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Ken Borland

Reto starts like a fish out of water, but then all goes swimmingly 0

Posted on April 09, 2024 by Ken

SUN CITY, North-West – United States-based South African Paula Reto may have looked a bit like a fish out of water when she bogeyed the second and third holes on the second day of the SuperSport Ladies Challenge presented by Sun International on Thursday, but the rest of her round at the Lost City Golf Club then went swimmingly as she claimed a share of the lead.

Reto went on a run of five birdies in six holes from the fifth hole, and then added back-to-back birdies on the 13th and 14th holes, before returning from a lightning break with another gain on the 17th. Her superb six-under-par 66 lifted her to eight-under overall and she will go into the final round tied for the lead with India’s Tvesa Malik, who fired a stunning 65.

The 33-year-old Reto won this tournament in 2022, but it was then played at the Gary Player Country Club. But after a tough 2023 campaign on the LPGA Tour, Reto is in a good frame of mind back in her home country, and it showed in her ability to bounce back from two early setbacks on Thursday.

“I don’t know what happened really, I hit a bad tee-shot on the second and suddenly I’d gone bogey-bogey. I just said to myself that I must give myself opportunities and fortunately I then managed to get the ball close to the hole a few times, and chipped in on the eighth, which is always nice for your momentum,” Reto said.

“Lost City is completely different to the GPCC, you have to strategise more off the tees, it’s a course that requires more thinking. To be able to bounce back after those two bogeys felt really good and I was very happy that I kept to the plan. I was able to stay on plan and not let the bogeys get to me.

“Last year was tough because I struggled with my swing a bit and I couldn’t string four good rounds together. It starts to take a toll on your confidence and you start to try and change so much all at once.

“So at the start of this year I just tried to hone in on a few things, make sure I do those basics well. I’m happy with where my game is heading and I just love coming back here to South Africa, being with my family and feeling a bit like I’m on vacation,” Reto said.

Getting married on December 29 to fellow Indian professional golfer Ajeetesh Sandhu certainly seems to have bear fruit for Malik as she produced an outstanding, bogey-free round with four birdies on the back nine and then three on the front.

First-round leader Lauren Taylor shot a 70 on Thursday to move to six-under-par, two off the lead, while exciting South African youngster Gabrielle Venter shot 68 on Thursday to move to five-under.

Under-performing Proteas have SA cricket under enormous pressure 0

Posted on June 26, 2023 by Ken

South African cricket is under enormous pressure at the moment, with the Proteas battling to keep their heads above water in Australia at the height of summer in a Test series that enjoys considerable profile due to it being between the two sides at number one and two in the World Test Championship.

The second Test at the MCG from Boxing Day, one of the great occasions in the game, is do-or-die for the Proteas in terms of staying alive in the series; but it also offers them the chance to go into 2023 on a much-needed positive note.

There can be no doubt that the South African cricket team have underperformed in 2022. The Test format has actually been their strongest, which is why they are still in contention to play in next year’s World Test Championship final, despite having one of the weakest batting line-ups.

They began 2022 by sealing a memorable series win over India, where the batsmen showed true guts and the bowlers were superb in home conditions. Their inconsistency then came to the fore in New Zealand with an abysmal performance in the first Test, but then a brilliant effort in the second to draw the series on the home turf of the reigning WTC champions.

Bangladesh were efficiently dispatched by a Proteas team missing their IPL stars, but spinners Keshav Maharaj and Simon Harmer came to the fore, and a thumping innings win over England at Lord’s followed to really raise expectations.

But then the batting was exposed and heavy defeats followed at Old Trafford and the Oval. The Gabba massacre was a continuation of that trend.

The same batting woes often inflicted the T20 side. There were times when the Proteas looked genuine T20 World Cup contenders, like when they beat India away twice in a row in June or won the series in England. Even at the World Cup in Australia, winning a crunch game against India in Perth gave renewed hope; but they then lost to Pakistan and, most humiliatingly, to the Netherlands when just one more win would have seen them through to the semi-finals.

South Africa’s ODI form has been mediocre. The highlight of the last year was the 3-0 series win over India in the Cape, but unfortunately that did not qualify for World Cup qualification points. Their record for the rest of the year in ODIs was three wins and five losses, including a shock home series defeat to Bangladesh.

The Proteas are now struggling to automatically qualify for next year’s 50-over World Cup, especially since they are forfeiting their series in Australia, which was meant to follow the Tests, to concentrate on the SA20 competition, a desperate bid to rescue Cricket South Africa’s finances.

Those same dismal finances are the reason the Proteas are going to be desperately under-exposed at Test level over the next few years, so how can we honestly expect them (especially the batsmen) to get better in that arena? The Australia tour is the last three-Test series South Africa will play until September 2026!

The lack of attention CSA is giving to red-ball cricket is an immense frustration. There are many coaches who believe having a foundation in the skills of long-format cricket actually makes better limited-overs players, so we should not be surprised that the malaise spreads to the ODI and T20 performances.

And it’s not just the Proteas who aren’t getting enough red-ball cricket. Our domestic stars, the internationals of the future, play just seven four-day games the whole season. With the inevitable weather interventions and innings wins, some batsmen will only get 10 visits to the crease all summer.

And then there is the quality of that cricket. It is really annoying that the Proteas play such scant regard to ‘paying it back’ to the system that grew them and play so infrequently, even right before a major series like the current one in Australia.

I have no doubt our batsmen’s woes can be directly attributed to the fact their games are not sufficiently honed at domestic level. They are seldom really challenged from both ends during a game, whereas at international level they will face two fast bowlers roaring in at 140km/h or a top-quality spinner almost the whole time.

Unless these basic building blocks are fixed, we can stand by for another very frustrating year.

