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Ken Borland



Floyd’s game and mentality keep improving as she claims the lead 0

Posted on July 08, 2024 by Ken

KEMPTON PARK, Ekurhuleni – Young Kiera Floyd’s game and mentality seemingly improves with every event as she fired a wonderful five-under-par 67 on Thursday to claim the lead after the first round of the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s Absa Ladies Invitational at Serengeti Estates.

Floyd has produced back-to-back top-10 finishes in her last two tournaments and also contended strongly in the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am at Fancourt before an 84 in the final round saw her slip down to a tie for 15th place. The 19-year-old is also playing at her home course at Serengeti and there is certainly a lot of expectation that the prodigy can notch up her breakthrough professional win this week.

She successfully managed that external pressure, and also composed herself brilliantly after an unfortunate double-bogey at the 122m par-three fifth hole, not dropping another shot as she finished with seven birdies in all. Three of those came in her first four holes, before her mishap on the first par-three, and then a birdie on the par-five eighth was followed by three more on the back nine.

“I know there is a lot of expectation on me this week and I know there are a lot of people who want me to do well here, but I put all that to the side. I just played like I had not played the course before, I started like it was a fresh round on a new course this morning,” Floyd said.

“And I was very happy with the way I played. The double-bogey was a bit unlucky because I hit my tee shot into a bunker where there was no sand, and then played a bit of ping-pong over the green.

“But I came back nicely and I am really happy with my performance. Off the tee and my putting were the best parts of my game, I sank a few nice ones, which definitely helps. It was not easy out there, but I gave myself a lot more opportunities to make birdie. But it is just the first round and I need to keep going,” Floyd said.

The 2022 SA Women’s Strokeplay champion is one stroke ahead of fellow South African Casandra Alexander, who provided the sort of birdie-birdie finish to her round that had the spectators recording the action on their cellular phones.

The 24-year-old Alexander’s 68 also included a double-bogey, at the par-five eighth, but she immediately pulled a stroke back by making a birdie at the par-three ninth. She was level-par at the turn, but birdies at the 11th and 15th holes, and then her two threes to finish saw Alexander soar up the leaderboard.

In a momentous day in this season’s Sunshine Ladies Tour, every place in the top-five is filled by a South African, breaking the overseas dominance that has been apparent in the previous four events.

Perennial winner Lee-Anne Pace, Tara Griebenow and Stacy Bregman all shot 70s on Thursday to share third place. Another South African, Nicole Garcia, was leading on four-under through 10 holes, but she struggled to a 39 coming home, finishing her round on the front nine, to join a dozen other golfers on level-par 72.

One could tell Venter was poised for big things … and she delivers with Royal Cape win 0

Posted on June 07, 2024 by Ken

CAPE TOWN – Judging by her two previous appearances on the Sunshine Ladies Tour, one could tell young Gabrielle Venter was poised for big things and the 19-year-old duly delivered on Friday when she won the Standard Bank Ladies Open in a thrilling battle with the experienced Kylie Henry at Royal Cape Golf Club.

Venter had finished tied-fifth in the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am and second in the SuperSport Ladies Challenge earlier this season, and on Friday she showed her enormous talent and mettle by shooting a superb four-under-par 70 to finish on nine-under-par.

It was enough to overtake 37-year-old Henry, a two-time Ladies European Tour winner, who had led after the first two rounds but could only post a level-par 74 on the final day, finishing on eight-under.

While the victory might not have been a big surprise for followers of the Sunshine Ladies Tour, Venter said afterwards she had no inkling her maiden professional win was on the cards until she was on the 18th green.

“Honestly I was not focusing on the win at all because if you do that too much then you lose focus on the actual golf,” Venter said. “So I didn’t know what the scores were at all, I was just focused on my own game. I felt my game was in place to win, but if it didn’t happen then I would just wait for the next time.

“The first time I saw a scoreboard was when I was putting on 18, I missed the birdie putt and then you expect the best from your opponent and I was ready for a playoff with Kylie.”

