Weekly Sports Wrap, South African sports news – 14 September
Cheetahs pip Bulls at the post
The Vodacom Free State Cheetahs produced a tenacious all round performance to defeat the Vodacom Blue Bulls 20-14 in a pulsating Absa Currie Cup Premier Division encounter in Bloemfontein on Saturday. In an intense battle, the Cheetahs managed to withstand a late Bulls onslaught to secure victory by a slender six-point margin.
However, although the victory margin was undoubtedly a small one there can be no denying the home side deserved their win. Their defence, particularly in the second half, was outstanding and they took their chances on attack when it counted while the Bulls decision-making let them down badly on occasions.
Cheetahs eighthman Ashley Johnson (pictured), who was named ‘Man of the Match’, and midfielder Meyer Bosman were particularly effective at the breakdown where time and again they thwarted a good Bulls attack by stealing the unprotected ball at crucial stages. The home side signaled their intent to take the game to the visitors from the outset when Phillip van der Walt scored one of the quickest tries in Currie Cup history, dotting down after only 31 seconds.
The kickoff was transferred wide quickly, leaving winger Jongi Nokwe with plenty of space on the overlap, which he used to sprint downfield before sending the ball inside to Bosman, who put Van der Walt over the line. The Bulls, to their credit, stormed right back into the game as they secured possession from the next kickoff, took the ball through a number of phases before flinging it wide, where left wing Jaco van der Westhuyzen stepped inside Tewis de Bruyn’s tackle to score.
Flyhalf Jacques-Louis Potgieter failed with the conversion but slotted two penalties to opposite number Louis Strydom’s one as the Bulls edged ahead 11-10 after 30 minutes. However, just when it seemed as though the Bulls were starting to build momentum, a bizarre decision by the officials disrupted the visitors progress.
Referee Shaun Veldsman referred a Potgieter penalty to the TMO despite looking like it had gone over. The match official then inexplicably disallowed the kick much to the frustration of the men in blue. It was a strange call to say the least but probably wouldn’t have changed the outcome of the match as the home side always seemed to be one step ahead of the visitors.
The Cheetahs dominated most of the game in the second half, and while the Bulls defended like trojans it was Hendro Scholtz (pictured) who finally got his team’s reward for their persistence when he scored what would be the match-winning try. Potgieter hit back with another penalty on 68 minutes to put the Bulls within seven and from then on the visitors attacked ferociously, but it was ultimately to no avail as the home side held out for their fourth consecutive victory.
Cheetahs captain Adriaan Strauss was understandably pleased with his team’s effort. “I’m very proud of the guys, our defence was good and we played well,” he told reporters afterwards. The men from Bloemfontein now move to third spot on the Currie Cup standings behind the Sharks and Western Province, who both recorded victories over the weekend, but their defeat leaves defending champions the Bulls under significant pressure, as they dropped to fifth as the season heads into its final stretch.
The Bulls now have a tough game against the fourth placed Lions at Loftus Versfeld next week and the result could well define their Currie Cup defence while the Cheetahs will travel to Durban to face the Sharks in an equally important fixture for both teams.
Cheetahs 20 – Tries: Phillip van der Walt (pictured), Hendro Scholtz. Conversions: Louis Strydom (2). Penalties: Strydom (2).
Blue Bulls 14 – Try: Jaco van der Westhuyzen. Penalties: Jacques-Louis Potgieter (3).
Other results (from left to right)
Sharks 30 – Pumas 14 – Puma Stadium, Witbank
Lions 40 – Griquas 29 – Coca-Cola Park Stadium, Johannesburg
Western Province 59 –Leopards 17 – Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
Griquas vs Leopards – GWK Park, Kimberley
Pumas vs Western Province – Puma Stadium, Witbank – 7.10pm
Sharks vs Cheetahs – The Absa Stadium, Durban – 3pm
Bulls vs Lions – Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria Accommodation – 5.05pm
Currie Cup log (After 10 games)
Pos Team Pts
1. Sharks 41
2. WP 33
3. Cheetahs 32
4. Lions 30
5. Bulls 29
6. Griquas 25
7. Pumas 17
8. Leopards 5
Stalemate for Ajax and Swallows in MTN8 semi
Ajax Cape Town and Moroka Swallows played to a goalless draw in a lively first leg MTN8 semi-final encounter at Athlone on Sunday afternoon. The Cape outfit will now travel to Johannesburg in two weeks time for the second leg against a Birds side that would have taken confidence from their away draw.
Both teams tried hard to score goals in a relatively entertaining game but just could not penetrate each other’s defences in the 90 minutes. The Urban Warriors undoubtedly had the better of the proceedings and would be disappointed with their inability to take any of the goal-scoring opportunities that came their way.
The first half was played at a fast pace, with Ajax perhaps the marginally stronger side. The Cape team looked polished and on form early on, producing some slick passing moves and dominating possession. However, Swallows had the first opportunity to score when Ashraf Hendricks (pictured) found himself unmarked for a back-post cross only to head wide of goal.
