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Posted on: Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Proteas choke yet again and other sporting news …

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Graeme Smith

Graeme Smith

Proteas choke yet again in major tournament
The Proteas failed to shake off their unpleasant label of chokers with regard to their performances in major International Cricket Council (ICC) tournaments, when they were unceremoniously bundled out of the ICC Champions trophy in Centurion on Sunday.

Graeme Smith’s men were defeated by a resurgent England and fell 23 runs short of a victory target of 324 to finish on 301 for nine wickets in their allotted 50 overs. It was a bitterly disappointing defeat for the Proteas who went into this tournament as clear favourites, but ended it in shame as they lost two out of their opening three games for an early exit …

England put the pressure on the South Africans from the get go with openers Andrew Strauss and Joe Denly scoring a fairly brisk 48 off the first 10 overs. However, veteran all rounder Jacques Kallis struck the first blow for the Proteas when he removed Denly for 21 after the opener mistimed a pull and was caught by JP Duminy at deep square-leg. Strauss followed 11 runs later with his score on 25 after Proteas wicketkeeper Mark Boucher pulled off an acrobatic catch behind the stumps off pace man Wayne Parnell.

However, these early successes merely sent the stage for Owais Shah and Paul Collingwood to plunder 180 off the South African attack in a frenzied display of batting which took everyone by surprise. Collingwood’s contribution was 82 off 94 balls while Shah weighed in with a quick-fire 98 off just 89 balls to set England up for a total in excess of 300.

Eoin Morgan compounded the Proteas misery with a brutal 67 off just 34 deliveries, which included five glorious sixes. Morgan’s innings lifted England to 323, leaving the South Africans with the daunting task of having to score at 6.48 to the over to get the win and stay in the competition. The Proteas bowling was disappointing and undoubtedly cost them the match; with only Parnell standing out with his three wickets for 60 runs off 10 overs.

Smith (pictured) made a brave effort to get the runs, scoring a brilliant 141 of just 134 balls, but the South African skipper never received the support he needed from his woeful team-mates as wickets tumbled at regular intervals. The only other score of any worth was AB de Villiers’ 36 off 41 balls, but the talented Proteas number four needed to build a lengthy partnership with Smith if South Africa were going to get the runs, which is why is was so terribly disappointing when De Villiers tamely surrendered his wicket to medium-pacer Collingwood after he mistimed a pull and was easily caught by Denly.

After the loss, the local media immediately lambasted the Proteas with many calling for the head of coach Mickey Arthur, who must be bitterly disappointed as his teams early exist from yet another major ICC tournament. However, the fact of the matter is that the majority of the team, with the exception of Smith and perhaps Parnell, produced some very ordinary cricket and have only themselves to blame for their defeat.

At the end of the day good coaching isn’t worth anything if most of the team fails to play to their full potential, which is exactly what happened on Sunday at SuperSport Park. If anything, some radical changes need to be made to the Proteas side as some of the more senior players, with again the exception of Smith, are not pulling their weight. Let’s hope the South Africans get the house in order before England tour these shores on November 13.

Scoreboard
England

A Strauss c Boucher b Parnell 25
J Denly c Duminy b Kallis 21
O Shah c Boucher b Botha 98
P Collingwood b Parnell 82
E Morgan c Smith b Steyn 67
L Wright run out 8
R Bopara c Morkel b Botha 1
S Broad b Parnell 0
G Swann not out 8
J Anderson not out 2
Extras: 11
Total: 323/8 (50 overs)
Fall of wickets: 1-48, 2-59, 3-222, 4-262, 5-291, 6-295, 7-297, 8-320.
Bowling: Steyn 10-0-59-1, Parnell 10-2-60-3, Kallis 3-0-14-1, Morkel
6-0-45-0, Van der Merwe 9-0-67-0, Botha 9-0-56-2, Duminy 3-0-17-0.