While Henry had the misfortune to bogey the last two holes, she had played a full part in cultivating an exceptional final day in the R600 000 event. The Scotswoman recovered from a a double-bogey on the par-four first hole, while Venter made birdie to immediately catch up with the leader; Henry regained the sole lead with a birdie on the third hole and she matched Venter’s four on the par-five fifth.

The lead switched on the sixth hole, however, as Venter birdied the par-four and Henry dropped a shot. Both golfers birdied the par-five seventh, but they were level again when the Bloemfontein Golf Club representative three-putted the par-three eighth.

But she regained the lead with a birdie on the ninth, before Henry pulled level again with a birdie on the par-five 11th. Venter struck back with a birdie on the 12th, but another three-putt on a par-three followed as both golfers left the 13th green on nine-under-par.

Henry birdied the par-five 14th to lead again, but Venter’s birdie-bogey-par finish was enough to pip the Investec Order of Merit leader, who closed par-bogey-bogey.

While Venter’s pure ball-striking off the tee deserted her a bit in the closing stages, she made a lot of key putts and her short game was amazing. While the back nine was a little unkind to her, she showed impressive patience to pull off the win.

“It was quite a struggle on the back nine, but for the entire season my all-round game has been good. This win really means a lot to me because it puts me into a position to win the order of merit, which I really want to do.

“I will also take a lot of confidence into the co-sanctioned events – the SA Open and the Joburg Open – and I’ve learnt that every shot counts at this level. Now I know I can win here. This tour is a great tool to do well enough to be invited overseas and play against the best,” Venter said.

Emie Peronnin of France shared second with Henry after shooting a fantastic 70 that kept the pressure on the two leaders to not slip up.

Only human for Maphaka to feel pressure of expectation, but instead he flourished 0

Posted on April 05, 2024 by Ken

Expectation can be an unkind burden for young cricketers and it would only have been human for Kwena Maphaka to feel the pressure during the ICC U19 World Cup hosted by South Africa. But instead the DP World Lions rising star showed his mettle by flourishing and enjoying a spectacular tournament.

The St Stithians pupil was named the Player of the Tournament for his 21 wickets, just one short of the all-time record at the event. Bangladesh spinner Enamul Haque took 22 wickets in 2004, but one record Maphaka did claim for himself was for three five-wicket hauls in a single edition of the U19 World Cup, which no-one had managed before.

He is the fourth South African to receive the honour, the first being current DP World Lions men’s captain Dominic Hendricks in 2010. Aiden Markram (2014) and Dewald Brevis (2022) are the others to bring the individual title back to Mzansi.

Left-arm fast bowler Maphaka is a prodigy, of that there is no doubt, and the 17-year-old was playing in his second junior world cup. He first played for the St Stithians first XI in Grade IX, so he has had to deal with expectation from a very young age.

“I’ve learnt how to deal with it quite well, there is always expectation. It’s getting higher as I get older, but I’m just trying to grow as a cricketer at the same pace,” Maphaka says.

“On a personal level I was quite happy with the tournament, but it was unfortunate that we did not go through from the semifinals and win as a team. But that’s cricket.

“I guess I just hit a run of form and when you’re in that purple patch you feel confident and that there’s not much that can stop you. The games were all so close together and I was in good mental places, so I just ran with it,” Maphaka says.

Having fulfilled his considerable potential at junior level, the matric student will be prioritising his academics in 2024, but he is already part of the DP World Lions men’s squad. He made his debut for them on November 30 at St George’s Park, taking four wickets in the match against the Warriors. He had already made his first-class debut back in June last year when he was fast-tracked into the SA A team in Sri Lanka by Test coach Shukri Conrad.

Maphaka is sure to still pop up from time-to-time this year as he begins to transition into senior cricket.

“This year my first priority is to pass matric, so my focus will be on school, that’s my main goal. From next year onwards I can focus on domestic cricket and I hope to make my name with the DP World Lions. Then maybe in a couple of years I will be fortunate enough to represent the Proteas,” Maphaka says.