Terror Fanteni, who was well supported by Thulani Serero, was Ajax’s most potent threat in attack, but both players struggled to find the target with their shots, despite some good interplay between the two. Fanteni had a perfect scoring chance in the 30th minute when he found some space, but from 20 metres out his shot lacked the power to beat Birds ‘keeper, Aubrey Mathibe.
Three minutes later Swallows striker Oscar Machapa found the back of the net, but the goal was disallowed for off-side. The Urban Warriors again looked the more threatening team in the second half and looked to have scored in the 52nd minute, but Clayton Daniels was ruled to be in an off-side position as he drove in Granwald Scott’s free kick.
Scott himself looked to get on the score-sheet in the 78th minute, but his well flighted free kick wasn’t good enough to beat Mathibe (pictured). Four minutes later Daniels came within inches of putting Ajax ahead when his header struck the base of the upright, but it was not to be on a frustrating afternoon for the Urban Warriors.
Meanwhile, the other MTN8 first leg semi-final between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs played at the FNB stadium on Saturday night also ended in a draw – although not a goalless one. Pirates midfield dynamo Francis Chansa opened the scoring in the 47th minute when he slotted home from a corner but his effort was cancelled out when Knowledge Musona found the back of the net for Chiefs 13 minutes later. Both teams will clash again at the FNB stadium in two weeks time for the second leg of the semi-final.
Other football results (Absa Premiership)
Wednesday, September 8
Golden Arrows 2 – Vasco Da Gama 0 – Chatsworth Stadium
Platinum Stars 0 – Mamelodi Sundowns 2 – Royal Bafokeng Stadium
Bloem Celtic 3 – AmaZulu 1 – Seisa Ramabodu Stadium
SuperSport Utd 2 – Aces 1 – Super Stadium
Santos 2 – Bidvest Wits 1 – Athlone Stadium
Moroka Swallows 2 – Ajax Cape Town 3 – Dobsonville Stadium
Orlando Pirates 0 – Free State Stars 0 – Orlando Stadium
Maritzburg Utd 1 – Kaizer Chiefs 1 – Harry Gwala Stadium
Upcoming Absa Premiership fixtures
Maritzburg Utd vs Golden Arrows – Harry Gwala Stadium – 8pm
Ajax Cape Town vs Platinum Stars – Cape Town Stadium – 8pm
Free State Stars vs Vasco Da Gama – Charles Mopeli Stadium – 3pm
Bidvest Wits vs Orlando Pirates – Bidvest Stadium – 3pm
Kaizer Chiefs vs Bloem Celtic – Rand Stadium – 8.15pm
Mamelodi Sundowns vs SuperSport Utd – HM Pitje Stadium – 8.15pm
AmaZulu vs Swallows – Moses Mabhida Stadium – 3pm
Black Aces vs Santos – Puma Stadium – 3pm
Skipper Jacobs sets up easy win for Warriors
A fine knock by Davey Jacobs (pictured) helped the Chevrolet Warriors to a comfortable 28-run victory over the Victoria Bushrangers in their Champions League Twenty20 match at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth yesterday evening. Batting first, the Warriors amassed a useful 158/6 thanks mainly in part to Jacobs and wicketkeeper Mark Boucher who weighed in with a useful 31 off 28 balls.
The 27-year-old Jacobs, opening the innings with Ashwell Prince, got his side off to a perfect start as he raced to 59 before being needlessly run out after Prince attempted a run that was never on. The Warriors captain struck nine fours and one six during his 39 ball innings and shared in a first wicket stand of 81 with the left handed Prince who fell just two runs later after being caught by ‘keeper Matthew Wade off the bowling of medium pacer Andrew McDonald for 16. The Bushrangers enjoyed further success when Colin Ingram departed for just eight and it was left to Boucher (31 off 28) and Johan Botha (20 off 14) to get the Warriors to a credible 158/6 off their alloted 20 overs. McDonald with 2/22 off four overs was the pick of the Bushrangers bowlers.
In reply the visitors could only muster a modest 130/9 with only David Hussey (29 off 27) and Aaron Finch (25 off 20) looking threatening. But when Australian international Hussey had his leg stump uprooted by medium pacer Justin Kreusch to reduce the Bushrangers to 94/4, it heralded a dramatic batting collapse which saw the visitors lose their next five wickets for the addition of just 11 runs.
In fact, had it not been for the efforts of Shane Harwood, coming in at number 10, the Bushrangers could well have lost by a much bigger margin. Harwood weighed in with an unbeaten 17 off 13 deliveries to help the visitors to their eventual total. Flame-haired seamer Rusty Theron (pictured left) was outstanding with the ball for the Warriors, snaring 3/22 off his four overs and was well supported by veteran paceman Makhaya Ntini who bagged 2/33.
