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Ken Borland



Powerhouse Lions field top-class outfit for T20 opener 0

Posted on May 10, 2024 by Ken

A “powerhouse” DP World Lions men’s team are determined to claim a second trophy this season as they start their CSA T20 Challenge campaign against the GBets Rocks in Johannesburg on Friday night, and they will be fielding a top-class outfit.

The #PrideOfJozi boast a couple of players named in the Betway SA20 Team of the Tournament in Ryan Rickelton and Wiaan Mulder, there is a thrilling prospect of Kagiso Rabada and his protégé Kwena Maphaka sharing the new ball, and a wonderful batting line-up with other Proteas stars in Reeza Hendricks, Rassie van der Dussen and Temba Bavuma.

Apart from Rickelton and Mulder blazing a trail in the SA20, the DP World Lions are guided by a coach in Russell Domingo who has played a key role in the Sunrisers Eastern Cape winning back-to-back titles as their batting coach. The experienced Domingo will know exactly how to play winning T20 cricket in South Africa.

Rickelton, who was the leading run-scorer in the SA20 with 530 runs at an average of 58.89 and a strike-rate of 173.77, is setting a confident tone right up front.

“We will have a full squad, barring KG when he goes to the IPL, so we have a powerhouse team, obviously we’re going to put our names up for the overall win. We would be upset if we don’t get that far and we’re really looking forward to it after winning the four-day title, which was a big incentive for us because we haven’t won that in a while,” Rickelton said.

“While the tournament was obviously a major let-down for us at MI Cape Town, I have clarity about my batting. Coach Robbie [Peterson] was quite decisive about what he wanted us to do and we really strived to win the powerplay. So I had to execute my role as well as I can with Rassie, because of the power we had to come behind.

“The opportunity was there to really take the game on there up front, to really maximise the powerplay. I had the freedom to fail and I just tried to keep it simple, while training specifics. Now I want to make sure I make an impact for the Lions, that is hugely important for me,” Rickelton said.

All-rounder Mulder earned a spot in the SA20 Team of the Tournament mostly for his batting, where he averaged a healthy 37.13 and scored at a dynamic 157.14, continuing what has been a top-class summer with the bat. Mulder shone as a finisher, but also as a safeguard who could come in during the powerplay and lay a platform for the spectacular hitting of Heinrich Klaasen.

Mulder said he went into the competition with confidence, thanks to, again, the freedom given him by the DP World Lions coaches, and a clear job description from Durban Super Giants coach Lance Klusener.

“Russell Domingo and Hashim Amla have been incredible for my game, they have really motivated me and allowed me to just go and play, to break the shackles. Because of them I took a lot of confidence into the SA20.

“I discovered a couple of new things about my game during the tournament. I worked really hard on playing spin and finishing, which is a part of the game Mark Boucher told me he didn’t think I had when he was Proteas coach. I spent quite a lot of time working with Heinrich and Dwaine Pretorius, but I’m never going to be that type of batter, having a perfect swing and getting carried away hitting sixes.

“But I can hit space and I can score different sorts of boundaries, I can still score 50 off 25 balls. Lance backs me quite a lot, my technique gave me the opportunity to bat in the top five and my role was to face quite a lot of balls and protect Heinrich. You can get some real jaffas in the powerplay, but you can play with a lot of freedom afterwards,” Mulder said.

With the players that the Lions have, playing at a fast-action venue like the DP World Wanderers Stadium, and with so many of them knowing exactly what to do to win T20 games, there is no reason why our Pride should not back themselves to bring home another trophy.

SA pros eager to grab silverware after overseas conquest 0

Posted on May 07, 2024 by Ken

CENTURION, Gauteng – South Africa’s Sunshine Ladies Tour professionals are eager to grab the silverware after the overseas contingent’s conquest of the opening two tournaments this season, when the third event, the Fidelity ADT Ladies Challenge, gets underway at Blue Valley Golf Estate from Wednesday.

Scotland’s Kylie Henry opened the season with victory in the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am at Fancourt, and India’s Tvesa Malik then triumphed at the SuperSport Ladies Challenge presented by Sun International at the Lost City.

Lejan Lewthwaite will lead the local challenge as the highest-ranked South African in the order of merit playing in the R250 000 tournament, currently in 16th position.

“It’s only a matter of time, I believe, before we have a South African winner this season. There are a lot of really good local golfers and this is only the third event, so we are still getting into the season,” Lewthwaite said.

