for quality writing

Ken Borland

Beaming Manassero lights up the Glendower gloom with redemptive triumph 0

Posted on March 10, 2024 by Ken

A beaming Matteo Manessero holds the Jonsson Workwear Open trophy in the dark at Glendower Golf Club after his first DP World Tour triumph in nearly 11 years.
Photo: Tyrone Winfield/Sunshine Tour

Matteo Manassero’s beaming smile lit up the gloom at Glendower Golf Club on Sunday evening, almost shining as brightly as the not-so-distant lightning strikes as the Italian won the Jonsson Workwear Open by three strokes to win for the first time on the DP World Tour since May 2013.

Manassero had every reason to be ecstatic, considering the journey he has traversed. And while a three-strokes win sounds like an easy victory, his triumph was as dramatic as they come with the 30-year-old having to conquer not only a large chasing pack but also the weather. Manassero had just gone into a one-stroke lead with a 15-foot birdie on the 16th hole when play was suspended due to the threat of lightning. After a two-and-a-half hour delay, he returned to complete the job in near-darkness and with plenty of thunder still around Glendower.

His finish was just as thunderous as Manassero went birdie-birdie to close with four birdies in a row, posting 26-under-par after a 66 in the final round. It was what was needed to hold off the staunch challenge of Thriston Lawrence (63), Shaun Norris (68) and Jordan Smith (68), who tied for second on 23-under.

To understand the magnitude of Manassero’s achievement, one has to know where he has been. The world’s top amateur in 2009, he broke a host of records for the youngest to achieve certain landmarks and in 2010 he became the youngest ever winner on the European Tour when he won the Castello Masters in Valencia aged 17 years and 188 days.

In May 2013 he won the PGA Championship at Wentworth for his fourth title and entered the top-30 in the world rankings, all before he turned 21.

And then his career nose-dived. By the end of 2018 he had lost his European Tour card and ended up on the Alps Tour, two levels down.

He gave up pro golf for a while but then won on the Alps Tour in 2020 and made his way to the Challenge Tour. He won twice last year, opening up a return to the main DP World Tour. On Sunday at Glendower, his redemption was complete.

“It is the best day of my life,” Manassero said as lightning flashed behind his head on the 18th green. “It’s been a crazy journey and I’m so incredibly happy to be here holding this trophy. It feels like it was written somewhere, to finish with those birdies.

“Glendower will stay in my heart forever and I just feel incredible right now, it’s really difficult to put it into words, but I am very proud after what I have been through. I don’t want to think about the tough times now, but there is a lot of emotion.

“Forty minutes ago we were almost coming back tomorrow to finish, so there has been a lot of tension. But I am so happy to be feeling these emotions again out on the golf course. It’s strange, we live for these emotions that take us out of our comfort zone and are difficult to handle,” Manassero said.

The par-three 15th hole was where Manassero’s winning surge began, moments after Lawrence had eagled the 17th to go into the lead on 23-under. But it was also where his challenge looked as if it might have been headed for a watery grave as his tee shot just cleared the water it was heading for, leaving him with a 12-foot birdie putt which he nailed.

“On 15 that could have been in the water. I just tried to hit an easy six-iron, but in golf you cannot predict anything. Sometimes a shot that doesn’t feel great leads to the birdie opportunity that changes everything. But that was more than two-and-a-half hours ago and I have been through a lot of emotion since then!”

Before the weather delay, the co-sanctioned tournament with the Sunshine Tour seemed inexorably headed for a fascinating finish. Manassero admitted that his many challengers were in his thoughts.

“The guys behind me on the leaderboard were playing some incredible golf. Every time I looked at the leaderboard, there was a different guy and more birdies. There was always someone chasing me.”

And Manassero himself was chasing a DP World Tour victory of enormous personal magnitude. Having fallen into the trap of chasing results and outcomes, instead of focusing on process, during his first career as a professional golfer, the product of Verona also admitted that, of course, he had thoughts of winning right through the final round.

“There’s always a bit of back-of-forth in your mind, that is normal. But you also try and think other thoughts, really anything that is positive, things that I say to myself to help me play more freely. But to think about the result is normal, just not constantly because then it becomes really hard to express yourself and hit the ball straight,” Manassero explained.

While Lawrence and Norris led the South African challenge, Oliver Bekker was also a member of the chasing pack, a birdie on the 17th putting him one shot off the lead. But the 39-year-old then hit his approach on the 18th into the water next to the green, finishing with a double-bogey that left him in a tie for sixth on 21-under-par.

Coetzee fully committed to getting best out of his talent, so move to Titans makes sense 0

Posted on April 05, 2023 by Ken

Gerald Coetzee impressed in his debut Test series against the West Indies this year.

Gerald Coetzee strikes one as a young cricketer who is fully committed to getting the absolute best out of his talent, so when his Free State Knights team were relegated at the end of the season, it was only natural that he should look elsewhere to further his burgeoning career.