South Africa
G Smith c Shah b Broad 141
H Gibbs c Wright b Anderson 22
J Kallis c Denly b Broad 12
AB de Villiers c Denly b Collingwood 36
JP Duminy b Swann 24
M Boucher b Anderson 8
A Morkel run out 17
J Botha c Onions b Broad 0
R van der Merwe b Anderson 0
W Parnell not out 10
D Steyn not out 17
Extras: 14
Total: 301/9 (50 overs)
Fall of wickets: 1-42, 2-64, 3-142, 4-206, 5-230, 6-255, 7-255, 8-263,
9-274.
Bowling: Anderson 10-0-42-3, Onions 7-0-52-0, Broad 10-0-67-3, Wright
5-0-31-0, Collingwood 10-0-58-1, Swann 8-0-43-1
Result: England won by 22 runs

Joe Pietersen

Joe Pietersen

Province trounce Griquas in Newlands monsoon
Western Province remained in second position in this year’s Absa Premier Currie Cup competition with a 43-3 drubbing of third placed GWK Griquas at Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday afternoon. Province fullback Joe Pietersen (pictured) was the destroyer in chief as he produced a near faultless performance to reap a rich harvest of 21 points via four penalties, two conversions and a try.

The rest of Province’s points came from tries by Brok Harris, Duane Vermeulen, Frikkie Welsh and Pieter Louw and a conversion by Peter Grant. In reply, Griquas could only muster a lone penalty by flyhalf Naas Olivier. The result left the Capetonians on 44 points, one adrift of the top placed Sharks who had an unconvincing 34-20 win over the lowly Leopards at the Absa Stadium in Durban on Friday.

Province were remarkably good against Griquas in a game played in absolutely appalling conditions with rain bucketing down in torrents, turning the playing field into something reminiscent of a swamp. The diamond miners were completely at sea (excuse the pun) in the unfamiliar conditions and were never able to cope with the elements and their skilled opposition.

The visitors spent the majority of the first half pinned in their own territory, conceding a host of penalties under pressure while captain and flank Jonathan Mokuena was also yellow-carded for constantly infringing. The Province half back pair of Peter Grant and Dewaldt Duvenhage kept their vastly superior pack on the front foot with long raking kicks, which piled on the pressure for the visitors who began too come apart at the seams.

Pieterson bagged his four penalties and scored his try in the first 40 minutes with prop Harris barging his way over the line after a powerful drive by the Province pack. Olivier kicked a penalty for the visitors when they managed to break into their opponents half to force a mistake, which yielded the penalty.

Griquas did improve somewhat in the second half when the rain eased up, but they could not penetrate the rock solid Province defence and failed to add to their half time score. This was not the case for the home side though as they continued to pile on the pressure and points, with further tries from flankers Vermeulen and Louw and utility back Welsh. Nineteen-year-old Australian import Matt Toomu had a hand in both Welsh’s and Louw’s tries, which must have made Province coach Allister Coetzee a very happy man.

It was an excellent win for Province who were superior and more organised in every compartment as the visitors failed to find their rhythm in the tricky conditions. “We did well today and we must keep working hard,” said Province captain Luke Watson commenting on the win. Indeed, if the Capetonians are able to keep on producing similar performances for the remainder of the season, they stand an excellent chance of being crowned champions.

Victor Matfield

Victor Matfield

Bulls survive late onslaught to thwart Cheetahs
The Free State Cheetahs staged a strong second-half fight back against the Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday, but it was not enough to stave off defeat as the home side won 30-27 after going into the break 23-10 to the good. The win meant the Bulls remain in fourth position on the log, with 36 points, but more importantly the defeat has demoted the Cheetahs to sixth while the Lions, who ascended to fifth after crushing perennial punch bags the Cavaliers 88-15 in Johannesburg, are just four points adrift of the men in blue.

