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GARY LEMKE’S WRAP: Punters’ Challenge pandemonium, Bafana claim bronze at AFCON, Superbowl nail-biter and more!

Gary Lemke looks back at a jam-packed sporting weekend in which now fewer than 74 people won big in the Punters’ Challenge, Bafana leave AFCON with bronze medal and more!

Ronwen Williams of South Africa during the 2023 AFCON Cup quarterfinal match between Cape Verde and South Africa at Charles Konan Stadium in Yamoussoukro, Cote dIvoire on 3 February 2024
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Gary Lemke looks back at a jam-packed sporting weekend in which now fewer than 74 people won big in the Punters’ Challenge, Bafana leave AFCON with bronze medal and more!

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

CHIEFS COME OUT ON TOP AFTER OVERTIME

Tell me you stayed up for Super Bowl LVIII. If you didn’t, you missed some great sporting theatre. The game went to overtime (extra-time) with the score locked at 19-19. Holders Kansas City Chiefs won 25-22 after over-time and the celebrations started.

The final itself was breathtaking. The first quarter had finished 0-0, before the 49ers stretched 10-3 ahead by the end of the second. The Chiefs won the third quarter 10-0 and then the 49ers came back to win the final quarter 4-3 and force “extra-time”.

And what did the media focus on? Taylor Swift rushing up to her boyfriend Travis Kelce after the match and giving him a full-blooded kiss. Kelce couldn’t miss on the night. It was his pass to Chiefs teammate Mecole Hardman that resulted in the championship-winning touchdown.

WHO WOULD WANT TO BE A RUGBY REF?

Rugby’s referees and TMOs have become as big a talking point every single game, and for me it’s detracting from the sport’s appeal. Lose and the ref (and TMO) had shockers. Win and he was very fair. Social media doesn’t help either. I wouldn’t encourage becoming a rugby ref given the abuse they receive and the number of laws they have to police.

My “favourite”: A hooker throws the ball skew into a lineout. The referee (rightly) orders a scrum. The scrumhalf routinely puts the ball in under the feet of the locks (illegal). Play on. So, it was predictable that when Scotland went over the line in the 80th minute for a “try” that would have won them their Six Nations game against France, the referee said “ball held up”, and asked the TMO to look.

But, he couldn’t find “conclusive evidence” to overturn the ref’s onfield call. Meanwhile, millions of “refs” watching on TV in their lounges seemed unanimous that the ball had been grounded. Maybe it was, but it wasn’t, officially, if you know what I mean.

WILLIAMS STARS AS BAFANA WIN LOTTERY

You win some and you lose some. In Bafana Bafana’s case they won two out of three and ended up with the bronze at AFCON 2023. We’re talking about penalty shootouts, of course, where things become a lottery.

For Bafana Bafana it was the third successive match in which they went to spot kicks – beating Cape Verde, losing to Nigeria and beating DR Congo. South Africa played seven matches at AFCON and went scoreless against Mali (0-2), Tunisia (0-0), Cape Verde (0-0) and DR Congo (0-0).

Goalkeeper Ronwen Williams starred throughout and again strutted his stuff in saving the last two kicks against Congo. Hosts Ivory Coast went on to take the title by defeating Nigeria 2-1 in the final.

THE 3-1 SCORELINE NOW SECOND MOST COMMON

I can assure you I’m not doing copy and paste, but this weekend’s nine games in the EPL produced 33 goals. That was, again, an average of 3.66 per game and continued the record goal-glut season. There were three more 3-1 results, including Liverpool over Burnley which saw them maintain their two-point advantage over Man City at the top.

Would you believe me when I say that of the 238 matches already played the most common result is 2-1 (34 times). Yes, that sounds predictable. What about 1-0 being second with 29? Yes, as well. What then if I tell you that 3-1 has also come up 29 times, more than 2-0 (26) and 1-1 (20).

The most common results have therefore been: 2-1 (34) 1-0, 3-1 (29), 2-0 (26), 1-1 (20), 3-2 (17), 3-0, 2-2 (15) and 4-1 (10). As for the goalless draw? Seven times from 237 games. Something to consider when doing your Superbru.

SUNRISERS SWITCH OFF DSG’S LIGHTS

The traffic officials were still busy outside Newlands a long while after the SA20 final, but in truth some fans would have left as early as the 10th over when Durban Super Giants’ Heinrich Klaasen was trapped lbw first ball as DSG slumped to 69 for 6 chasing Sunrisers Eastern Cape’s huge 204-3.

Winning the toss and batting first at Newlands is always an advantage and the Sunrisers cashed in, with Proteas Aiden Markram and Tristan Stubbs putting on an unbeaten 98 for the fourth wicket in 9.1 overs. However, Quintin de Kock fell cheaply for the DSG and then they were already 7-3 in the fourth over.

And, instead of fireworks, the SA20 finale was a damp squib, but the Sunrisers ended with six successive wins, which is admirable in this format. They are deserved champions.

74 PUNTERS CASH IN WITH HOLLYWOODBETS

Hollywoodbets have a free daily Punters Challenge tipping competition whereby you can make a selection for each race and stand a chance of winning the daily jackpot for a full-house of winners. And should you have the courage of your convictions and place a bet on your selections, your prize money is doubled. It really is win-win.

And on Saturday, at Turffontein, there were a record number of punters who tipped the card of nine races. Some 74 punters shared a payout of R650 000 after seven of nine favourItes won at the Big T.

The Pick 6 paid R131 and the place accumulator R4.40. The experts will know better than me, but I can’t ever recall a lower Pick 6 payout. Those with big perms would have actually lost, a lot, by winning the Pick 6.

AUSSIE CRICKET ON TOP OF THE WORLD

A good weekend for Australian cricket. Their men’s Under-19’s won their Cricket World Cup, doing what their seniors had done last year, beating India in the final. And their women bounced back from losing the second ODI to South Africa by trouncing the Proteas in the third and final ODI. In a less important game, but an International nonetheless, Australia’s men beat West Indies to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in their T20 series.

RIP – KENYA’S MARATHON MAN

Now, something more important than any of the above. One of the most brilliant athletes of this generation, and perhaps ever, the world marathon record holder, 24-year-old Kelvin Kiptum, has been killed in a car accident in Kenya.

Kiptum was due to represent Kenya at the Paris Olympics after winning the Chicago Marathon last year in a record 2hr 36sec and was the gold medal favourite ahead of Eliud Kipchoge. The accident happened at 11pm on Sunday when the car he was driving rolled, killing him and his coach.

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