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Ken Borland



Top-class rugby beckons at Loftus for a slashed price of R25 0

Posted on April 25, 2022 by Ken

Bulls supporters can treat themselves to a top-class rugby match for just R25 on Saturday as ticket prices for their crunch game against Ulster at Loftus Versfeld have been slashed.

The move follows a disappointing response last weekend to government’s relaxing of the Covid regulations to allow sports stadiums to have spectators up to 50% of capacity.

The biggest attendance in the four United Rugby Championship matches played in South Africa last weekend came at Kings Park in Durban when a crowd of 5120 braved a torrential downpour and a frustrating loss for the Sharks team against Edinburgh. But that was still less than 10% of capacity.

Cape Town Stadium (capacity 55 000) had a crowd of 3544 for the Stormers’ nailbiting win over Ulster, about 3000 people attended the Bulls’ previous game at Loftus Versfeld (capacity 50 000) and Ellis Park (capacity 62 000) had a paltry crowd of 2500 for the Lions’ impressive win over the Ospreys, but it was a Friday night, 7pm kickoff in Doornfontein, which is always a hard sell.

A variety of reasons have been put forward for the poor attendances, including a lack of sufficient time for both the unions and the fans to change their plans in response to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement.

Ticket prices have also been suggested as a deterrent in these tough economic times. Cape Town Stadium tickets ranged in price from R80 to R200 per person, Kings Park was R50 to R160 and Ellis Park was R40 to R180.

Tickets for the match between the Bulls and the Dragons were at an average of R100, so prices have been slashed by a whopping 75%. And it has proven to be a success with CEO Edgar Rathbone revealing they had sold 3000 tickets on Tuesday morning alone.

The fact that the stadiums can now also sell alcohol to spectators could be a telling factor as well to getting the crowds back to rugby.

Anecdotally, other reasons that have been put forward for not attending include the requirement that all spectators be vaccinated or produce a negative Covid test that is less than 72 hours old; the hassle of getting to some of the stadiums making it much easier to just watch on TV; and security concerns.

There has been no word yet on whether the Sharks, Lions and Stormers will follow the Bulls’ lead in cutting the price of tickets. Their websites still reflected the same prices as for last weekend on Tuesday afternoon.

But rugby administrators should be able to tell from the size of the crowd at Loftus Versfeld at 2pm on Saturday whether ticket prices really do make a difference to attendance.

SA Open champ Sullivan comes to Joburg eyeing the top-50 & the majors 0

Posted on August 26, 2015 by Ken

 

South African Open champion Andy Sullivan returns to Johannesburg and the Joburg Open starting today doorstepping the top-50 in the world and a ticket to the major championships, which means he is confident he can contend at the co-sanctioned Sunshine Tour/European Tour event at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club.

“Finishing fifth here last year and then winning the SA Open at Glendower down the road in December makes it nice to come back. I’m keen to have a crack at it and I’m full of confidence. I’m swinging it quite well after a two-week break, so I’m looking forward to this week.

“I’ve never played a major championship. To play the Open in your own country would be absolutely fantastic. I don’t want to put too much emphasis on it, because I think I’ve done that in the past and underperformed. For me, it’s about going out there and trying to enjoy myself,” Sullivan said on Wednesday.

The 73rd-ranked Sullivan is the highest-ranked golfer in the field, but the local challenge will be a strong one with the Joburg Open title being won by a South African six times, including the last five years consecutively, in the eight-year history of the event.

The defending champion, George Coetzee, will bring his intimate knowledge of the course and is eager to mount a strong defence of his maiden European Tour crown, while Richard Sterne, bidding to become the first golfer to win three Joburg Opens, and Thomas Aiken are also amongst the favourites.

“Every week I’m posting one or two good numbers, it’s just a matter of putting four together. Hopefully being comfortable with the course will put me in good stead for this week,” Coetzee said.

Aiken is out to register his fourth European Tour win, but he acknowledges that there are a host of extremely talented South African golfers looking to use the Joburg Open as a stepping stone.

“There is a big field this week and a lot of youngsters, and that’s really what this tournament was made to be. It aims to give a lot of people the chance to play a European Tour event.

“Funnily enough, the more people you have, the lower the cuts get. It’s renowned here that the cut is low, and it shows that everyone out there can play. When you have more than 200 players, there will be 100 that play well, so the margins are very small. That’s the beauty of the game, you don’t see the same guy winning every week. That’s the nature of it. It would be boring if the same guy won every week, although I’d love to be the person who does that!” Aiken said.

It’s been a very dry February in Johannesburg, so the 210 golfers teeing off today will have an office that will provide plenty of run, making an already fairly short course even shorter. But those Royal Johannesburg and Kensington greens are as small as ever.

 

SA bowl in all the wrong places as Smith scores great series-winning ton 0

Posted on December 23, 2014 by Ken

Steven Smith produced a great century as South Africa bowled in all the wrong areas at the death, leading Australia to a three-wicket victory with an over to spare to clinch the series in the fourth one-day international at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday.

