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Ken Borland



Coetzee seemingly cruises to a 67, but says it was a struggle 0

Posted on January 30, 2023 by Ken

ST FRANCIS BAY, Eastern Cape – George Coetzee shot a five-under-par 67 with just two bogeys to seemingly cruise into a share of the lead after the first round of the PGA Championship, but the multiple winner on both the Sunshine and DP World Tours said it had actually been a struggle on a typically testing day at the St Francis Links on Thursday.

Coetzee began his round with a bogey on the par-four 10th, but then went to the turn with four birdies. On the front nine, his only other drop came on the par-four fifth, with birdies on either side of it, and the 36-year-old completed his round with an excellent birdie on the par-four ninth.

Coetzee, who won the 2011 PGA Championship at Country Club Johannesburg after finishing runner-up the year before, is tied for the lead with Danie van Niekerk, the 34-year-old Lichtenburg golfer who produced a brilliant bogey-free round with three birdies on the front nine, after he also started on the 10th.

“It was definitely tricky out there and I’m happy with my score,” Coetzee said. “All-in-all, I’m happy just to be in the mix and to be in a good rhythm. I made a lot of putts on my last nine holes when it was really quite tricky, and that kept my scorecard together.

“But it was a hairy last bunch of holes into the wind,” Coetzee said.

The winner of a second consecutive Vodacom Origins of Golf Series De Zalze title when he last played in South Africa in August, Coetzee said that his two bogeys had come from a lack of familiarity with the seaside course.

“My two bogeys were basically down to a lack of knowledge of the course, taking the wrong club off the tee or playing to the wrong part of the green, like on my second on the 10th hole. Hopefully I learn quickly and make better decisions tomorrow,” Coetzee said.

The top-10 on the leaderboard at the end of the first round is filled with experienced or in-form golfers that will ensure Coetzee and Van Niekerk are kept on their toes.

Jake Roos and Hennie O’Kennedy are one shot behind on four-under with Casey Jarvis, JJ Senekal and Rhys West.

Hennie Otto, who was the runner-up in the PGA Championship in both 2002 and 2008, is with Stefan Wears-Taylor and Samuel Simpson on three-under.

The PGA Championship is South Africa’s second-oldest professional tournament and Otto would dearly love to add that title to his 2011 SA Open win at Serengeti Estate.

Technique & mental strength meant to be safe ports in the storm, but weaknesses for Proteas 0

Posted on December 29, 2022 by Ken

Technique and mental strength are meant to be two safe ports in the storm for batsmen reaching the end of a testing tour of India, but Proteas coach Mark Boucher admitted on Tuesday that those were two areas of weakness as South Africa were bundled out for a miserable 99 all out and thrashed by seven wickets with 30.5 overs to spare in the decisive third ODI in Delhi.

On the eve of their departure for Australia and the T20 World Cup, it is perhaps not too surprising that the batting line-up was not fully focused on the task at hand on Tuesday, which was unsurprisingly fatal against an Indian team full of second-stringers desperate to get into the first-choice XI.

“Coming off a long tour of England and some guys were at the Caribbean Premier League as well, with that sort of schedule you can’t expect the players to be up for every single game,” Boucher said after the series loss.

“That’s when you rely on your technique and mentality to pull you through, but unfortunately we were a bit weak in both of those today. There were soft dismissals up front and technical faults.

“Keeping the players mentally and physically fresh is crucial, we need to get that mental side up, along with the technical. But tonight we did not rock up and India bowled very well.

“They showed good aggression and intent. We need to make sure the guys are really up for the World Cup games, that will bring the best results. We are really gearing ourselves up for that big competition. It will be okay,” Boucher said.

The coach acknowledged that the team were looking forward to playing in Australian conditions that are much more like their own.

“Conditions will be very different in Australia and I think they will suit our batsmen, but especially our fast bowlers more. You need to keep your aggression up over there, and we have good pace and bounce.

“Although I thought we did not show that enough in these ODIs, India showed far more aggression. But the way Anrich Nortje ran in tonight was a positive sign for me, especially going into conditions where he will be more effective,” Boucher said.

