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Beaten but Unbowed

My golf four-ball once won a better ball competition by two points thanks to a nerve-wracking two inch tap-in on the final hole by yours truly. My cynical partner commented that he would have killed me if I had missed it. My response: “By how many points did you want to win, then?

Champions at last!

I wonder how many Superbru players predicted the close call by the All Blacks correctly? On Saturday a columnist came up with the very apt description of the Moody “Bleus” for the French side. Regrettably, he referred to their big hit as “A whiter shade of pale,” which was of course a Procul Harum song.

The wrong song title mirrored exactly what 99% of all pundits predicted: the French would fade into nothingness against the mighty All Blacks. The correct song is, of course, Nights in white satin. The French were Knights in white satin who should have won the game, but did not. There are two basic elements to winning a final. Accurate goal kicking and defence. The All Blacks upped their defence substantially as the tournament progressed, and this eventually proved to be the telling difference. A Morne Steyn in either side would have hugely affected the progress and outcome of the game.

Accolades should also go to Supersport for the quality presenters they employed to give us real insight into the minds of the teams. Having the likes of John Mitchell and Pieter de Villiers sharing their intimate knowledge with viewers provided a new dimension to watching the game. Masterplan NZ on Sunday afternoons is one program that I will sorely miss. These presenters made me understand just how little I really know about the beloved game.

Net soos wat die meeste van ons die wêreldbeker vir die All Blacks gun, is ek bly dat die twee spanne bo aan die punteleer in die Curriebeker finaal speel. Die omstrede insluiting van die Springbokke het wel ‘n rol in die Sharks/Vrystaat wedstryd gespeel, maar die “no-name” Leeus het hulle nie laat oordonder deur die WP se Bokke nie. Wat die hoepeltruie (of is dit nou hoepelbene) betref, het ek niks te sê nie, behalwe dat hul lojale ondersteuners beter as dit verdien het. Die Vrystaat het vriend en vyand verras en is glad nie oordonder nie. Hier gaan nog heelwat Bok staatmakers uit hierdie span kom. Die Sharks het waarskynlik in die eerste helfte soos die ander span in swart, die All Blacks, gedink, maar hulle toe reg geruk en gespeel na hul vermoë.

My colleague Bobby Londt played league cricket in the UK for a number of years, and will assist with cricket views in future. Herewith his first contribution:

"Man of the match" Morne Morkel.

After being thumped at Centurion less than a week ago, the Proteas duly returned the favour by comprehensively beating Australia in Port Elizabeth yesterday to level the series. Apart from a few blemishes in the field there was little wrong with the SA game; calculated, measured and composed best describes their approach as Kirsten & co appear to have found the right recipe.

Partnerships were key to the Proteas’ success with the bat. So much has been said about the sublime Kallis that I’ll not bore you any further – what I do think needs a mention is the ex-skipper Graham Smith’s innings. It might be a bit early to say but it seems he has reinvented his game a bit. The abrasive lefthander who is known for his leg side preference when scoring was absolutely brilliant through the off side where he scored the majority of his runs.

The bowling unit worked well, with spinners Botha and Duminy applying a stranglehold on the slow St George’s wicket. Morkel’s bowling was magical and his “Man of the Match” award was well deserved.

It must be said that the Aussies were far below their normal high standards and “gobby”* skipper, Clarke, will be looking to a much improved performance from his side for the decider in Durban on Friday.

* Adjective: gobby(UK, slang, said of a person) Talkative: inclined to talk much; inclined to shoot one’s mouth off.
There is also an Australian definition for this word, but that is neither applicable nor publishable in this newsletter.

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