The win was the Warriors’ second in three days after they beat the Wayamba Elevens by seven wickets on Saturday. Jacobs’ men will face the Central Stags in their next Champions League outing at the same venue on Saturday. The match gets underway at 1.30pm.
Other results (SA teams in bold)
Friday, September 10
Highveld Lions beat the Mumbai Indians by nine runs
Saturday, September 11
Chevrolet Warriors beat the Wayamba Elevens by seven wickets
Chennai Super Kings beat the Central Stags by 57 runs
Sunday, September 12
South Australian Redbacks beat the Highveld Lions by 11 runs
Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Guyana by nine wickets
Upcoming fixtures (SA teams in bold)
Mumbai Indians vs South Australian Redbacks – Durban – 5.30pm
Victorian Bushrangers vs Central Stags – Centurion – 1.30pm
Chennai Super Kings vs Wayamba Elevens – 5.30pm
Mumbai Indians vs Guyana – Durban – 5.30pm
South Australian Redbacks vs Royal Challengers Bangalore – Durban – 5.30pm
Chevrolet Warriors vs Central Stags – Port Elizabeth – 1.30pm
Chennai Super Kings vs Victorian Bushrangers – Port Elizabeth – 5.30pm
Highveld Lions vs Guyana – Johannesburg – 1.30pm
Mumbai Indians vs Royal Challengers Bangalore – Durban – 5.30pm
Victorian Bushrangers vs Wayamba Elevens – Centurion – 5.30pm
‘Cyclones’ hoping to whip up a storm at the Palace
Undefeated World Boxing Federation (WBF) light middleweight champion Bongani ‘Cyclones’ Mwelase (pictured) faces arguably the toughest test of his career when he challenges Lovemore Ndou for the veteran’s International Boxing Organisation (IBO) welterweight title at Emperor’s Palace in Kempton Park on Saturday night.
The 28-year-old Mwelase has won 14 consecutive bouts, 12 of them by knockout, since turning pro in July 2006 with a first round demolition of Lawrence Molemane. Only veterans Lucky Lewele and Attila Kovacs have managed to last the distance with the heavy handed Mwelase who hails from Meadowlands in Gauteng and the young lion will be confident of notching up his 15th straight win on Saturday.
However, Mwelase will have a tough nut to crack in the form of the 39-year-old Ndou who began punching for pay way back in April 1993 winning six straight fights before being out pointed by Jeremiah Malinga in his seventh contest. ‘The Black Panther’, as Ndou is known, then went on to draw with Mthobeli ‘Hitman’ Mhlope in August 1995 in a bid for the South African super featherweight title before moving to Australia in 1996 in a bid to secure more fights.
The move did wonders for his career and eventually resulted in Ndou capturing the International Boxing Federation (IBF) light welterweight title in February 2007 when Naoufel Ben Rabah failed to answer the bell for the 12th and final round. Ndou lost the IBF belt in his first defence to American Paulie Malignaggi but went on to win the IBO strap with a point’s victory over another South African veteran, namesake Phillip ‘Timebomb’ Ndou in July 2009.
A draw with British fighter Matthew Hatton followed four months later since which Ndou has been inactive. However, with an impressive record of 47 wins (31 KO’s), 11 losses and two draws against mostly top calibre opposition Ndou must surely start as the favourite on Saturday. Mwelase, who captured the vacant WBF belt with a unanimous points victory over Kovacs in August 2009, is an aggressive come forward boxer who fears no man, but he will be facing a wily veteran in the form of Ndou who has never been stopped as a professional.
The ‘Black Panther’ has shared a ring with some of the best boxers in the world including Malignaggi, Kermit Cintron, Junior Witter and Puerto Rican powerhouse Miguel Angel Cotto and with a resume like that Ndou will feel he has little to fear from a novice like Mwelase. Saturday’s fight, which promises to be a really interesting boxer vs puncher match up, will be televised live on SuperSport 1 (SS1) at 7.45pm.
Mokoka is Cross Country king
Stephen Mokoka (pictured) cruised to a comfortable victory in the senior 12km race at the SA Cross Country Championships held at the Tshwane University of Technology campus on Saturday. Mokoka, a third-year sports management student at the Tshwane University of Technology, clocked an impressive 37 min, 32 secs, with Kgosi Tsosane (38:03) and Xolisa Tyali (38:09) finishing second and third respectively.
By the start of the second lap, eight competitors were jostling for supremacy upfront, but Mokoka broke away superbly on the final lap to secure victory. “The two hills on the back section of the race route really made things tough out there but I am glad to get the win,” said Mokoka, who won the SA 10km championship title in Paarl last month.
Malawian Mirriam Thole moved away from Central Gauteng’s Lebogang Phalula with two kilometres of the senior women’s 8km race remaining, and broke the tape in 29:05. Phalula came second in 29:39 with her twin sister Lebogang third in 30:01.