Sharks reserves don’t like water; sink without trace v Cardiff 0

Posted on February 28, 2023 by Ken

The Sharks’ reserve depth showed that they do not like water and sank without a trace, a naïve and lacklustre effort in the rain seeing them being hammered 35-0 by Cardiff in their United Rugby Championship match at Kings Park on Sunday night.

The Sharks had already made a sloppy start to the match as they conceded a breakdown penalty soon after the kickoff, slotted by flyhalf Jarrod Evans, when heavy rain arrived at the stadium and the home side’s hopes were seemingly washed away from that point.

Even though Cardiff suffered a yellow card to captain and flank Josh Turnbull for head contact with fullback Anthony Volmink – who must surely have suffered a concussion given what an absolute shocker he had thereafter – the Sharks could make no headway as they forced passes in the wet, giving away possession, and also tried to run the ball out of their own territory.

Cardiff’s other flank, Thomas Young, had a rampaging game and he earned the penalty try that gave the Welshmen a 13-0 lead after 26 minutes. Picking up a ball spilt at a ruck, he broke clear and kicked ahead, but wing Marnus Potgieter was winning the race to the ball in the in-goal area. But Potgieter deliberately slapped the ball over the dead-ball line, instead of trying to ground it, the referee awarding a penalty try and also issuing a yellow card.

Two glaring errors by Volmink in his own 22 then gifted Evans with his third penalty and Young with his second try, on the halftime whistle, as the fullback simply dropped the ball five metres from his own line.

In conditions that were tailor-made for the visitors from a UK city that is often wet, Cardiff stretched their halftime lead from 23-0 to 35-0 up with two more tries in the third quarter. Young scored from a maul as the Sharks conceded back-to-back penalties, and another rampaging run by the son of former Wales prop Dai Young provided front-foot ball deep in the 22, Evans producing a lovely delayed pass that sent fullback Ben Thomas over for the try.

The Sharks did rouse themselves a bit at the tail-end of the game, but they failed to break their duck due to their own inaccuracies, especially at the breakdown, or a TMO who definitely seemed to be looking for reasons to penalise them. They did have a try disallowed due to an intervention by TMO Eoghan Cross after the conversion had already been taken, and he also interrupted other promising Sharks positions.


CardiffTries: Penalty try, Thomas Young (2), Ben Thomas. Conversions: Jarrod Evans (2). Penalties: Evans (3).

Deadly waterfall up ahead for SA Rugby 0

Posted on January 21, 2021 by Ken

Watching South African rugby on television at the moment may be a bit like being in a canoe stuck in a stagnant backwater – the still water means not much is happening – but there is a deadly waterfall up ahead if the Independent Communications Authority (Icasa) get their way.

Icasa, which regulates broadcasting in this country, are concerned that subscription TV, i.e. Multichoice, have a monopoly on showing live sport in this country and they want to make the market more competitive. To do this, they propose that broadcast rights can only be bought for a maximum three-year period, there are to be no exclusive deals and rugby’s properties must be split and dispersed between as many broadcasters as possible.

But as SA Rugby so ably illustrated in their presentation to Icasa during public hearings this week, these so-called remedies will have the exact opposite effect. Because they will have such a drastic economic impact on the sport, for whom the sale of television rights makes up 58% of their income (sponsorship, which largely depends on TV exposure, makes up another 26%), the market won’t be competitive at all because professional rugby, already brought to its knees by the Covid-19 pandemic, will all but cease to exist.

Spreading the rights around may sound like a lovely socialist plan in an ideal world, but in the real world of free market economies, and the absence of any other broadcaster remotely capable of doing and paying what SuperSport does, rugby is in the canoe going over the Victoria Falls if they can no longer sell their rights as a single package, in long-term, exclusive contracts.

Given the abysmal record of almost all parastatals in this country, I have a healthy scepticism when it comes to them poking their noses around wherever they sniff money or gravy. But I was squirming with discomfort when, following SA Rugby’s presentation, one of the Icasa councillors asked if the federation would consider producing movies, documentaries or news if they could no longer do rugby.

I was so shocked by the sheer idiocy of the question, coming from someone who is no doubt earning a healthy slab of taxpayers’ money and is in a position to draft laws for the people of this country, that I fired off a derogatory tweet. Shortly thereafter, after a rant by the Chairperson about people disrespecting authority on social media, I was removed from the virtual meeting.

It’s a bit like asking a company that specialises in making hand sanitizers if they wouldn’t mind switching to car manufacturing because the government wants to fiddle with the market.

As SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux pointed out, it costs millions of rand to build a competitive rugby system that will find a player with talent in the grassroots pipeline, take them through the youth age-levels, through provincial and franchise rugby and hopefully then to the Springboks. That money largely comes from the sale of television broadcast rights and sponsors who are willing to pay for the exposure they get on TV.

Apart from their clearly undemocratic and anti freedom of speech tendencies, Icasa also failed to do a Regulatory Impact Assessment before drafting their findings, according to SA Rugby’s legal counsel, Ngwako Maenetje SC. He also accused Icasa of paying scant regard to a written submission SA Rugby had previously made, which gave a thorough indication of the dire financial impact the proposed regulations would have on rugby.

A court date undoubtedly beckons for Icasa if they continue with this idiocy.

Roux also mentioned SA Rugby’s mandate is to produce compelling content and the current standard of the Currie Cup has been a subject of much discussion recently. It certainly has not been a top-class spectacle, but there have been mitigating factors for that such as the heat, humidity and rain at this time of year and the disruptions caused by Covid outbreaks.

But a look at the laws of the game could help. I like a suggestion made by coaching gurus Nick Mallett and Swys de Bruin that being able to mark a kick anywhere in the field should be considered, scrum infringements should initially just be free kicks and the attacking side should not be held to the same offsides lines as the defence.

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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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