The Northerns Titans, with whom he has now signed, are an ideal fit for the exciting fast bowler, being a team with a history of winning and a reputation for converting domestic talents into international stars. The Titans dominated the last decade of franchise cricket and they topped the Division I promotion/relegation log after the last two seasons.

The Proteas and their fans will also be delighted because the newly-capped Coetzee is too exciting a talent to be languishing in Division II.

The 22-year-old Coetzee played two Tests and two ODIs for South Africa in the season just finished, and proved himself to be a strike-bowler with 14 wickets. He is also a handy lower-order batsman.

“He’s an x-factor player, dangerous with the white ball and he will also really help us in the four-day competition,” Titans CEO Jacques Faul told “He’s an exciting talent who has the kind of profile of young fast bowlers we have developed in the past – guys like Morne Morkel, Dale Steyn and Lungi Ngidi.

“With Lungi being contracted to the Proteas, we don’t get to see much of him in Titans colours, and Lizaad Williams too has spent time away with the national squad. So we need Gerald’s firepower as well,” Faul said.

Northerns Titans have also signed Free State opening batsman Matthew Kleinveldt, who fitted in well with the Knights after moving there in 2020 following 10 seasons in the Western Cape. In the last two seasons based in Bloemfontein, Kleinveldt has scored 692 runs at an average of 49.42.

With Theunis de Bruyn’s future in doubt and Heinrich Klaasen likely to be away with the Proteas for much of next season, it makes sense for the Titans to beef up their batting, an area where they also looked a bit light on experience at the end of last season.

The movement of Coetzee and Kleinveldt to Northerns is important because it also ensures two of the Knights’ better players still have a place in Division I cricket. With its strong schools and university, Free State is an important area of talent in terms of the national pipeline and their relegation to Division II is not good news for South African cricket as a whole. Especially since it is KZN Inland who are replacing them in the top division, meaning there are two teams from KwaZulu-Natal, based less than 100km apart, now playing in the A Section.

Of the Knights’ other players of national interest, Raynard van Tonder, so prolific with the bat a couple of seasons ago, is moving to the North-West Dragons, where he will definitely bolster a fragile batting line-up. Pace bowler Migael Pretorius, however, is believed to have turned down contracts elsewhere and will be playing as a free agent, which probably means he will be heading overseas to play in T20 leagues.

The 36-year-old Pite van Biljon, who was playing T20s for South Africa in 2021, is heading to Pietermaritzburg to play for the KZN Inland Tuskers, one of the few signings they will be making as they are believed to be backing the talent that won them promotion.

Cricket SA’s new CEO just loves the game … and feels responsible for it 0

Posted on August 08, 2022 by Ken

What strikes you most when chatting to Cricket South Africa’s CEO Pholetsi Moseki is that this man just loves the game so much and also feels he has a responsibility to it, which explains why he stuck it out through the organisation’s most problematic years.

Moseki first joined CSA in July 2019 as their chief financial officer. By the end of that year, the organisation was in an administrative shambles and Moseki found himself fulfilling various extra roles until he was ultimately appointed acting chief executive in December 2020, succeeding the likes of Jacques Faul and the shortlived Kugandrie Govender.

CSA then made that appointment permanent, on a five-year deal, in March this year, a decision which, by all accounts, is a popular one with the staff and the organisation’s stakeholders.

“I was introduced to cricket in the mid-90s by my cousin and it was huge fun watching the Proteas back then. The beauty of it was being able to watch five days of cricket on SABC and Test cricket is still my favourite format,” Moseki told The Citizen.

“So when I joined CSA as their CFO, I felt I was doing something I love and the first three months were lovely. Then all the chaos started and I thought ‘What have you done?!’

“I don’t know how many times I was deciding whether to stay or go, but by the time I thought I should go, in late 2020, I was the only executive left and I felt a responsibility.

“I was the last man standing, but I was fond of the organisation and the people working there, and I love cricket. So for 18 months it was the sense of responsibility that kept me going.

“It’s not just about head office, there are 1800 people employed in our affiliates around the country. I did not want all of that to collapse so I committed to contributing to the rescue operation.

“It meant sometimes I was having three hours of sleep a day to do it, Graeme Smith had to step up and the staff as well, and I was extremely proud of their efforts.

“There were bullets flying all over, but we kept out heads down. We understood what was at stake. Cricket is not just a hobby, it pays for peoples’ school and medical fees,” Moseki said.

Apart from cricket, the chartered accountant says family are his other great passion.

“I was born and bred in Soweto and I went to school there until Standard 7, when my parents decided, with all the 90s chaos in the townships, to send me to school in the city centre of Johannesburg – St Endas College in Hillbrow.

“The only subject I really liked was accounting, maybe because I had a lovely teacher, young and pretty,” Moseki chuckled. “And then I did my CA through Unisa.

“I am married with a son who is 16 but believes he is in his 20s. They keep me sane and I am very close-knit with my siblings and my Dad is still around too.”