“I’m definitely confident in the talent we have and any one of us can win this week. But there are a lot of European golfers over in South Africa at the moment, a lot of the top players in the order of merit will be playing, so it is still a very strong field. We will have to keep our games on point.”

Both Henry, who leads the order of merit, and Malik will be teeing it up on the Gary Player design, while Romy Meekers, Lauren Taylor, Ana Dawson and Helen Kreuzer are all in the top-10 of the standings and have entered this week.

Lewthwaite finished 20th at both Fancourt and Lost City and her autopsy of her performance so far makes her feel that a strong performance is around the corner.

“I’m hitting the ball quite well but things have just not gone my way yet. That can be the difference between finishing 20th or top-10 and even contending, you need things to fall your way.

“But the game is there and I just need to build some momentum and I’ll be on my way. I enjoy Blue Valley, it’s a very nice course and should be in good condition. It’s pretty open off the tees and I just want to play to my own strengths, which is a sharp short game. I read the greens well so I’ll be pretty confident around Blue Valley,” Lewthwaite said.

Times of heartache enable composed Lions to turn final around – Hendricks 0

Posted on May 07, 2024 by Ken

The DP World Lions men’s team have had their times of heartache this season, which is why when the CSA 4-Day Series final looked like being a grave disappointment for them, they had the desire, composure and ability to turn things around, according to captain Dominic Hendricks.

Having been 35 for five on the first morning and 113 for six in their second innings, leading by just 26, it was an absolutely remarkable effort for our #PrideOfJozi to beat Western Province by 99 runs and claim their first four-day title since 2019/20.

“Talk about a game turning 180 degrees,” Hendricks said, “We had to dig in super-deep and really fight. Our backs were against the wall for 80% of that game, so I’m massively proud of the team for winning.

“But there have been numerous times this season when we’ve had to really dig in, there’ve been lots of difficult situations we’ve been put in: Like having to bowl for 225 overs against the Rocks, going to Newlands and losing the toss and having to bat first on a spicy pitch against Western Province, and going to St George’s Park and having to play on a very tricky wicket.

“It’s testament to what we’ve created as a team. We get stuck in and if it’s your day, then you must make it spectacular,” the ecstatic Hendricks said.

The Lions skipper praised head coach Russell Domingo for the wonderful environment he has forged for our Pride to prosper. The former Proteas and Bangladesh coach never throws his toys out of the cot, but there is immense respect for him and the rest of the star-studded coaching line-up.

“Russell has a phenomenal approach. The game is so high-pressured anyway, so he always tries to take the pressure off us. He cracks jokes in the changeroom, but when he speaks we really do listen and he is the first to point out any nonsense and put us back in line.

“Hashim Amla has a very calm aura, he also always speaks to us in a good tone and with understanding. If a player makes a mistake, then the coaches never give you an uitkak, but they talk about what we ought to have done to execute better,” Hendricks said.

The opening batsman also highlighted the top-class batting of Delano Potgieter in setting up the heady triumph with phenomenal rearguard innings of 81 and 155 not out.

“Delano’s innings and all the lower-order chipping in, particularly Codi Yusuf (46), took the sting out of Western Province, you could see how frustrated they were and they fielded for each of the first four days.

“It says a lot about Delano that he was super-nervous before the final, he’s an anxious guy before matches. But once he settled, he looked right at home. We were in a world of trouble, but he dug in and batted and batted and batted,” Hendricks said.

Winning the prestige four-day title was a tremendous team effort by everyone at the DP World Wanderers Stadium though, a fact highlighted by a delighted Domingo.

“Hashim, Allan Donald and myself are all experienced enough to know that it’s not just the coaches that win trophies. We are just a small part of the puzzle; you need great players, a great CEO and support staff; the selectors, groundsmen, directors – everyone plays an important tole,” Domingo said.

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.

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    Philemon 1:7 – “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.”

    “Every disciple of Jesus has a capacity for love. The most effective way to serve the Master is to share his love with others. Love can comfort, save the lost, and offer hope to those who need it. It can break down barriers, build bridges, establish relationships and heal wounds.” – A Shelter From The Storm, Solly Ozrovech

    If there’s a frustrating vacuum in your spiritual life and you fervently desire to serve the Lord but don’t know how you’re meant to do that, then start by loving others in his name.

     



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