s Helen Kreuzer and India’s Tvesa Malik, already winners on tour this season, as well as strong South African challengers such as Stacy Bregman, Nicole Garcia and Cara Gorlei, and the consistent Alexandra Swayne from the U.S. Virgin Islands, who has not finished outside the top-14 yet this campaign.

Recent instalments of U19 Week had no official winner, but this year Lions undisputed champions 0

Posted on February 21, 2024 by Ken

Recent instalments of the Khaya Majola Week for the country’s best U19 boys cricketers have not seen an official winner declared, but even if that policy had continued this season, there would have been no doubt the Central Gauteng Lions were the undisputed champions of the event in Makhanda at the end of last year.

Our young Lions Pride were the only side that went through the week unbeaten and had three players named in the prestigious SA Schools team, as well as another two in the SA Colts side.

 The Central Gauteng Lions U16 girls also went unbeaten through their national Week in Pietermaritzburg and played some brilliant cricket. 

According to boys U19 coach Ahmed Nawab, excellent preparation was top of the list of reasons for his team finishing first.

“The most important thing was preparation and it was very specific in order to ensure the team played as a unit. It was my third year with the team and it took a couple of years of hard work to get that elusive first title,” Nawab says.

“The boys played really well and they trusted our preparation and plans. We started with a winter group of players, to work on player development, and the U16 national weeks in the last couple of years also helped us to identify potential talent.

“We would have specific days of training where we were building towards the Khaya Majola Week, we prepped through the winter and we also had a trials week. All of that was also very important for me to understand the players better, to build trust and relationships. It has been a very important exercise to show our depth as a union,” Nawab says.

While providing six members of the SA U19 World Cup squad is a source of tremendous pride for the Central Gauteng Lions union, it did make life terribly difficult at times for the coaching staff because it meant our young Pride had to rely on other players to triumph at the Khaya Majola Week.

“A lot of the time our six SA U19 players were not available because they had to go away to national camps. We had them all together for a week-and-a-bit before going to Makhanda and once we were there, they each had to sit out at least one game in the Week,” Nawab explains.

“So the rest of the squad had to understand that they themselves were actually the core of the team and it was up to them to put us in the good position. The key performances during the Khaya Majola Week actually came from those outside the national squad.

“Our two main values as a team were to be resilient because conditions meant you had to grind, and to make sure that all our sticks were in the fire, burning bright,” Nawab says.

While the new-ball bowling of Kwena Maphaka and Esosa Aihevba befitted their status as SA U19 stars, Fayaaz Vawda was also phenomenal up front; Luke Francis played a couple of key innings that dug the side out of tough situations; and Tjaart Mentz was an absolute find for the Lions, coming from one of the smaller cricketing schools in Helpmekaar. He showed he can hit a long ball as well as playing unorthodox strokes, while his wicket-to-wicket bowling was also very useful.

 But the talent in the Central Gauteng Lions U16 girls team is just as exciting. Neo Molefe, who scored back-to-back centuries without losing her wicket in the opening two games, was named both batter and player of the tournament. Fay Cowling was honoured as all-rounder and fielder of the week.

“There’s definitely a lot of talent in Lions cricket and our winning week was testimony to that,” triumphant coach Teboho Ntsukunyane says. “We did lots of hard work in preparation, we began our work earlier in the year so that we could expose the girls to lots of middle time.

“By August I had pretty much identified our squad and we were able to work in groups. I already knew the balance I wanted and the girls really complemented each other. In October we played games against senior Division II teams just to try and expose our players more and see how they expressed themselves under pressure.

“We also had some specific preparation like getting them to bowl at our senior DP World Lions star Sunette Viljoen-Louw, who hits the ball so hard, so they could get used to that. Their mental strength got better and better and all that exposure meant they were able to handle the pressures of the Week in Pietermaritzburg.

“That also enabled us to get our conditioning on-point and hone our game-plan, our role-clarity was very good and we understood what brand of cricket we wanted to play. Then it was just a case of making it easy for the girls to express themselves,” Ntsukunyane says.

The success of the Lions U19 and U16 teams is a clear warning to their rivals that they intend to dominate domestic cricket for a while yet.

“It really is a proud moment for us as Lions cricket to have witnessed the performances of our teams in both our regional and national Weeks hosted in all parts of South Africa. The achievements are testament to the hard work done over a long period of time in preparation of the players. We knew that 2023 was going to be rough with all the changes implemented to the format of the Weeks and the trophies at stake. These changes include the promotion and relegation at both U16 and U18 for boys’ and girls’ sections,” Reuben Mandlazi, the CGL Cricket Services Manager, says.

“One could not be prouder with the achievements of both U16 girls and U18 boys as they were crowned champions and the U16 boys and U18 girls finished third. We could not have achieved such good results without the support and hard work of our schools, as they continue to play a pivotal role through the strong cricket system.

“In addition, we thank everyone who played a role, including parents and selectors who identified these players under pressure. We recognise that selection is not an easy task and we are proud of them. We are also proud of the boys who represented South Africa at the ICC U19 World Cup hosted in South Africa.

“We know that year two of the new era will not be any easier, therefore we need to keep working harder and not be complacent about anything. Well done to all the teams and they continue to be the pride of Jozi,” Mandlazi said.

Central Gauteng Lions umpires also shone during the busy December period with very pleasing results.

Amy Gear stood in the final of the Girls U19 Week, as did Angus Gouws in the final of the Boys U16 week. Gear then went on to officiate as third umpire in the CSA 4-Day Series match between the DP World Lions and the Tuskers at the Wanderers, a remarkable achievement for a 17-year-old.

Davies Radebe stood in the third/fourth place final of the USSA A Week, while Zuber Saleh officiated in the SA Schools vs SA Colts match, the third/fourth place final of USSA A Week and was selected for Cubs week in January.

