Yulan Govender is regarded by many as a triton among minnows and at Swerve he is no Good Samaritan but he had a horror of a weekend as he suffered back to back defeats at the hands of none other than the Assassin and kideo. Something had to give and someone had to bend backwards but who would have thought that it will be the Hawkeye that would be Aden Joseph’s first victim in the BPL, the chains are finally broken. Most of the dirty work was done by the Assassin on Saturday, it wasn’t easy but he did well in softening Yulan up and readying him for Aden to rewrite history, nevertheless kudos to the Wonderkid on his very first win after months of tears, sweat, anxiety, depression and all sorts of what ifs, would haves, should and could haves. In fact Yulan Govender has never beaten Aden, yes the Wonderkid had his first major victory in 2014 at the National Championships in Kimberley against (drum roll please)… yes it was against the same Yulan Hawkeye Govender although this time around it came as a shock to many. The junior Assassin won the first set 4-2 and the confidence he displayed was second to none, he was well composed and although he desperately needed the win, it was as if he could sense the kill and it could have easily been 4-1 in the second set when Aden accidentally touched a blue ball when he had only a yellow and the black to sink and send the crowd into a frenzy, at that very moment the title of this article was going to be; ADEN ‘BLUE’ IT. Ok as you may have come to expect, Aden looked at the ground and he wore his trademark wry smile but it could have easily been the only mechanism that he could implement to hold back the tears knowing that Yulan was definitely going to claw his way back… of course Govender did scale back and went on to win that second set 4-3 and go 3-1 up in the 3rd and final set only for Aden’s predatory instincts to kick in and YESSSSSS HE DID IT FINALLY!!! Aden Joseph’s plight and his joy on this memorable win can be scrambled into a song (Emily Sande- Read all about it), come on Aden express yourself fully, do not hold anything back, scream, shout, do not be afraid, they will read all about it, do your thing boy, how will they know about your talent if you hide it, you know yourself, you know what you are capable of but it is about time you step it up and yes you are at the right place.

The Assassin did just enough to cross the line just ahead of Hawkeye who is always a tough customer, Charl had a lot of chances that he misused and got punished for but overall the two stalwarts neutralized each other, perhaps it is the respect they have for each other’s games or maybe it was a case of neither of them wanting to commit lest they be caught out on the counter attack in the event that they made mistakes. The momentum swung this and that way but the match did not live up to the expectations of the 100 strong crowd bar the 5 apples that we were treated to and of course it was always going to draw a lot of people’s attention, it had sparks of brilliance here and there but there were lots of uncharacteristic mistakes. Charl took the first set 4-3 and Yulan in front of his home crowd quickly responded with a 4-0 victory in the second set and with that earning himself a well-deserved 4 points in that set alone and the third set went all the way to the wire as, after all these two heavyweights are arguably the best there is in the country at the moment. The Assassin started this final hurdle like a house on fire making 2 apples in a row and winning the next frame to go 3-0 up and giving Yulan a mild stroke. The response was a quick one from the host after a dry break by the ultimate player, this is where many players lack… only a few elite players with good BMT (Big Match Temperament) could still have the composure and the belief that it wasn’t over yet, this is one department that Yulan is a master at, he cleared that frame and strategically won the next and then it was an apple and boy oh boy, now at 3-3 with Hawkeye to break, the music played louder (Daft Funk… One more time), the crowd went crazy as if calling for another apple, maybe it was the adrenaline rush, maybe it was the pressure to give the home crowd a state of the art closing act but Yulan broke explosively at that pack, a few balls went in, but so did the white and the black to his relief. The balls were re-racked and the 5 times SA Champion and current BPL defending Champion had to break again. How many times can lightning strike twice at the same place? So many things could have happened but talk about a party pooper and I will tell you about a white ball that sank again on the break and at 3-3 on the 3rd set, this being the last frame you would bet your last dime that Charl wasn’t going to mess it up in front of his normally vocal but amazingly quiet wife and a few supporters that were vouching for him… It must have been at that very moment that Yulan knew that the sun was going to set in the east. Like clockwork the Assassin made no errors and just like that Charl stole it and wowed the fans.