Heinrich Klaasen showed that he is your banker when it comes to playing spin, top-scoring for the Proteas with his 34.

Opener Janneman Malan made 15 off 27 balls, but that included three fours, which means he scored just three runs off his other 24 deliveries. That failure to rotate the strike puts your batting line-up under pressure.

But credit must go to the Indian bowlers, especially Mohammed Siraj, who removed both Malan and Reeza Hendricks (3), and the spinners as South Africa were 26/3 in the powerplay.

Much-changed SA line-up all geared up to bat, but rain denied them the chance 0

Posted on October 21, 2022 by Ken

A much-changed South African batting line-up was all geared up to bat first in testing conditions at The Oval on Thursday, but they never had the chance as rain returned shortly after the toss and washed out the entire opening day’s play of the third and decisive Test against England.

England won the toss, which had been delayed by half-an-hour due to morning showers, and elected to bowl first, ensuring that the spotlight – and the pressure – will be firmly on a Proteas batting line-up that has not had much to shout about lately.

For the match at The Oval, two changes to the batting line-up have been made, with the inexperienced duo of Ryan Rickelton and Khaya Zondo coming in for the injured Rassie van der Dussen and the dropped Aiden Markram.

The 26-year-old Rickelton returns after playing two Tests against Bangladesh at the end of last summer and scoring 114 runs at an average of 38. Zondo made his Test debut on the last day of that series as a Covid substitute and did not bat, but he is a 32-year-old domestic stalwart who has more than 6000 first-class runs to his name.

Rickelton is a St Stithians product, as is bowling spearhead Kagiso Rabada, and the prestigious Randburg school gained a third player in the XI when all-rounder Wiaan Mulder was selected due to Lungi Ngidi’s hamstring niggle.

Mulder was initially only called into the squad last week as the replacement for Van der Dussen, and has been in fine form with the bat for Leicestershire in county cricket.

South Africa made a fourth change when paceman and handy lower-order batsman Marco Jansen was selected instead of second spinner Simon Harmer. Given the weather conditions, the Proteas are likely to get more buck for their rand from Jansen’s left-arm seam than Harmer’s off-spin.

But first of all their batsmen will have a mountain to climb, with captain Dean Elgar saying at the toss that they are “going to have to knuckle down and start well, runs are key, taking 20 wickets is covered”.

Hamza can leap back into action less than a year after positive test 0

Posted on June 20, 2022 by Ken

Proteas batsman Zubayr Hamza will be able to leap back into action less than a year after testing positive for a banned substance, as the International Cricket Council announced just a nine-month ban for the 26-year-old on Tuesday.

Having returned a positive sample for the diuretic Furosemide on January 17, Hamza accepted a provisional suspension on March 22. So he will be eligible to return to play on December 22 this year, in time for the height of the South African summer.

The ICC, in their statement released on Tuesday, said there had been “no significant fault or negligence on his part” and he had admitted the infringement, so what may be seen as a lenient punishment has also been backdated to March 22.

The South African Cricketers’ Association, which supported Hamza through the legal process, said the Western Province batsman had provided “full disclosure of medications that he had been taking, and the sequence of events leading up to the positive test. Through this process, we were able to determine how Furosemide came to be in his sample”.

Hamza expressed his relief and denied any deliberate attempt to illegally enhance his performance.

“I have never intentionally taken a prohibited substance and I am relieved that the ICC determination confirms this fact. The past few months have been difficult for me on a personal and professional level, and I have learnt lessons that I will share with my fellow players,” Hamza said.

Last year the World Anti-Doping Agency also announced that Furosemide was one of the substances that should no longer be considered a banned substance if its concentration in the urine was less than 20ng/ml.

Hamza, who first played for the Proteas in 2019, went through a couple of years of poor form after he was dropped from the Test side during the series against England in early 2020.

But he gave his career a fresh dose of oxygen last summer and not only returned to Test cricket in New Zealand, but made his ODI debut for South Africa as well, scoring 56 against the Netherlands at Centurion.

Then came the positive doping test, a deflating incident which fortunately will not cost the talented strokeplayer more time out of the game.

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    Persevere in your service as Christ did – through obstacles, disappointment and adversity, and never give up hope.

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