for quality writing

Ken Borland

The joke’s on Lawrence as Strydom goes out & breaks his course record himself 0

Posted on March 29, 2023 by Ken

Ockie Strydom told fellow South African Thriston Lawrence that someone needed to address the problem of his inability to break the Blair Atholl course record on the second day of the South African Open, and he then went out and did it himself as they both thoroughly entertained the public and ended on top of the leaderboard on Friday.

Lawrence had led after the first day as he fired an eight-under-par 64, equalling the course record he set in October 2021 in the Blair Atholl Championship. Strydom jokingly ribbed him about being unable to break the record on the driving range on Friday morning … and then went out and shot a phenomenal nine-under-par 63 that rocketed him up the leaderboard to second.

Lawrence held on to his lead, however, as he posted an impressive five-under 67 in the second round, moving to 13-under for the tournament, two ahead of Strydom.

“I said to Thriston that someone must break the course record today and he just said ‘We’ll see’,” Strydom said after his bogey-free round that included two hat-tricks of birdies, from the fifth hole and the 11th hole.

“But I had plenty of fun, it was pleasant out there and I hit the ball as well as I can and in the right places. I played it safe to the tough flags and just made sure I missed in the right places.

“Today was exceptional and I am in a good position. On the weekend I will just try to keep my head in the game, be positive and go out and hit the ball as well as I can,” Strydom said.

Lawrence sealed his lead, and held off Strydom’s challenge, by making four birdies in his last five holes.

“Ockie had an unbelievable round today, but fortunately I had a good finish,” Lawrence said. “He said this morning that I must break my course record and now he has done it.

“It will be lekker playing together in the third round and hopefully we can make sure a South African wins the tournament.”

Lawrence continued to attack the longest course in DP World Tour history off the tee, saying “Driver has been the best club in my bag all year”. Starting his round on the 10th hole, he birdied the 12th and 13th, but his round then lost a bit of momentum as he made pars the rest of the way to the turn, three-putting the par-five 18th for par. Bogeys at one and four meant his lead was well and truly under threat, but he then sank a series of impressive putts to pull clear again.

Frenchman Clement Sordet (66) and amateur Christian Maas (65) both enjoyed brilliant days as they moved to 10-under and tied for third.

Time for the Springboks to ‘ruk reg!’ 0

Posted on October 18, 2022 by Ken

There is a wonderful saying in Afrikaans that is often used on the recalcitrant or the idle: they are told to ‘ruk julle reg!’.

It can be roughly translated as meaning ‘Shape up or ship out’ and fans watching the slide of the Springbok team towards mediocrity will no doubt be using it ahead of South Africa’s Rugby Championship match against Australia in Sydney on Saturday.

While the wretched display in Adelaide last weekend means the players desperately need to take a big step up in terms of executing basic skills and decision-making, it is also the management who need to up their game and thereby elevate the standard of rugby the Springboks are producing on the pitch.

While there are critics who say they rick their necks watching the Springboks kick the ball sky-high all game, or fall asleep while watching them scrum or maul for penalties, these are valid tactics. But they should be used as a means to an end, and not an end in themselves.

Much as coach Jacques Nienaber may hate it, penalties are only worth three points and tries are worth five, seven if converted. Which is why Australia, despite conceding 16 penalties against just nine given away by South Africa, won comfortably last weekend, scoring three tries to two.

And it’s not as if these Springboks can’t play attacking rugby or can’t score tries. It’s just that they hide that ability away behind an ultra-conservative game-plan that puts so much emphasis on the build-up and the process that there is very little room for the sort of instinctive, opportunistic rugby that can actually create tries against a defence that is as good as the Wallabies’ shifting line was last weekend.

While it is scary to go into a Test in Sydney without such key injured players as Lukhanyo Am, Handre Pollard, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Elton Jantjies, I am actually excited to see how their replacements go.

Damian Willemse was so positive with ball-in-hand last weekend, but his team-mates were often on a different wavelength. Let’s hope he can bring control and direction to the game at flyhalf, as well as some of that offensive brilliance.

Jesse Kriel will be chomping at the bit to start at outside centre again, while Canan Moodie’s Test debut is a dream story for someone who wasn’t even in the Bulls’ URC squad at the start of last season.

What was especially disappointing last weekend was the number of Springbok attacks that ran aground on the Great Barrier that was Australia’s defensive reef, mostly due to poor execution or naïve strategies.

Better attacking plans need to be put in place in order to fully utilise the talent in this Springbok side. The Wallabies’ slingshot defence is well-known, they give teams space on the outside and usher them into touch, so it was especially disappointing to see the Springboks crabbing across the field like they did when Du Toit passed into touch. At the start of the move, from turnover ball, there had been a clear overlap.

An excellent show to watch when it comes to dissecting the Springboks’ performances is Owen Nkumane’s Final Whistle. Both Swys de Bruin and Nick Mallett, two great attacking coaches of previous South African teams, were in agreement that the current side’s offensive efforts have not passed muster.

Mostly because they seem to be waiting for the perfect moment to attack, instead of trying to engineer those opportunities with more ambitious play. So many chances were not used in the 22 perhaps because the players are not in a suitably positive, attacking mindset?

