Rain, rain go away

2013-12-13 00:00

IT was supposed to be an action-packed week of sport for KwaZulu-Natal, but the weather gods have put an abrupt stop to that.

Durban was blanketed in a heavy, steady rain yesterday, once again preventing play on the second day of the Sunfoil Four-Day Series clash between the Dolphins and Titans at Kingsmead.

This dooms the match — if it ever gets to start — to a draw which is not a favourable result for either side.

Day one on Wednesday was called off without a ball bowled or a coin tossed due to a wet outfield.

The pitch was ready for play, but the outfield posed a threat of injury to the players. Ironically, the rest of the day saw the sun break through, but all the good work of drying the field was undone by yesterday’s steady downpour.

There are still two days of the match to go and if any play is possible, it will be some batting and bowling practice for the two sides as they try to glean whatever points they can from the game.

It’s frustrating for the players, especially for the Dolphins as they have not played a game for two weeks.

The best they can do is listen to music, read a newspaper, play cards and stay in tune with some practice time at the indoor nets.

Dolphins leg-spinner and middle order batsman Daryn Smit summed up the Dolphins’ predicament, saying: “We can’t control the weather and have to accept what is served up. When we saw how wet the field was for Sunday’s ODI against India, we knew that more rain would have our game in trouble and that’s what happened. It breaks our momentum and when I left Kingsmead at 11 am yesterday, the ground was flooded.”

The word from down the drag was equally depressing, as the first round of golf’s European/Sunshine Tour co-sanctioned Nelson Mandela Championship has still not been completed after two days at Mount Edgecombe Country Club.

Yesterday saw three hours of play take place in the morning before the downpour became unbearable and play was called off.

Englishman Daniel Brooks was the clubhouse leader at -8 after completing his first round, while Oliver Bekker was the highest placed South African on -6 with four holes still to complete.

“You just keep your head down and grind. There’s nothing you can do about it. If you can get past the mental battle and accept that it’s the same for everyone, then I think you’ve already beaten half of the field,” said Bekker of the weather.

The field will hit the course at 6.40 am today to try and make up for the lost time.

“The water birds are the only ones out on the course right now,” said Sunshine Tour press officer Michael Smith yesterday. “The fairways are waterlogged and if the weather clears the course will need time.”

The par four 12th has been shortened to a par three as a result of the flooding.

According to Smith, there was a remote chance that a portion of Sunday — the day of Nelson Mandela’s funeral — would be used to complete the tournament if necessary.

“Organisers are still trying to complete 72 holes, but a lot of golf will have to be played,” he said. “We might look at an hour or two on Sunday, but it is a touchy issue. At this stage, we don’t want to think about playing on Sunday.”

There is also the concern over how no play affects the tournament in terms of broadcasting and sponsorship.

“… our sponsors are still very keen and they have understood,” he said.

Fortunately, the weather didn’t affect the FIVB Durban Open, which went ahead as planned yesterday, though the small crowd would not have been welcomed. South Africa’s second hockey Test against Argentina at Kearsney College also went ahead as planned.

Play at Kingsmead today is scheduled to start at 9 am and entry is free.

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