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Cricket

Brand fires Tuks to 2018 Varsity Cricket title with 5 wicket win against NWU

Tuks winners of Varsity Cricket 2018 in Potchefstroom at Senwes Park against NWU

The heroes for Tuks were Niel Brand (59 off 57) with an unbeaten half century as he carried his bat together with Corbin Bosch (41 off 21) as they took Tuks to victory with the score on 157/5, surpassing NWU’s 154/4.

Bosch played a brilliant cameo as he and Brand hit a match winning unbeaten 78 run stand to silence the home fans. NWU batted first and got off to a decent start with Janneman Malan and Shane Dadswell hitting a few glorious boundaries that got the partisan crowd pumping.

Their opening partnership of 47 was ended when Gideon Peters got the big wicket of Dadswell caught by Katleho Bala at cover with an excellent back pedalling catch. Tuks’ spinners began to assert their authority with Niel Brand putting in a tidy spell of (2/21) and in the process getting the wicket of Bredenkamp for 1.

Ruan Haasbroek (48 off 36) and Malan (53 off 51) then put up a fantastic partnership as they brought NWU past the 100-run mark in the high pressure environment. Malan departed shortly afterwards for a well played 52, as he became Brand’s second wicket.

Haasbroek and Van Wyngaardt then pushed NWU to a competitive score of 155/4 at the end of 20 overs with the former hitting the final ball of the innings for six. Haasbroek then continued his great form when he got the massive wicket of De Zorzi LBW for a golden duck.

Mitchell van Buuren and Brand then started a good partnership, but then NWU struck back with Katleho Leokaoke taking a brilliant catch, diving forward in the deep to get rid of Van Buuren. Leokaoke was at it again as he took another catch in the deep to send Ruben Hermann packing for 4 with Julian Soutter getting his second wicket.

Tensions were high at the strategy break as Tuks needed 96 from 60 balls with 7 wickets in hand. NWU got the better start after drinks, when Dyllan Matthews clean bowled Katleho Bala to leave Tuks on 66/4.

NWU’s spinners were wreaking havoc at this stage as Ferreira played a rash shot to give Leokaoke his first wicket of the night. Tuks’ opener Brand though was still the danger man and he held the innings together with Corbin Bosch.

Van Wyngaardt bowled the crucial Power Play Plus over and kept things tight until the final two overs with Tuks needing 20 from 12. Bosch, though, hit Soutter for a massive six and from there on Tuks took the momentum and sealed the win in the final over to snatch the win from under NWU’s noses.

In the end Tuks showed their pedigree and BMT with a brilliant showing when it mattered most.

Samsung Man of The Match: Niel Brand (Tuks)
FNB Best Batsman: 
Niel Brand (Tuks)
FNB Best Bowler:
Steers Best Catch:

Samsung Player of the Tournament: Niel Brand (Tuks)

UJ dig deep to win Varsity 7s title

UJ win Varsity 7’s Rugby final between UFS Kovsies and UJ at Kings Park Stadium in Durban on December 3, 2017

Determination to dig deep when it mattered most drove the University of Johannesburg to their first Varsity 7s rugby title in Durban at the weekend.

Despite losing three and drawing one of their nine pool games, the UJ team fought back to power past North-West University and the University of Free State in the playoff games on Sunday. After finishing fourth on the overall log after two days of action, UJ defeated NWU 19-5 in the semifinals and Kovsies 32-5 in the final.

This came after they had lost 22-0 to NWU in their opening match, followed by a 19-19 draw with Kovsies in another pool clash. Coach Patrick Ross-Allen said later the turning point had come when they assessed their situation at the start of the second day.

“At that stage, we were eighth on the log. I don’t think many people rated our chances of making the playoffs. We spoke about the situation and the guys started to work as a team, putting in great commitment and effort in each match.

“This tournament is not easy because you play 11 matches in three days. But our players showed what they were made of. I am so proud of their efforts.”

UJ’s results in the pool phase included a crucial 15-12 win over arch-rivals University of Pretoria. The score meant the teams ended level on the log, with the same points difference.

“Because we beat them we qualified for the top four, so that was a very important win,” said Ross-Allen. “I always felt we could do something special in this tournament and when we heard we were in the semis, it strengthened the belief in the squad.

“These guys not only believed in themselves, they believed in the players next to them as well as in the structures we had put in place.”

He added that the team had peaked at the right time and also used the power play to perfection. The power-play rules in Varsity 7s allow each team to nominate a minute in which any tries scored are worth 10 points.

“When we took our power play in the final against Kovsies we scored two tries, so that was 20 points and it made a big difference.”

Ross-Allen felt the triumph would be a boost for UJ sevens rugby.

“This will send out a message about what we can do. It really means a lot to us in our efforts to promote this format of the game.”

UP-Tuks beach volleyball team wins Varsity tournament

Tuks celebrate winning Varsity Beach Volleyball final match between Tuks and UJ at Kings Park Stadium in Durban on December 1, 2017

The UP-Tuks women’s beach volleyball team capped a brilliant season over the weekend when they won the Varsity Beach Volleyball tournament in Durban.

It means that the University of Pretoria has won an unprecedented seven of the Varsity Sports competitions and for the first time three of the four women’s tournaments.

Vanessa Sardinha-da Silva and Jaime-Lee Wentzel who played in the final against the University of Johannesburg (UJ) also made local history in becoming only possibly the second team to win the Varsity Beach Volleyball as well as the USSA beach volleyball-titles in the same year.

UP-Tuks beat UJ 52-20 in the final. With this victory, the team proved that perseverance does pay off. In the past five years, UP-Tuks contested the Varsity-final on two previous occasions but got unstuck against the University of the Western Cape.

Sardinha-da Silva ascribed their success to hard work and a change of mentality.

“We realised that if you think you are going to lose you will lose. So we backed ourselves each time we took to the court.”

She made it clear that although she and Wentzel played the final that it was a complete team performance.

“Shannon de Vries and Khutso Letsoalo played a major part in ensuring that we do reach the final.”

Dina Kladis (coach) said that on Thursday morning just before the team left for Durban she got a gut feeling that everything will go well.

“I could feel the positive energy in the team. I thought in a way that the other teams and players looked at us with awe and respect throughout the tournament. It has been a while since that has happened.”

On winning, she said: “There are no words to describe the utter joy, excitement and deep satisfaction for achieving our goals.”

Kladis is hesitant to single out in a single player, but she feels that Wentzel deserves a special mention.

“Jaime-Lee has always been overlooked as a player, but she is the stabilising factor in our team. She is the reason why we qualified for the final last year, and she is the reason why we have managed to keep it together on the court this time around.

“She has never received any prizes, but she is the best support player anyone can ask for and has my deepest respect.”

Kladis ascribed UP-Tuks success to long-term planning.

“We selected the players with the right characteristics: talented, fit and mental strength.

“As the coach, I realised that I do not know everything there is to know about beach volleyball, so I asked Vitalina Nel (a former Olympian player) and Kirsten Pocock to help the players with the finer intricacies of the game and to help them to be tactically more astute. Their expertise made a big difference.

“As from next year the plan is to start our training earlier and to focus more on conditioning and jump training. We will also be entering more competitions and play against more experienced players.”