It was a cracking game without the result in doubt right up until the final whistle. The home side had a great start and scored the first points of the match via a penalty by flyhalf Morné Steyn, with livewire right wing Gerhard van den Heever putting the Bulls further ahead five minutes later with a fine try, which was converted by Steyn.

The visitors replied with a 17th minute penalty by flyhalf Jacques-Louis Potgieter, only for the Bulls to hit back a minute later with an opportunistic try from flanker Dewald Potgieter, who charged down an attempted clearance from his name sake. Steyn, cool as a cucumber, added the conversion and then slotted a penalty to stretch his side’s lead to 20-3, before the Cheetahs started to launch their determined comeback.

The catalyst was undoubtedly Cheetahs left wing Fabian Juries, who dodged and weaved his way through no less than nine Bulls defenders to score the best individualistic try I’ve witnessed in years. The score was converted by Potgieter to close the gap to just 10 points before Steyn banged over another penalty on the hooter to make it 23-10 in favour of the home side.

The Juries magic continued three minutes into the second half when the mongoose like wing scored another jewel that closed the gap to a mere six points following another successful conversion by Potgieter. However, the Bulls struck back shortly thereafter with a try from centre Wynand Olivier who took a leaf out of Juries’ book to dive over near the posts for Steyn to add the conversion.

Cheetahs right wing Lionel Mapoe then got in on the action after 57 minutes when he shrugged off a couple of weak tackles to make it 30-24 in favour of the home side. Potgieter then frayed the nerves of many a Bulls supporter by slotting another penalty to close the gap to just three points with 20 minutes to go.

However, try as they might, the Cheetahs could not add to their score, allowing the Bulls to run out narrow winners, much to the relief of the Loftus faithful and captain Victor Matfield (pictured). “We’re very happy with the win and it’s nice for me and some of the guys (other Springboks returning from Tri-Nations duty) to be back and playing for the Bulls,” said Matfield. And believe me, the Bulls are going to need everyone of those Springboks if they hope to win the Currie Cup in what is becoming a very tight race for the championship.

Lucas Thwala

Lucas Thwala

Buccaneers held to a draw by determined Wits
Absa PSL log leaders Orlando Pirates were unable to pull off a victory against third placed Bidvest Wits at the Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday evening. The Students, who were without the services of their goalkeeper Darren Keet who is playing for the national team at the Under-20 World Cup in Egypt, produced a solid all round performance to deny The Buccaneers a victory in a closely contested encounter.

Pirates had the better of proceedings in the early going, but Wits made life difficult for the home side by countering them at every opportunity. However, Pirates were awarded a penalty in the 21st minute when Wits defender Themba Shabalala brought down Teko Modise inside the box.

Lucas Thwala made no mistake from the spot putting the home side 1-0 to the good, which is the way matters remained until the 65th minute when Wits striker Calvin Kadi scored his seventh league goal of the season from close in, after a well placed cross from winger Sifiso Myeni.

The goal seemed to energise the Students as they suddenly started to up the tempo of their play, even though the wet pitch wasn’t exactly contusive to fast-flowing soccer. However, neither team managed to net a winner leaving matters deadlocked after 90 minutes.

Nevertheless, a draw was perhaps a fair result as Pirates had the better first half while Wits were more dominant in the second stanza. The Buccaneers’ next outing is against 12th placed Free State Stars at the Charles Mopeli Stadium on Saturday afternoon while Wits do battle with 15th placed Jomo Cosmos at the Bidvest Stadium the following afternoon.

