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Random toughts of a Sports Lover…

Sporting Moments – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – Part One

Sometimes while reading a sports article on the web, one often sees a link below the article that takes you to one of the many top something moments about something. Usually this link takes you to an American website and their list of the top ten moments in sport is usually loaded with moments sporting codes that the rest of us only see in the movies.

I have been forced in the past to watch a delayed broadcast of a Springbok test and at numerous times I watched a highlights package of a cricket match after returning from work. I even saw Micheal Schumacher’s (Presumed) last race on the 23:00 delayed broadcast on SABC 3. But nothing beats watching the match live.

But why is this? Is it about being among the first to shout for joy after your team’s victory or is it because we are just too afraid that history will be made and we didn’t get to see it as it happened?

Imagine waking up after your Sunday afternoon rest and being told by someone that the Proteas actually chased down Australia’s total of 438 runs. Watching a replay of this match just wouldn’t be the same as it would have been if you have gone through all those emotions during that four hours of the SA innings.

I have decided to compile a list of my most memorable sporting moments. In keeping true to what defines a moment in my books, I only added events that I’ve actually seen live. (Although it would have been nice to have actually been able to be there, I unfortunately witnessed all of these “live” events on the TV, but I did see them as they happened though)

The Good

The interesting thing about a good moment in sport is the fact that, every good moment for one person can be counted as a bad moment for someone else.

Bankfin Currie Cup Final, Blue Bulls vs Western Province, 31 October 1998, Loftus Versveld, Pretoria

1998 was a bizarre year in the Currie Cup. Griquas managed to finish top of the log before WP crashed their party in the semi final played in Kimberly. The Bulls finished second and had to come back from a 18-3 deficit to beat the Sharks 31-18 in the other semi played at Loftus. This set up a thrilling encounter between the Bulls and WP at Loftus Versveld. (Minolta Loftus back then)

With the match almost over and the score at 24-20 for the Bulls, Breyten Paulse put Chester Williams through for what would have been the winning try, but Andre Watson judged the pass to be forward and the Bulls got a scrum. Minutes later WP received a penalty at fulltime, but still had time to set up a last lineout. Wave after wave followed until they eventually knocked the ball on. My moment of choice in this match was when the final whistle blew. There are few things that can match the raw emotion felt at that particular moment.

Winfield Tri Nations, SA vs NZ, 15 August 1998, Kings Park Stadium, Durban

This link provides footage of the last 15 minutes of this historic match. With 15 minutes to go the Boks were 5-23 behind with no hope of turning things around against a ruthless All Black side. Joost got the ball five meters out from a lineout and cut through the All Black defense to score a brilliant try. Moments later Bob Skinstad powered over the line and the score was 19-23 with five minutes to go.

The Boks were eventually trapped in their own goal area on the All Blacks got a scrum five meters out. However, the Boks kept them at bay and got the put in to the next scrum. This was followed by some excellent attacking play by both sides before a late tackle by Jonah Lomu set up a Bok lineout five meters out.

My moment of glory? James Dalton crashed over the line to make it 24-23. The Boks held on for a memorable victory!

Italian Formula One Grand Prix, 13 September 1998, Monza

Oh, how I miss Murrey Walker. Having him describe this overtaking move from Micheal Schumacher on Mika Hakkinen makes it so much more special.

After a bizarre qualifying session where the wet track prevented everyone from running in the first 30 minutes, the result was a high octane half hour where all the teams used 30 minutes to do what they normally have to do in an hour. Schumacher took pole position, but he lost out to both McClarens at the start of the race. After lap 15, Coulthard lead by some margin and Micheal was chasing down Hakkinen for second. After Coulthard’s engine blew up while exiting the second Lesmo Curve, he left a cloud of smoke behind, severly hampering Hakkinen’s vision. This allowed Micheal to close the gap and stay on Mika’s gearbox. He passed him two corners later to the roar of the Tifosi, and myself.

SA vs Australia, Winfield Tri Nations, Ellis Park Stadium, 17 August 2002

For the moment glory, skip to minute 49 on this clip.

It was another dismal season for the Boks, loosing all five of their first Tri Nations matches and the wooden spoon a certainty. With just one minute to go the Wallabies had a 26-31 lead over the home side. The Boks took the ball up close to the Wallaby goal line when short pass from Bolla Conradie found Werner Greeff running a perfect line. This happened so fast I had to watch the replay. Greeff converted his own try to give the Boks their only victory in 2002’s Tri Nations.

ABSA Currie Cup Semi Final 2002, Sharks vs Bulls, Kings Park, Durban

Unfortunately, footage and information on the Currie Cup before digital media became popular is very rare. If someone can provide a date as well as the score for this match it will be highly appreciated. What I do remember about this match is that it went into extra time and, with the teams deadlocked, a 19 year old Derick Hougard stepped up to take a penalty late in the second period of extra time. After the kick went over, a split video showing the contrasting reactions of both Joost vd Westhuizen and Mark Andrews was shown.