Mbekezeli ‘Randy’ Nkomo,  Mpumelelo Ngwevela, Nelisiwe Madondo and Roodt Jacobs were also appointed for national Weeks and acquitted themselves well, according to umpires administrator Brian Catt.

There was also good news on the scoring front with Central Gauteng Lions scorers co-ordinator  Kishen Pillay happy with the ratings achieved by the members of the association during an extremely busy festive period.

Natasha Nyoni, who scored at the Khaya Majola Week and was rated at 96%, and Mary Ramphela, who officiated at the U19 Girls Week and notched 99%, both finished in the top 2 of their respective Weeks.

Kagiso Taukobong finished fourth at the U16 Girls Week with 91% and Lebohang Dinake was in the top 10 at the U16 Boys Week with 87%.

“As a scorers association, we are pleased with the feedback and ratings received from the National Weeks, however we will strive to get even better,” Pillay says.

Man behind Bulls’ defensive steel in recent years brought in by Sharks for Currie Cup 0

Posted on August 16, 2022 by Ken

Joey Mongalo, the man behind the Bulls’ defensive steel in recent years, will take over as the Sharks’ Currie Cup head coach next season, the union confirmed on Monday.

Sean Everitt will continue to be the senior coach steering the Sharks’ United Rugby Championship campaign, while Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell will oversee all the coaches in his position of Director of Rugby, and will arrive at Kings Park in time for the start of the new European campaign in September.

Mongalo, a University of Pretoria Masters graduate, will get the chance to be a head coach again having won the U19 Currie Cup with the Lions in 2016 and 2017. His work as the Bulls defence coach from June 2020 was highly rated, with the franchise dominating local rugby with back-to-back Currie Cup titles as well as making the final of this year’s URC.

Etienne Fynn, who oversaw a disappointing Sharks Currie Cup campaign this year, will work under Mongalo as a scrum/forwards coach. Former Springbok wings JP Pietersen and Lwazi Mvovo, along with former Sharks U20 head coach Mike Vowles and former utility forward Luvuyiso Lusaseni, will make up the rest of Mongalo’s coaching staff.

The URC team has been boosted by the signing of former French international and Bayonne head coach Yannick Bru, who will fulfil the role of breakdown coach. Bru won the Champions Cup twice as a player with Toulouse, whom he also served as an assistant coach for five years, before becoming the French national team’s forwards coach.

Bru’s extensive knowledge of European rugby will obviously be of great value for the Sharks as they negotiate the challenges of taking on English and French clubs for the first time next season. He will be joined by Warren Whiteley, Phiwe Nomlomo, Noel McNamara and Aksventi Giorgadze as the URC assistant coaches.

Powell’s arrival after the Sevens World Cup in September will complete the new dawn of coaching at Kings Park.

“Neil will be at the helm, to develop and oversee all rugby structures within the Sharks and to ensure that our teams are aligned in terms of the identified coaching DNA,” Sharks CEO Eduard Coetzee said.

“He will implement and manage an effective plan to achieve the franchise’s objectives, which is ultimately to win trophies. He will oversee the United Rugby Championship, as well as our first foray in the Champions Cup.

“As a globally respected and admired coach, we are confident that he will get the best out of the players and bring a winning mindset to The Sharks. We look forward to him joining us before the start of the URC season in September.
“Although we made the playoffs of the URC and qualified for the Champions Cup, we want to be even more competitive. A strong foundation has been laid, and the time has come for us to build from this,” Coetzee said.

Notwithstanding 101 000 Covid deaths, full stadiums now life-or-death matter for rugby 0

Posted on June 10, 2022 by Ken

Notwithstanding the tragedy of 101 000 deaths and the annoying recent upsurge in positive Covid cases, SA Rugby president Mark Alexander says a return to allowing full stadiums for the Springboks’ matches is a life-or-death matter for the sport now.

At present, outdoor sports stadiums are only allowed to host 50% of their capacity and Alexander said this was not just denying SA Rugby much-needed revenue, but also stopping the spin-off benefits from reaching the broader economy.

“When I went to the Waterfront in December, there were over 100 000 people and I didn’t have to show my vaccination card, there was no social-distancing there,” Alexander said. “But when it comes to sport, we have all these undue regulations, which puts massive pressure on rugby.

“Having no Tests in 2020 had a major effect on our revenue and 2021 helped to bridge the gap a bit. But we’re hoping we can have 100% capacity for the Springboks this year or else we will not be able to deliver our budget.

“We need to be self-sustainable because we know we can’t expect government to fund sport, we understand that, but just give us the vehicle to raise funds and deliver our mandate.

“And there’s a knock-on effect for people like the informal traders around the stadiums. Not having full capacity has an economic impact for the country as a whole. We estimate that the Springboks’ six home Tests this year, against Wales, New Zealand and Argentina; the Carling Champions Match against Italy A; the Sevens World Cup and the Sevens Series event in Cape Town, will generate R18.6 billion rand for the economy,” Alexander said.

Alexander, who was recently re-elected for a second and, he says, final four-year term as president, said it was most pleasing to see how successful the introduction of South African franchises into European competition had been.

“We had to play in the United Rugby Championship in order to qualify for the European cup. That’s going to be better quality rugby, we’ll be up against six other countries and not just four, so that will raise the bar.

“We want our players in better competitions, against the best teams in the world. And most of our teams are playing in two different competitions already, so the depth is there, we have enough players.

“We just have to manage our players better and be smarter. And we’re seeing more international-based players coming home as the overseas clubs cut down on their squads.

“The bulk of rugby funding these days is in the UK and France. So we need to collaborate with those markets, be a part of bigger plans. We need to sell our properties in Pounds, not Rands,” Alexander 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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