My first sports wrap of the year has come in Week 44 of the year but it is better late then never and its gives me the chance to build momentum into the next year that is fast approaching. With access to sporting channels recently I have been able to follow an array of sport that I love and this weekend was action packed if i had to say so. Just so you know for the future, the sport that I love is Cricket, Rugby, Football and Tennis but will be covering more going into the future.
So lets start with the most positive result for us South Africans this week, that being the Proteas victory down under:
The Proteas are touring Australia and began their quest to defeat the Aussies in their backyard in impressive style this Sunday morning. Our bowlers, especially our opening attack of Dale Steyn and Lungi Ngidi, got off to the perfect start when they picked up 3 wickets in quick succession putting the Aussies on the backfoot from the start. The Australians never recovered from this point on as they continuously lost wickets, with the Australian batsmen not putting up much resistance and in some cases throwing their wickets away softly when they should have gotten stuck in and scored as many runs as they could have. At the end of the drama, the Aussies only managed to score 152 runs in 38,1 overs. Our bowlers have been superb for us and this meant that our batsmen had minimal work to, or so we think because our boys have not been having the best time wth with the bat.
In the end, our batsmen were able to chase down the figure comfortably but it could have been a better showing from them in my opinion. With not much pressure on them to chase a big score, our openers (De Kock and Hendriks) should have stuck on to convert their 40’s to half centuries with our number 3 Aiden Markram also starting and not converting. Importantly our boys chased the score down and won the match in 29 overs. Hopefully this gives them much more confidence going forward in this series. Overall, our boys defeated Australia comfortably and boosted their confidence going forward in this series. It also gave us some fans some joy to see South Africa win down under, no matter the poor form of Australia lately.
Next matches: 9th of November, and 11th of November 2018.
Next let us focus on the trivial matter of the performance of the Springboks vs England in Twickenham:
Going into this match on Saturday, the Springboks went into the match as favourites. The Springboks started the match and looked threatening for majority of the first half. Our boys did not let up pressure on the English and kept the English deep in own halves flirting with the try line continuously. However plenty chances went begging as Springboks just couldn’t finish the job, keep making handling faults when it mattered the most. Eventually, our boys did score a try and that was a joyous moment for us South Africans. Sbu Nkosi had been superb the whole game against the English, he tackled them and was always in the mix when it mattered and it came as no surprise when he eventually was the guy to score the try for us.
This try though was the only thing to make me smile throughout this game because the conversion of this try was missed by Handre Pollard. The english were never far behind the Springboks at any point because they scored every penalty they received. Eventually in the match the English led the Springboks after penalties and this changed the momentum of the match. The English started looking more threatening and made the Springboks rue all the missed chances earlier in the match. The Springboks fought to get back in the match but to no prevail. Handre Pollard missed a long range penalty and our boys denied themselves of an opportunity of a drop kick as their hope faded as the clock counted down.
Right at the end, an English player Owen Farrell tackled one of our boys and this happened at the last possible second of the match. The decision was sent for review to check if it was legal and everything came back legal which was appalling for rugby overall. The referee was blamed and rightfully so, because it would have meant that the Springboks would have been able to kick for the game as the score was 12-11 to the English. In my opinion, as much as the referee was to blame for denying us the chance in end, it was our own fault for not capitalizing on the chances that were available to us earlier in the match. So here is the whole of South Africa wishing we improve our game for our next match against France next Saturday, the 11th of November.
Now for my new found love tennis, The Rolex Paris Masters:
This fixture was spiced up with the 3 big names of tennis all deciding to participate in this tournament. This is something that hasn’t happened for a good few years but what brought them here were amazing circumstances and provided tennis lovers with a some mouth watering fixtures.
To summarize the points, Roger Federer was chasing his 100th title as he just came off winning his 99th title at the Basel Swiss Open.
Rafael Nadal came in as World Number 1 but was being chased down by Novak Djokovic. Rafael Nadal however had to pull out of the Paris masters injured and with Djokovic advancing, it meant that he would become number 1 in the world officially this coming monday.
So putting that aside, the tennis being played was of high class and it wasn’t just from the big names. Being my first full tournament that i got to follow, I was pleased to find out that in the world of tennis there are up and coming players that are on the brink of coming of age and changing the tennis world as we know it.
The semi- finalists featured provided high quality throughout the tournament namely, Novak Djokovic vs Roger Federer and Karen Khachanov vs Dominic Thiem. Watching Thiem in this tournament impressed me so much so that that I think I will be keeping a closer eye out for him. He is ranked in the top 5 of the world, but the brand of tennis he plays is what draws me to him. He didn’t however manage to beat Khachanov in the semifinals, as Khachanov overcame him easily in the first semi. More about him later on.
The second semi involved the two legends Federer and Djokovic. Expecting nothing less of them, the match lasted 3 hours long and was captivating from start to finish. Roger Federer being the great that he is, kept pushing Djokovic in each game of the sets, whether he was serving or Djokovic was serving. Federer is the only one i know that could bring out all the faults in Djokovic. However, in the end, Djokovic held on and went on to win the match and progress to the finals.
The finals, started off evenly matched between Djokovic and Khachanov winning game after game until Djokovic was the first to break Khachanov. However, that advantage was short lived as Khachanov immediately broke Djokovic in the next set. This was the turning factor of the match as Khachanov seized control of the match from that point on and just never gave up his momentum winning the match. The way that Khachanov won this was an announcement that he has arrived. The confidence that he played his game with against one of best in the world, was amazing to witness. With the winning of this title, the world will now take note of Khachanov. Next on the list for tennis, is in two weeks in London, so stay tuned.
English Premier League
With week 11 off the premier league complete, except for the one match being played today which wont make a difference to the table as both teams are bottom of the log, there was not much difference with overall standings on the table.
With Liverpool playing away at Arsenal, that was poised to be the best match of the week in my opinion, but there might be a bit of bias as I am a Liverpool fan. In slightly more detail this game ended in a draw (1-1) but it was not without controversy in the first half. Mane scored a goal but it was denied as Mane was ruled off side and if this was given, the game would have ended totally different to the way it did. So overall both teams walked away with 1 point.
Briefly, Man United beat Bournemouth 2-1, City thrashed Southampton 6 -1 to tighten their place on top and take GD 10 goals away from their closest rival, Tottenham beat wolves 3-2 and Chelsea beat Crystal palace 2-1 yesterday.
The above had no real impact on the leaderboard, with the top 3 teams still unbeaten in the league after 11 weeks. So going forward it will be interesting to see if these 3 teams can continue with their incredible run. The match that will gain the most interest of next week will be the Manchester derby, but unlike the past, the world might be wishing that United beat City, especially Liverpool and Chelsea fans, so that they can chase City down on the leaderboard.
So thats a wrap from me, I hope this helped you catch up on the sporting world. I look forward to bringing you more information next week. Until then, Cheers.