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Ken Borland



‘We are finding it harder to win at home’ – Pace 0

Posted on February 26, 2024 by Ken

FANCOURT (Western Cape), 14 February 2024 – “It’s nice to see the overseas support of the Sunshine Ladies Tour, it has grown a lot, but we are now finding it harder to win at home,” the prolific Lee-Anne Pace said with a chuckle on the eve of the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am that kicks off the new season at Fancourt from Thursday.

Played on the great Montague and Outeniqua courses at Fancourt, the tournament has a R2.5 million prize fund which 44 professionals are fighting over. It is the second year in which the ladies will play alongside the men’s event being held at the same time, on the same courses.

Of the 44-strong field, 28 are from overseas, highlighting the strength of the nine-event Sunshine Ladies Tour and the value it offers women professionals.

“There’s a really strong overseas contingent coming to play and the fields on the Sunshine Ladies Tour seem to get stronger every week,” Pace, a 14-tme winner, said.

“It’s a really good field this week and I think the scores are going to be quite a lot lower than last year. The courses are quite a bit softer than usual, and on the shorter side, so we can attack a little bit more. I think there are going to be a lot of birdies and as always, it’s going to come down to putting.”

There is an important pro-am aspect to the event, with 44 amateurs each playing with a pro in the team event. Pace, who won the Dimension Data Ladies Challenge at nearby George Golf Club in 2014, said the format will provide a fun side for the professionals.

“Nowadays we are so used to playing in pro-ams with all the Aramco events on the Ladies European Tour. So it will be quite a lot of fun to get to know some of the top women in business. I’ve made some really good friends from playing in pro-ams.”

Even though it is the start of the South African season, Pace is one of the players to bring some form into the event, having finished in a tie for 11th at last weekend’s Kenya Ladies Open, the first event of the new Ladies European Tour season. The 42-year-old shot a brilliant 68 in the final round to ensure she comes to Fancourt with some confidence.

“I felt really good on the last day and played really nicely. That’s after feeling really sick on the first day. So I feel I do have a bit of form on my side,” Pace said.

Compatriot Cara Gorlei also finished in the tie for 11th, and was leading the tournament before a 77 in the third round pushed her down the leaderboard.

France’s Anne-Lise Caudal, a two-time LET winner, is among the stronger foreign contenders, along with Germany’s Carolin Kauffmann, who finished fifth in last year’s Dimension Data Pro-Am and Englishwoman Lauren Taylor, who has two top-10 finishes in this event.

Former champions from South Africa in Stacey Bregman and Lejan Lewthwaite are also in the field.

Critics that jeer the Proteas from their TV chairs must not be distracted 0

Posted on December 30, 2023 by Ken

Now that the painful Test series in Australia is over, the critics no longer need to sit in their chairs in front of the TV in the early hours of the morning and jeer the Proteas, and the anticipated extravaganza that the SA20 will be should distract attention anyway.

But one hopes what transpired in Australia is not forgotten, lost in the hurly-burly of the new T20 league and just the sheer volume of cricket and sport that constantly competes for attention. Let’s not forget that the Proteas also spent October and November in Australia, playing in the T20 World Cup, where they bowed out at the hands of minnows the Netherlands. The anger over that fiasco may have died down a bit, but the promise of a full review by Cricket South Africa has not been forgotten. The outcome of that review and the rebuilding strategies decided upon are now overdue.

The responsibility for making sure lessons are learnt from the 2-0 hiding (it surely would have been 3-0 but for rain) lies with the administrators, who now have the opportunity to ensure something good comes out of the ruins.

The current team and their coaches, plus the former players working as commentators in Australia, have all pinpointed the amount of domestic first-class cricket, as well as the standard, as being the main cause of the woeful performances of the Proteas lately. So that is surely where CSA need to start their autopsy.

CSA’s current executives inherited a house that was in drastic need of renovation and Proteas fans need to realise that there are no quick fixes at international level. But that is no excuse for inaction and CSA need to come up with definite plans that have the health of the Proteas – still by far their greatest source of income – as the greatest priority.

It is all very well if the next month is spent admiring the dazzling front garden of the house that is the SA20, but the fire that is raging in the kitchen needs some attention too.

Proteas have been accessories to their own demise 0

Posted on September 26, 2023 by Ken

The Proteas cricket team have already surrendered the series to Australia, soundly beaten in the first two Tests, and they have certainly been accessories to their own demise, so hopefully they can reverse that trend and spare their blushes in the third and final Test that starts in Sydney in the early hours of Wednesday morning (SA time).

While South Africa’s recent batting performances have been a crime against the decorated legacies of great batsmen that have represented the country before in Australia, like Jacques Kallis, Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla, the line-up for the third Test simply have to dig deep within themselves and supplement whatever technical skill they can muster with tremendous determination and a bloodyminded refusal to give their wickets away.

As impressive as the Australian attack have been, there have been too many soft dismissals; avoiding run outs will help for a start.

The South African batsmen have the talent to be performing much better, they just need to show more mental steel. Which is tough to do when the team has taken a battering and confidence is low.

But there comes a time when a line in the sand has to be drawn and an attitude of “over my dead body” adopted; a New Year’s Test seems a most apt time for this to happen.

Keeping their fine Champions Cup form going is the Sharks’ goal 0

Posted on June 26, 2023 by Ken

Keeping the momentum of their fine Champions Cup form going is the goal of the Sharks on Friday night as they tackle the Lions in a United Rugby Championship match at Kings Park, but whether they can do that having rested a few key Springboks will be the question on coach Neil Powell’s mind.

Having been instrumental in the impressive wins over Harlequins and then Bordeaux-Begles in France, Springboks Eben Etzebeth, Bongi Mbonambi and Ntuthuko Mchunu have all been rested this weekend, while Siya Kolisi, Jaden Hendrikse, Gerbrandt Grobler and Ben Tapuai will play off the bench.

“We’ve had two good EPCR games and we would love to keep the momentum going,” Powell said on Thursday. “So we will keep going with continuity in selection as well.

“We always want to do well, no matter which competition it is, but every home game is especially important. It’s obviously going to be a physical battle looking at the forwards the Lions have selected.

“So we obviously have to match that and we’ve selected a team that will give us the best energy. Some of the changes are part of our rotational policy, maybe giving guys a break.

“The number of game minutes that Siya and Eben have had, not just for the Sharks but the Springboks too, means it is crucially important to manage them well. This was an opportunity for a bit of a break,” Powell said.

Apart from the actual game time, the Sharks have also had a punishing schedule of short weeks and overseas travel, which is a major concern and they will be relying on Alan Temple-Jones being a real conditioning guru to ensure the players can still perform at peak levels.

“The travelling has been tough,” Powell admitted. “We played Friday to Friday and then we only flew back from France on Sunday. So this is a short week again, it makes it difficult.

“The Lions have not done a lot of travel, so we felt the guys coming in for us could bring some extra energy. We have a block of 11 consecutive weeks of games and we are only on game five now.”

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