Sunday was a much lighter load for Charl as he took on the Viper at Ricochets, I must say that I was disappointed after driving (Ok the driving part was a breath of fresh air in our new BPL BUS) all the way from Johannesburg with my team to the picturesque and warm Durban just to get a glimpse and maybe get a hug from Jane the Python only to be told that she took the day off. Ok honestly I was curious for two reasons, for starters I have never been in the same room with a snake, I mean that thing looks scary on TV and secondly Charl has been dubbed by many as the ‘Albino’ and Jane being an Albino Python, I was really looking forward to seeing how the two would have related, ‘Bino-to-Bino’ maybe Jane would have turned against Kyle and chosen ‘family’. Do not underestimate the power of a mascot as Kyle found out what a mistake it was to give Jane the day off, he definitely missed her and it showed in his game. The Assassin took advantage and won the match 4-2, 2-4 and 4-1. Next time bring the snake Kyle. I do however want to point out that the KZN boys are very astute, they always secure at least a set when they lose and this will go a long way in making sure they look good on the log. Yulan (7 pts) lost both matches but he still bagged more points than Aden (6 pts). Aden still hasn’t reached double figures despite his long awaited win, he also couldn’t secure a set against Kyle on Saturday (Jane was present), the Viper quickly brushed Aden aside 4-3 and 4-1 maintaining his excellent run of results at home. With this win and the set he took from Charl, Kyle has every reason to smile, the 9 points catapulted him to number one on the log, one point clear of Yulan and it seems like a lifetime ago that Kyle was number 10 on the log, a position that Aden has personalized thus far this season. This past weekend’s action concluded the first round of games for the KZN premier league guys.

Match pic strip

Rain is good but too much rain destroys the crops, such is the case with confidence, too much of it is no good and perhaps Sbu Gumede went into his match with the Dish slightly overdosed in self-belief and that could have compromised his preparations. If you are not nervous you’re not ready so they say and perhaps Vish the Dish had just the right amount of nervousness to balance the equation and he went to Mondeor as the underdog but what a show it turned out to be and the bookies would have got this one totally wrong. Predicting that Vish would win would have been a guess that would have occupied the lower end of the scale but winning in the manner that he did was just impressive to say the least. The first set was a one man show, I mean a set is a race to 4 and how does anyone respond 3 apples in such a short race? There really isn’t much that one can do if they are kept neatly tucked in their seat except maybe fidget and flinch but it is one of those loses that surely left Chillies smiling in acknowledgement of a good demolition job by his travel mate. Vish always seems to do just enough to avoid relegation and stay in the salaried league but could this performance mean that the Dish is bringing back the glory days or was is an early birthday performance (HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO VISHEN JAGDEV AND ISHMAEL MTHETHWA)? A 4-0, 4-2 win with 4 apples against Sbu Gumede surely deserves the Sheriff’s Toast of the week, well done Jagdev. I had the opportunity to ask him before the match how he intended on handling the super-hot-Chillies and his answer was a simple one, he said to me; As an Indian, one of the first lessons that you are taught as a child is that when you eat, you should never wipe your eyes otherwise the Chilies and other spics will get into your eyes. I guess it’s safe to say that the Dish likes his Chillies extra hot and he didn’t wipe his eyes.

All the action in the first Division was in the Cape, Rushin the Hammer Bowers and Keeyam Schoeman played host to the KZN duo of Lenny Ramghulam and Sylvester Henry. Lenny and Sylvester both got Hammered 4-0, 4-1 in that order and I had to take extra care in recording these scores as I thought there must have been a repetition somehow but no, it was just Rushin striking the Hammer and causing a healthy headache for the Sheriff, this is the first time we will have joint Toasts of the week, Rushin’s stellar performance earning him 14 points was screaming so loud it could not be ignored. Bravo Mr Bowers, together with Vishen, the Sheriff takes his hat off to you. This one of a kind performance takes the Hammer straight to number two on the log. Well done also to Keeyam for walloping Lenny 4-0 and 4-2, Sly was not going to go home empty handed, and in a 5 apple thriller he managed to get the better of Yummy to leave himself in 4th position on the log.

Nelson Stokwe and Zander Kriel had their work cut out for them when they went head-to-head with the runaway Mabuti and a determined Zaid Kara. Zaid knew going to the Freestate that if he didn’t get any points there then he would do well to forget about staying in the league, pushed into a corner, Kara came out kicking with both legs. It wasn’t about apples but about getting the job done, Zander was the first victim, a 4-3 and 4-1 score set the ball rolling for a tactical encounter with Nelson 4-1 in both sets made sure that Zaid escapes relegation and pushes Da President deeper into the red. Nelson had also lost 4-2 in both sets on Saturday against Mabuti who is definitely a clear favorite to win the league. Zander put up a good fight taking both sets to the decider against Mabuti but it wasn’t meant to be and Olwethu Mbotyeni took the wins with a smile. Shameel Singh was invaded by Donovan ‘the Big Guy’ De Doncker and Juandre ‘The Monster’ Jonck at Swerve. Shameel did enough to honour the fixture but not enough to upset any of the other stakeholders, both guys won against him.

The BPL would like to sadly announce that Yacoob Shaik has had to quit the BPL due work commitments, he works on weekends and he plays an important role in his company and as such his bosses would not budge. He will be replaced by Pieter ‘Die Hard’ Rademeyer and I can assure you that Yacoob’s efforts and points accumulated thus far will not go to waste, they will be in good and very safe hands, the 63 year old man is no pushover, he is as tough as nails and many will fall at his feet.