Chasing 268, some bizarre field placings and the poor execution of the South African bowlers saw Australia plunder 86 runs in the last 10 overs, Smith and Matthew Wade having lifted them from 98 for five midway through their chase with a stand of 121 in 20 overs.

Smith eventually fell with the scores tied after scoring 104 off 112 balls – an innings of great composure and skill. James Faulkner came in after Wade’s dismissal and took advantage of South Africa feeding his strengths as he belted 34 not out off 19 balls.

Smith and Wade brought Australia back into contention after Dale Steyn took two wickets in two overs to put South Africa in control.

But Smith produced a fine innings and Wade played an invaluable hand of 52 off 59 deliveries.

Wayne Parnell eventually removed Wade thanks to a great catch by Ryan McLaren running in from deep backward square-leg, but Australia went into the last five overs needing just 40 runs with the big-hitting Faulkner joining Smith at the crease.

Spearhead Steyn was brought back into the attack in the 21st over after Smith and George Bailey had added 30 for the fourth wicket and he struck in his second over as captain Bailey edged a slash outside the off stump to be caught behind for 16.

That brought the dangerous Glenn Maxwell in, but he could only score two before his flatfooted drive at an away-swinger in Steyn’s next over saw him caught at slip by Hashim Amla. Credit to captain AB de Villiers for having the slip in.

Smith and Bailey made bright starts to their innings after pace bowlers McLaren and Parnell took a wicket apiece to reduce Australia to 48 for three in the 14th over.

South Africa’s back-up seamers were under pressure as Australia reached 39 for one after 10 overs, but both settled after wayward starts.

Shane Watson will be furious with himself as he once again made a start, getting to 19 off 25 balls, before he reached out to try and drive a wide, full away-swinger from McLaren and edged a catch to wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock.

Opener Aaron Finch was looking dangerous on 22 when he pulled Parnell straight to Faf du Plessis at deep square-leg.

Opening bowlers Kyle Abbott and Steyn were spot on from the outset to have the Australian openers under pressure, with Abbott making the breakthrough in the fourth over when he trapped David Warner lbw for four, the left-hander being hit on the back pad as he was late on a delivery that straightened back into him.

South Africa’s batsmen fell away in the later overs as they faded to 267 for eight after winning the toss and electing to bat first in the day/night game.

AB de Villiers once again dazzled and David Miller can book his ticket to the World Cup, but the rest of the South African batting once again disappointed.

The Proteas are fortunate that they can call on De Villiers, already established as one of the all-time greats, as he was once again the mainstay of the innings, scoring 91 off 88 balls in another great display of skill and exquisite placement of the ball.

Miller was the one batsman to provide sturdy support to De Villiers, playing a fine knock of 45 off 61 balls as they set up the innings with a fourth-wicket stand of 122 in 20 overs.

But unlike South Africa, whose problems extend from the batting relying too heavily on De Villiers to dodgy death bowling, Australia can rely on their bowlers in the last 10 overs to really turn the screw. Once they removed Miller, caught in the covers in an attempt to hit over the top in the powerplay, they restricted the Proteas to a meagre 51 runs in the last 10 overs, while claiming four more wickets.

Fast bowler Mitchell Starc was outstanding with his mix of yorkers and slower balls as he finished with one for 40 in 10 overs – figures that don’t do justice to his performance. Fellow paceman Pat Cummins also bowled better than his figures of two for 61, being a threat throughout, while James Faulkner was also brilliant at the death with his back-of-the-hand deliveries, finishing with two for 45.

South Africa will be concerned that Quinton de Kock continues to struggle at the top of the order, scratching his way to 17 off 38 balls before popping a lame return catch to off-spinner Glenn Maxwell, who had had him dropped at slip in his first over.

Fellow opener Hashim Amla was looking good, however, as he cruised to 18 off 20 balls. He had identified the balls to go after well, collecting three fours, and was quite within his rights to pull the shortish delivery Nathan Coulter-Nile bowled to him in the sixth over, but unfortunately he hit it straight to midwicket, where Cummins hung on to a sharp, dipping catch.

Faf du Plessis also looked in good touch as he scored 28 off 37 balls as South Africa reached 70 for one in the 16th over. But Cummins, returning after Du Plessis had hit him for two fours in his previous over in the first powerplay, got some extra bounce outside off stump and found the edge of an attempted steer, the ball nestling safely in wicketkeeper Matthew Wade’s gloves.

De Kock had fallen in the previous over and South Africa were in some strife on 79 for three.

But De Villiers once again showed that he is in a different league, improvising brilliantly, while still playing off the basis of a sound technique, and hardly ever seeming to take a risk. He only collected six boundaries, but scored at better than a run-a-ball on a slowish pitch without breaking a sweat.

With the bowlers at their mercy – Australia’s attack were also one short when Coulter-Nile limped off with a hamstring strain – both found ways to get out. Miller was trying to hit over the top in the powerplay, but could only skew Faulkner high into the covers, while De Villiers charged down the pitch to Cummins and was reaching for a slower-ball bouncer, a tennis-like shot going to deep midwicket.

After that, the remaining batsmen could not find ways to dominate the impressive Australian attack, with Farhaan Behardien managing just 22 off 23 balls.

 

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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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