PSL Results (left to right)
Last Wednesday
Ajax Cape Town 1        Maritzburg Utd 1
Orlando Pirates 1            Platinum Stars 0
Bloem Celtic 1            Kaizer Chiefs 0
Mamelodi Sundowns 2         AmaZulu 0
Black Aces 1            Free State Stars 1
Moroka Swallows 0        Bidvest Wits 2
Golden Arrows 1            Santos 1

Saturday
Golden Arrows 1            Maritzburg Utd 1
Free State Stars 0        SuperSport Utd 1
Santos 2                Platinum Stars 0
Mamelodi Sundowns 1        Ajax Cape Town 2
Orlando Pirates 1            Bidvest Wits 1

Sunday
Moroka Swallows 0        Bloem Celtic 0
Jomo Cosmos 1            Kaizer Chiefs 2
Black Aces 2            AmaZulu 0

The pick of this week’s fixtures is most likely to be Friday’s encounter between seventh placed Maritzburg United and ninth placed Mamelodi Sundowns. Both teams are playing some decent football at the moment and are fairly evenly matched, which should make for an interesting encounter at the Woodburn Stadium in Pietermaritzburg. Kickoff is at 8pm.

Fixtures
Today
Platinum Stars vs Ajax Cape Town
AmaZulu vs Golden Arrows

Friday
Maritzburg Utd vs Mamelodi Sundowns
Santos vs Black Aces

Saturday
AmaZulu vs Moroka Swallows
Free State Stars vs Orlando Pirates
Platinum Stars vs Bloem Celtic
SuperSport Utd vs Golden Arrows

Sunday
Bidvest Wits vs Jomo Cosmos
Ajax Cape Town vs Kaizer Chiefs

Meanwhile, in international action, The South African Under-20 team, commonly referred to as Amajita, were held to a 2-2 draw against the United Arab Emirates in a Group F Under-20 World Cup match in Alexandria on Sunday. Two goals by striker Kermit Erasmus were cancelled out by a penalty from Hamdan Al Kamali and a late strike from Theyab Awana to give UAE a share of the spoils.

Takalani Ndlovu

Takalani Ndlovu

Takalani tames Kiko to set up double world title shot
Current World Boxing Foundation (WBF) featherweight champion Takalani ‘Panther’ Ndlovu (pictured left) recovered from a first round knockdown to unanimously outpoint Kiko Martinez (55.14kg) of Spain in an International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior featherweight title eliminator held at the Nasrec Indoor Arena in Johannesburg on Friday night.

The stocky Martinez uncorked a peach of a left hook in the opening stanza to send Ndlovu (55.34 kg) to the canvas, but the South African managed to beat the count and box his way out of trouble. However, Martinez had gained Ndlovu’s respect with the Soweto fighter deciding to take the cautious approach and rely on his boxing skills for a victory, rather than trying to slug it with the dangerous Spaniard.

It worked, as Ndlovu landed the more effective punches to run out a 117-111, 116-112 and 115-113 winner on the judges’ scorecard after 12 rounds of action. However, Ndlovu could have won by stoppage had he continued to apply the pressure in the 11th round after hurting Martinez with a series of stinging combinations. Thankfully for Martinez, he held back and kept his distance, obviously wary of exposing his chin to the hard punching Spaniard.

It was not a great performance by Ndlovu, but it was good enough to secure him a title fight, which will probably be against IBF and World Boxing Association (WBA) champion Celstino Caballero of Panama in the not too distant future. If that fight comes off, it will more than likely be the South African’s last chance of winning one of the more recognised world titles.

Ndlovu, a former South African and International Boxing Organisation (IBO) featherweight champion, had challenged Steve Molitor for the prestigious IBF junior featherweight belt in Canada in July 2007, but lost on a ninth round TKO. Molitor’s only loss was to Caballero in November 2008. The 32-year-old Ndlovu improved to 30-5 (18KO’s) while the 23-year-old Martinez dropped to 20-3 with 15 KO’s.

On the undercard, Vusi Malinga (53.50kg) had too much firepower for Fahili Maijia (53.14kg) of Tanzania and knocked him out in the third round to win the vacant World Boxing Organisation (WBO) Africa bantamweight title. Malinga, a southpaw, found his range in the second stanza when he began to unleash brutal combinations to both body and head forcing his smaller foe to back peddle.