Having begun his working career as a Natal Building Society teller, he says a stint at Deutsche Bank was “when my ambition formed, investment banking was the place to be and it was the most amazing time of my life”.

Since then he has run his own consultancy and advisory businesses, as well as being a CFO at one of Denel’s divisions and, before joining CSA, at Magalies Water, which meant driving to Rustenburg every day.

Our cricket is in the hands of someone who not only knows how to count those all-important beans, but also how to grow and sustain them.

“Our new T20 competition is going to be key to our sustainability going forward. But like any new product, you don’t expect it to make money in the first few years.

“But if, after five to 10 years, we get 5% of the revenue the IPL is making, that would already be more than our current revenue. Our two previous editions cost us hundreds of millions of rand, but now we have a long-term plan with great partners like SuperSport.

“The nature of the cricket calendar means you’re always competing against someone’s T20 league, but we’re backing ourselves. In January people are still in holiday mode, the varsities haven’t opened yet.

“We need to get our fans’ hearts and souls back. We will make it the best we can and back our local market,” Moseki said.

Which is where the new partnership with Roc Nation comes in. The entertainment and events brand are experts at reaching urban youth and there is going to be a real focus on improving spectator experience and using digital to drive CSA’s vision for the game.

“New technology is absolutely important and digital is so crucial – the IPL has just sold their digital rights for $4 million per match, more than the TV rights. We don’t want to get left behind.

“We’re going to go big on our app, there are a lot of amazing things planned for that, linked to the sort of amazing stadium experiences you have in the U.S.

“It’s all about connectivity and over there you can order food on your app inside the stadium, book specific seats; the digital experience of the game is key.

“Over the next few years, there are going to be a lot of changes in South African cricket, and technology will be front and centre of that, to improve the stadium experience,” Moseki said.

But as Moseki beavers away in his Melrose Estate office, he knows that CSA’s most important property is the game. The cricket must come first.

“For the last two years we have not been focused on cricket but on everything else. It’s actually amazing that our Proteas teams and our staff and members are doing so well.

“But our attention needs to go back to cricket, developing more players, improving our relationships with our stakeholders and improving the stadium experience.

“We want to make sure we are the partner of choice and the employer of choice, and that our fans and the media want to come to our events,” Moseki stated.

Rabada brings the fire but Maharaj makes key strikes with historic hat-trick 0

Posted on July 02, 2021 by Ken

Kagiso Rabada provided the fire up front with three wickets but it was spinner Keshav Maharaj who made the key strikes as he claimed only the second hat-trick for South Africa in Test history to send the West Indies plummeting to 109 for six at lunch on the fourth day of the second Test at St Lucia.

The left-arm spinner removed Kieran Powell (51), Jason Holder (0) and Joshua de Silva (0) with successive deliveries in the penultimate over before lunch, Anrich Nortje, Keegan Petersen and Wiaan Mulder taking catches of increasing difficulty to help Maharaj to the wonderful achievement.

Opener Powell looked in the mood to stick around as the West Indies went in search of a steep target of 324 for victory, but then suddenly decided to tee-up Maharaj and slog-swept him straight to Nortje at deep midwicket. The tall Holder then inside-edged his first ball on to his pad from where it rebounded quickly to short-leg, Petersen taking a sharp catch quite high to his left.

The hat-trick ball saw Mulder snatch a marvellous one-handed grab at leg-slip, diving to his right, as Da Silva tickled Maharaj around the corner.

South Africa’s only other Test hat-trick came in 1960 when fast bowler Geoff Griffin performed the feat against England at Lord’s.

Despite Maharaj’s success, the St Lucia pitch continues to be a haven for fast bowling and Rabada was outstanding up front as he had West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite (6) caught in the slips in his second over of the day.

A vicious, superbly-directed short ball then saw Shai Hope (2) glove a catch to the slips, while Kyle Mayers looked set for bigger things but eventually succumbed to some fine pressure bowling on 34 when he skied a wild pull at a delivery outside off stump from Rabada and Proteas captain Dean Elgar took his second well-judged catch of the morning.

Jermaine Blackwood survived through to lunch on 5 not out, while Kemar Roach is on one. The West Indies were only too happy for the sanctuary of the changeroom after their collapse from 90 for two, losing four wickets for 17 runs, left them still needing 215 runs to level the series with just four wickets standing.

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Thought of the Day

    John 15:16 – “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”

    Our Christian experience begins when the Holy Spirit starts working in our imperfect lives. An inexplicable restlessness and a feeling that nothing can give you the satisfaction you yearn for, could be the Spirit working in you.

    Even when God calls you and chooses you to serve him, there may be inner conflict and confusion because you are not always willing to do what God is asking of you.

    But this inner struggle is part of spiritual life … Commit yourself to God and open yourself to the inflowing of the Holy Spirit.

    It is by great grace that you were chosen by God to serve him and to live to the honour and glory of his name. Surrender unconditionally to the Lord and you will discover that your life gains new meaning and purpose.

↑ Top