By then he could quite possibly be running the joint, just like his predecessor at St Stithians and the DP World Lions, the great Kagiso Rabada.

DP World Lions bowling coach Allan Donald sees some similarities between Maphaka and Rabada, who he coached in his first few months at international level with the Proteas.

“You get these youngsters who you just absolutely know have got it and they’ve got the jewels to go the whole way, like KG. The first time I saw Kwena I could see he had everything – he’s fit, strong and athletic; he has a good action and a magnificent wrist.

“We saw in the U19 World Cup that he was bowling late-inswinging full balls to the right-handers, knocking over the stumps at pace. He has all the credentials to be a wonderful prospect. Every now and then you get a freakish cricketer and Kwena is one of those.

“It’s a privilege to be involved with him and I look forward to him joining us full-time when he’s finished school. He is just a gem and the world is at his feet,” Donald said.

Coetzee fully committed to getting best out of his talent, so move to Titans makes sense 0

Posted on April 05, 2023 by Ken

Gerald Coetzee impressed in his debut Test series against the West Indies this year.

Gerald Coetzee strikes one as a young cricketer who is fully committed to getting the absolute best out of his talent, so when his Free State Knights team were relegated at the end of the season, it was only natural that he should look elsewhere to further his burgeoning career.

The Northerns Titans, with whom he has now signed, are an ideal fit for the exciting fast bowler, being a team with a history of winning and a reputation for converting domestic talents into international stars. The Titans dominated the last decade of franchise cricket and they topped the Division I promotion/relegation log after the last two seasons.

The Proteas and their fans will also be delighted because the newly-capped Coetzee is too exciting a talent to be languishing in Division II.

The 22-year-old Coetzee played two Tests and two ODIs for South Africa in the season just finished, and proved himself to be a strike-bowler with 14 wickets. He is also a handy lower-order batsman.

“He’s an x-factor player, dangerous with the white ball and he will also really help us in the four-day competition,” Titans CEO Jacques Faul told kenborland.com. “He’s an exciting talent who has the kind of profile of young fast bowlers we have developed in the past – guys like Morne Morkel, Dale Steyn and Lungi Ngidi.

“With Lungi being contracted to the Proteas, we don’t get to see much of him in Titans colours, and Lizaad Williams too has spent time away with the national squad. So we need Gerald’s firepower as well,” Faul said.

Northerns Titans have also signed Free State opening batsman Matthew Kleinveldt, who fitted in well with the Knights after moving there in 2020 following 10 seasons in the Western Cape. In the last two seasons based in Bloemfontein, Kleinveldt has scored 692 runs at an average of 49.42.

With Theunis de Bruyn’s future in doubt and Heinrich Klaasen likely to be away with the Proteas for much of next season, it makes sense for the Titans to beef up their batting, an area where they also looked a bit light on experience at the end of last season.

The movement of Coetzee and Kleinveldt to Northerns is important because it also ensures two of the Knights’ better players still have a place in Division I cricket. With its strong schools and university, Free State is an important area of talent in terms of the national pipeline and their relegation to Division II is not good news for South African cricket as a whole. Especially since it is KZN Inland who are replacing them in the top division, meaning there are two teams from KwaZulu-Natal, based less than 100km apart, now playing in the A Section.

Of the Knights’ other players of national interest, Raynard van Tonder, so prolific with the bat a couple of seasons ago, is moving to the North-West Dragons, where he will definitely bolster a fragile batting line-up. Pace bowler Migael Pretorius, however, is believed to have turned down contracts elsewhere and will be playing as a free agent, which probably means he will be heading overseas to play in T20 leagues.

The 36-year-old Pite van Biljon, who was playing T20s for South Africa in 2021, is heading to Pietermaritzburg to play for the KZN Inland Tuskers, one of the few signings they will be making as they are believed to be backing the talent that won them promotion.

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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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