The South African dished out more of the same treatment in the next round culminating in a trip to the canvas for the Tanzanian after he absorbed a wicked right-left combination to the body. A clearly distressed Majia failed to beat referee Tony Nyangiwe’s count, ending matters at 2 min, 28 secs of the round. Malinga improved his record to 18-3-1 (11KO’s) while Maija dropped to 7-1 (3KO’s). The win hopefully sets the South African up for another crack at a major world title after failing in his first bid against the brilliant World Boxing Council (WBC) bantamweight champion, Hozumi Hasegawa of Japan.

In other fights on the Branco Sports Productions bill, Warren Joubert (59.74Kg) remained unbeaten by outboxing the rugged Sifiso Msibi (58.66kg) over six rounds in a junior lightweight contest, while Michael Schultz (75.98kg) knocked out Oupa Mahlangu (76.20kg) 47 secs into the second round of a super middleweight contest scheduled for six rounds. It was the undefeated Schultz’s first fight in 11 years.

Meanwhile, in another tournament in Johannesburg the previous night, Andre Kerr, under the banner of Seconds Out Boxing Promotions, made his debut as a promoter at the Wembly Indoor Arena and put on an excellent show without the benefit of any sponsorship.

Results
Raymond Bloom TKO 1 Tholakelo Mxonywa (junior lightweights)
Sipho Taliwe TKO 3 Nicholas Modibeng (lightweights)
Nkululeko Mhlongo KO 2 Irvin Mahonisi (middleweights)
Stephen Ntshingila W6 Kyle Bothma (lightweights)
Koos Sibiya D6 Themba Lesiba (junior featherweights)
Johnny Muller TKO 1 Sean Santana (catchweight contest)
Marcel Japtha KO 1 Victor Kota (featherweights)

Former three-time world champion Tulane ‘Sugarboy’ Malinga was honoured at a tournament presented by African Ring in conjunction with Golden Gloves Promotions at Emperors Palace in Kempton Park last night.

Results
Hekkie Budler W12 Doctor Ntsele (junior flyweights)
Andre Thysse KO 5 Emmanuel Duma (light heavyweights)
Stephen Castle W4 Kally Kelembe (heavyweights)
Papi Mongende W4 Deon Coetzee (heavyweights)
Wesley Buys TKO 1 Simon Milne (lightweights)
Ashley Dlamini TKO 2 Shadrack Mamaila (featherweights)
Joey Stiglingh KO 3 Solly Mokoka (junior lightweights)
David Bassajjamivule W6 Simon Mokoena (super middleweights)

In upcoming warfare on Saturday, South African Evans Mbamba squares off against Mexican Tomas Rojas in Vila Cruz, Mexico, for the WBC interim junior bantamweight title.

Lance Isaacs

Lance Isaacs

Fast and furious action at Killarney meeting
The action was intense at the Western Cape Killarney Circuit on Saturday afternoon where the penultimate round of a number of local motorsport championships took place. Local boy Lance Isaacs (pictured) won both heats of the Interfile South African Motorcycle Championship on his PS Honda, edging out Greg Gildenhuys (RN Honda) and Sheridan Morais (Emtek Kawasaki) in the first race and then outlasting his two rivals again in the second outing, although the order was a little different on this occasion with Morais getting the better of Gildenhuys to finish second. The results meant that Morais, Isaacs and Gildenhuys are locked in battle for this year’s title with one round remaining.

The Engen Volkswagen Cup title is still up for grabs with none of the competitors being able to build up a decisive points lead. Devin Roberston won the first race with team-mate Gennaro Bonafede in second place and Kosie Weyers third. Mathew Hodges triumphed in the second heat, just ahead of Weyers and Kieren Quarmby. The championship now goes down to the wire with just one round left.

