You win some, you lose some

2016-03-23 06:00

OK, NOW we can breathe a little easier having beaten our minnow opponents (SA 209/5; Afghanistan 172 all out). We can also look back and try to put right what went wrong against England in the Proteas’ opening round of cricket’s World T20 championship at the Wankhede Stadium, in Mumbai, India, last weekend.

Some clever dick at our favourite pub across the way from the beach at Seapoint has said that events in cricket and Super Rugby last weekend reminded him of the English poet, Samuel Butler, and his poem, “Hudibras”, written in 1663 and 1664.

Above cries of dismay he ordered another round and began to explain why. The relevant lines in Butler’s poem, he said, went thus:”Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.”

That caused more than a little scratching of heads as our friend, lifting his tankard with a loud “cheers”, went on to explain, taking first of all the World T20 match against England.

Why Butler’s warning of 353 years ago was relevant to the Proteas’ defeat by one run: England scoring 230/8 against the Proteas’ 229/4, thus giving the Poms a victory by two wickets – even though for much of the match Faf du Plessis’ team looked as though they’d win in a walk, specially after openers, Hashim Amla (58) and Quinton de Kock (52), had taken the England attack to the cleaners.

The eggs, you see, were producing beautifully-timed chickens, specially when JP Duminy followed (54 no) and David Miller (28 no) hurried things along.

Then, too, England’s batting initially wasn’t all that great – the hatching of the team’s eggs far from satisfactory. Indeed at that stage it looked as though a Proteas’ win would be a foregone conclusion.

But remember poet Butler’s warning. Suddenly – hey, presto – with the arrival of Joe Root (83) at the crease it was an altogether different ball game, England dashing for the line in the last over and victory with just two balls to spare.

Switching to the Bulls vs Sharks Super Rugby clash at Loftus Versfeld – at the same time ordering another pint all round – our seer, with a smack of his lips went on. It was tough as tough could be, he said, with Samuel Butler’s “Hudibras” warning about eggs and their hatching once more showing the danger of taking things in sport too much for granted.

Again, with the score seesawing as Sharks’ fullback, Willie le Roux, produced a typical blinder and Marcell Coetzee did much the same up front, it was anybody’s game.

Then in the final minute Coetzee forced a penalty in front of the posts. It was all over, fullback Joe Pietersen was in great kicking form. Everyone in a Sharks jersey was smiling, showering congratulations on Coetzee’s back.

Pietersen couldn’t possibly miss. He did. Faces that seconds earlier were covered with smiles turned to dismay, disbelief. Pietersen’s head literally sank into his shoulders as the final chicken’s egg failed to hatch.

For the Sharks there was one consolation: the 16-16 draw in the Bullring preserved their undefeated record so far.

Sunday’s cricket defeat of Afghanistan will have lifted the Proteas’ morale somewhat.

Unhappily, the 57-24 Super Rugby away defeat of Southern Kings by the Crusaders left the PE team with more questions than answers.

But cheers for now, watch this space next week.

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