I remember walking out of the room just to walk back in again to make certain. I couldn’t believe that this palookas’s who couldn’t manage one win earlier that season in the Super 12 were actually going to play in the Currie Cup final. Back then, 1998 and felt like ages ago.

WBO world heavyweight title, Wladimer Klitschko vs Corrie Sanders, 8 March 2003, Preussag Arena, Hannover, Germany

I came across this fight by accident. I was shuffling through the channels when I saw the familiar face of Corrie Sanders getting ready for a fight. When I saw that he will be fighting a Klitschko, I lost interest. It’s never fun to see a decent guy like Corrie getting his semi retired but needs the money ass kicked. But, my dad joined me in front of the TV and we watched old Wlad falling to the ground like a sack of potatoes in round two.

The fight looked like going one way from the get go. With Sanders putting in one big hit after another. But the general consensus was that he’ll have to knock out Klitschko in first five rounds if he wants any shot winning the fight. When the bell rang for round two he chased Wlad all over the ring throwing one punch after the other until the ref decided enough is enough.


Vodacom Super 14 Final, Sharks vs Bulls, 19 May 2007, ABSA Stadium, Durban

There’s not much more to add here. Most of you have witnessed or at least heard about the events of this day. After 77 minutes, the Sharks extended their 15-14 lead with a try. Captain John Smit was told by a 21 year old Francois Steyn thet he wants to take the conversion. Admiring his guts, John obliged, but Steyn missed the conversion, making the gap just six points.

What happened next was one of my biggest sporting moments of all time. After two frantic minutes of running rugby, the Sharks gained possession in their 22 and, instead of finding touch, Fransie Steyn kicked the ball down field. A debatable incident occurred at a breakdown where the Bulls seemed to loose possession (Sharks looked off their feet here) but the ball miraculously (Illegally?) popped out on the Bulls’ side of the ruck. Ndungane was halted by some desperate defending about fifteen meters out. The Bulls recycled and, with Steve Walsh playing advantage for off side, the ball went to the right to find Bryan Habana.

Habana ran back inside to find support, but the Sharks’ defense suddenly parted like the Red Sea. Habana scored and my cousin, a Sharks supporter, still haven’t told me how he got the bubbly bottle’s cork back in again.

Vodacom Tri Nations, New Zealand vs South Africa, 12 July 2008, Carisbrook, Dunedin

I have often felt, after a game like this, that I have aged at a rapid rate during the match. But this match literally made my son four days younger.

During the week that lead up to this test, my wife was certain that our baby can come any moment. I think we went to the hospital at least twice for false alarms during that time. (First time parents) On the Saturday morning, we decided to watch the match at O’Hagans. It was quite a thrilling match and the Boks were very much in it after 70 minutes. It was around this time that Victor Matfield was sin binned and the Boks were minus their captain.

When the ref lifted that card I lost it a bit and slammed on the table. (Barbaric, I know. But it was The Boks vs The All Blacks. If you are still reading this post I’m sure you’d understand) Luckily, that was our last bit of bad luck for the match and Ricky January had the biggest moment of his career.

Afterwards, my wife told me she was counting contractions, but they stopped the moment I slammed on the table. Little Abrie was born four days later.

Fifa World Cup 2010, South Africa vs Mexico, 11 June 2010, Soccer City, Johannesburg

There’s a lot about soccer that I dislike. Players diving and faking injuries tops that list together with the barbaric nature of most of the fans, players not showing respect for the match officials and top players behaving like rock stars. But there are few things as special as that moment when a goal is scored. It is something that  usually happens once or twice during the 90 minutes and sometimes it doesn’t happen at all. There’s no huge buildup like it is most of the time in a lead up to a try. It can happen any time and it stays in doubt until that split second the ball crosses the line.

Before this match, I watched a soccer match in very much the same manner as I watch a movie. Not much emotion involved, but I am entertained. I usually find myself backing whoever is behind on the score board in order to keep the entertainment factor alive.

But this match was different. I supported Bafana as emotional as I would support the Boks and the Bulls. My heart skipped a beat every time a Mexican striker launched an attack at our goal keeper and I was off my chair during the lead up to Simpiwe’s goal. Urging him on and, when the ball landed in the back of the net, I was ecstatic.

The Northern Cape is pretty much behind the times, even today, and I feared that the WC spirit would not be embraced as much as it is in the rest of the country. But I was wrong. Watching the game in Dros that afternoon was a crowd of mostly white men, leaning over every once in a while to the nearest colored guy asking about the off side rule, who throws the ball in and for which club does that Tsba.. err… Tshabla…. Simpiwe play for.

Enjoy the clip. Simpiwe’s run starts after 45 seconds.

That’s it for my Good moments. I do feel that the 436 One Day match deserves an honorable mention here. The “Good” moment being the boundry at the end that won the mach. But this match was four hours worth of moments, not just one.

I know that many you will count some of these as your bad moments, but feel free to share your good moments in the comments section. I’ll post my Bad moments later today or tomorrow.




Filed under: Bulls, F1, Rugby, Sports

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