There were plenty of twists and turns in the Bridgestone Production Car Championships with both the Class A and Class T leaderships changing hands. The first race of Class A was won by Shaun Watson-Smith (Engen Audi) who was closely followed by Johan Fourie (IndyOil Audi) and Watson-Smith’s team-mate Michael Stephen. Fourie won the second heat with Watson-Smith second and Stephen again finding himself third. Fourie now leads the championship from Anthony Taylor (Afrox BMW 330i), Stephen and Leeroy Poulter (GP Nissan 350Z) going into the final round.

Graeme Nathan (IndyOil GTI) drove a faultless race to lead the Class T field from start to finish with Brett Roach (Old Mutual VW Polo GTI) second and Gary Formato (Nando’s Ford Focus ST) third. The second heat saw Formato take the win with team-mate Shaun Duminy second and Mark Carver (Global) rounding off the podium positions. Formato is now one point ahead of Nathan in the championship with just one event to go.

The first Class B race saw Kosie Swanepoel (Barnett Toyota RunX) take the win to secure the championship title. Shaun Pike (Toyota RunX) drove a defensive race to take second with Gary Green (Alfa Romeo) in third place. Swanepoel also won the second race from Pike after Green retired on the third lap.

There were some really dramatic happenings in the Wesbank V8 Championship when the Auby family’s attempt to finish first, second and third in the standings came to nought. All three Auby’s – father Deon and sons Marc and Brandon – failed to score a significant points haul in either of the two races on the day. Triple champion Hennie Gronewald (Holden) capitalised on this unfortunate state of affairs to take the win in the first race and third in the second which moved him into second position in the championship with just one round to go.

Veteran Groenewald is now within five points of Marc Auby (ELT Jaguar) who has led the championship throughout the year. Marc and his brother Brendon both retired from the first heat with gearbox problems with father Deon taking over the lead only for Groenwald to power his way past the older Auby to take victory. Jaco Correia (LiquiMoly Corvette) won the second heat from Neil Hawkins (Cars Unlimited Opel). The final round of all four championships takes place at Kyalami on Saturday, October 17.

The seventh round of the 2009 South African National Off-Road Car Racing Championship, the Toyota Dealer 400, takes place from October 2-3 and with only one round remaining in the championship, the action is expected to be intense as the top contenders fight it out for top honours. Watch this space to find out what happened.

Photo Credits:
Proteas choke yet again in major tournament – Photo – Graeme Smith: Source – flickr.com
Province trounce Griquas in Newlands monsoon – Photo – Joe Pietersen: Source – clubnewlands.co.za
Bulls survive late onslaught to thwart Cheetahs – Photo – Victor Matfield: Source – skysports.com
Buccaneers held to a draw by determined Wits – Photo – Lucas Thwala: Source – zimbio.com
Takalani tames Kiko to set up double world title shot – Photo – Takalani Ndlovu:  Source – daylife.com
Fast and furious action at Killarney meeting – Photo – Lance Isaacs:  Source – actionimage.co.za

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2 comments about Proteas choke yet again and other sporting news …
  1. September 30th, 2009 at 16:15
    Francois Daffue says:

    They need the guts and the fighting spirit of our Rugby Boks.No wonder that many of our great Cricketers also excelled in Rugby eg the Kirstens,Cullinan,Alan Lamb,Hansie Cronje,Kepler Wessels

  2. September 30th, 2009 at 17:15
    Guy Mortimer says:

    Yip, with the exception of Smith, the fighting spirit was just not there. I’m bitterly disappointed with the Proteas. I just hope they can turn things around before they square off against the English again in November. The South African public deserve so much better than the mediocrity produced by the Proteas in this tournament.

    The Proteas are really missing the likes of a Shaun Pollock. He was a top notch all rounder and such an economical bowler. Hopefully the Proteas can find somebody to replace him soon, otherwise they are going to continue to struggle in the bowling department and concede too many runs to their opponents. These are concerning times for South African cricket, but hopefully the ship will steady itself soon.