Beating the Wallabies in Australia has always been a torrid Test for the Springboks, and now they need to do it under pressure and with key injuries. They will need to show massive character.

Sharks only focused after being told ‘actions speak louder than words’ 0

Posted on June 01, 2022 by Ken

It was only after being told that “actions speak louder than words” that the Sharks managed to put together a focused second half, keeping the ball through several phases, to pile pressure on Connacht and eventually hammer them 41-21 in their United Rugby Championship match at Kings Park.

A messy, error-strewn first half saw the Sharks trailing 10-21 at the break, but they were inspired in the third quarter, scoring three tries in 14 minutes to settle the contest.

“Things didn’t go our way in the first half,” coach Sean Everitt said, “it was strange, there were a lot of penalties and not much ball-in-play. There were a lot of errors by both teams in the first 10 minutes.

“It was difficult for us to get going, but halftime gave us the opportunity to regroup and have a good, honest talk. We said actions are bigger than words.

“The guys settled down then and got the job done. The second forty was much better and we did not want to disappoint the big crowd that came to support us,” Everitt said.

Aphelele Fassi was particularly rampant after the break, starting with a superb 50/22 kick that provided the territory for centre Marius Louw’s try. Just four minutes later, the fullback brilliantly gathered an up-and-under and then roared clear on counter-attack, into the Connacht 22 and again providing the platform for a try, this time by hooker Bongi Mbonambi.

Everitt clearly rates the 24-year-old highly.

“If you kick well then you often get a kick back and then there’s a counter-attacking opportunity. That brings Aphelele into the game and he is really dangerous.

“He has great feet and can really open up the game,” Everitt said.

Connacht coach Andy Friend admitted his frustration at his team’s second-half collapse.

“You could see the Sharks power come through, but unfortunately we also gave them some loose kicks and loose ball and that allows their potent back three to cut you open.

“That allowed them to build pressure and momentum. There have been too many occasions through the year where we’ve had multiple scores against us in quick succession,” Friend said.

No guarantee for PE folk buying tickets that Harmer will play 0

Posted on May 05, 2022 by Ken

The good people of Gqeberha will no doubt be basing, in part, their decision to buy tickets for the second Test between South Africa and Bangladesh starting at St George’s Park on Friday on whether local hero Simon Harmer will be playing, but veteran groundsman Adrian Carter told The Citizen on Tuesday that he can’t guarantee the pitch will support the use of two spinners.

Harmer, who began his professional career playing for Eastern Province in 2009, dovetailed superbly with Keshav Maharaj in the first Test, taking seven wickets in the match, as well as scoring a vital 38 not out in the first innings as South Africa won by 220 runs at Kingsmead.

“St George’s Park has had the reputation for being low and slow, but this pitch is looking very sporty, although we are still a few days out from the Test,” Carter said.

“We’re aware of what South Africa want, so there won’t be too many surprises, but there is a lot of grass still on the pitch. Local opinion amongst the players is that if it seams it will also spin.

“It turns off the grass though, so it’s not sharp fizz like off the clay in India, but the ends are fairly worn because we’ve had a lot of cricket on the field and there should be some purchase.

“There is rain expected on the weekend though and there’s more assistance for the seamers if the Easterly blows, it lifts the grass up a bit. But it needs to be a gentle wind and it needs to be overcast,” Carter said.

If South Africa do bolster their seam attack then Glenton Stuurman, who has taken 29 wickets in nine matches at his new home ground in Gqeberha, could come in for his second Test. He could replace either Duanne Olivier, whose performance was inadequate at Kingsmead, or Wiaan Mulder, who played only a bit part in the first Test and looked extremely uncertain with the bat.

Long-term, Mulder’s place has to be in serious doubt due to his lack of runs – averaging just 14.40 in 15 innings – and there have also been mutterings that CSA could go back to enforcing a quota of six players of colour, including three Black Africans, in every Proteas starting XI and not just as an average over the season.

Mulder would be the most likely player to make way for a player of colour, but the balance of the Proteas side would also be severely affected if that move comes to fruition.

Even if does not, if Harmer wants to have a long-term playing future in the XI, then he is probably going to have to ensure his batting is good enough to fill the No.7 position. It makes perfect sense, however, for the Proteas management to really want him for the England tour, where some of the venues could have turning pitches and he has enjoyed immense success in county cricket.

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Thought of the Day

    Don’t be so busy – even working for God – that you don’t have regular quiet time. Don’t let your activities become more important than your time with the Father. You can be alive ‘for’ God without experiencing the presence and power of the living Christ.

    “Attempting to serve the Lord without the strength of the Holy Spirit results in frustration and ultimate disaster.

    “If your vision of him grows dim, your service will become powerless and ineffective. This will happen if your spiritual reserves are not regularly replenished through prayer and meditation.

    “You must put him first in all your activities. Your service for him must be the result of your intimate knowledge of him. Only when he enjoys priority in all things, can you understand life from his perspective. Putting Christ first in your life and work makes you a more capable servant of God.” – A Shelter From The Storm, Solly Ozrovech

↑ Top