Wednesday, July 27, 2022









The long-awaited Roland Butcher Cricket Training Bats were launched at the famous Lord’s Cricket Ground in London recently.  The bats have been specially designed to tackle a technical problem that plagued the ex-English cricketer throughout his 20-year professional career.


“Throughout my career I had a technical problem with the balls that came into the right-handed batsman, and I had great difficulty in correcting this problem throughout my career,” explained Butcher.  “Once I had retired this continued to weigh heavily on my mind and I started investigating different ways to solve the problem.  This problem was solved by designing a bat that corrected this technical flaw.  I firmly believe that my new training bat will help all current and future cricketers develop the batting skills and techniques required to be successful in their elite careers.”


Butcher was the first black cricketer to be selected to play for England and had an illustrious career, which included playing for Middlesex County Cricket Club.


The first bat he designed was aimed at mastering the in-swinging and off spin deliveries that right-handed batsmen typically face. Once he was completely satisfied with the design, size, weight and balance he then sent it for rigorous scientific testing, which produced exceptional results. 


But his research did not stop there.  It then occurred to him that the oppose must also be true for players who have difficulty playing the ball that moves or spins away from the right-handed batsman.  The second bat was designed to master the away swing and leg spin deliveries.


“In relation to the first two bats that were designed for the right-handed batsman, there are equivalent bats reversed for the left-handed batsman,” said Butcher.


The third and final training bat in his series is designed for mastering the playing of spin, fast bowling and concentration. 


“Whilst designing my bats I was a High-Performance Coach with the International Cricket Council (ICC) under ICC High Performance Head Coach Bob Woolmer, the former England player and South Africa and Pakistan Head Coach. Bob advised me to have the bats scientifically tested”, explains Butcher.


And in 2002, Butcher registered the three bat inventions with the patent office, and they were sent to Loughborough University for testing.  Loughborough University is one of the most advanced Universities in the world of Science and Technology in Sport. The scientific study and testing were conducted by the Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering at the same University.


The process took two years to complete, and in 2004 Butcher was handed a complete and comprehensive thesis.  “The thesis from Loughborough University confirmed scientifically that all the bats worked and produced the exact results I was anticipating.  Not only that, but it proved that the batter’s performance was significantly improved!”


The results also confirmed that the training bats improved the accuracy of the bowlers significantly. “This result was a pleasant surprise as I had designed the bats exclusively for batting,” concluded Butcher.


The bats are now being manufactured by Stone Hill and distributed by B3Cricket




The difference in the three bats:

1.      Assists batsmen with mastering the Out-swing.

2.      Assists batsmen with mastering the In-Swing.

3.      Assists batsmen with mastering Spin.


The VIPS that attended the launch were:

·        Ricky Skerritt President of Cricket West Indies

·        Angus Fraser Ex England and Middlesex player. Currently Director of Development for Middlesex

·        Mark Ramprakash Ex England and Middlesex player. Current batting consultant for Middlesex

·        Jamie Cox Assistant Secretary Cricket MCC.

·        Ricky Elcock Ex Middlesex and England player

·        Sam Robson Middlesex and England player


Captions for Images:

1.      Ex-England and Middlesex players Roland Butcher and Mark Ramprakash with the new training bats.

2.      Ex-England and Middlesex player and current Director of Development for Middlesex, Angus Fraser, Ex-England Cricket player and Current batting consultant for Middlesex Mark Ramprakash with Ex-England and Middlesex player Roland Butcher and current England and Middlesex player Sam Robson

3.      Manufacturer Sibi Sheikh from Stone Hill, Ricky Skerrit the President of the West Indian Cricket Board, Ex-England and Middlesex player Roland Butcher and distributor Michael Blatherwick from B3Cricket.

4.      The three cricket bats




Friday, May 6, 2022

Proteas Netball Legend Dumisani Chauke and Springbok Legend Victor Matfield boost the 2022 Absa Wildeklawer Sports Tournament


The 2022 Absa Wildeklawer Sports Tournament is underway with High Schools scheduled for Kimberley from the 29th of April to the 2nd of May. The opportunity to meet and discuss tactics and lessons with the likes of Dumisani Chauke and Victor Matfield is the ultimate opportunity for aspiring netball and rugby players.


The prestigious tournament is designed to give young athletes the opportunity to showcase their skills and compete against some of the top-performing schools in the country. With the appearance of the Absa Wildeklawer ambassadors, Dumisani Chauke and Victor Matfield, the athletes will get the opportunity to learn from the best and tap into their unlimited wealth of knowledge.


Matfield is aware of what is at stake for the rugby youngsters as the under-18 Craven Week is coming up in a few months' time, and many of the players will be using the opportunity to cement their position in the team. But it will also be netball that Matfield will be taking a keen interest in this year as his daughter will be competing. 


"My visit to the Absa Wildeklawer Sports Tournament will be completely different this year," he said.  "Firstly, I am interested to see how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected our South African youth in terms of skills and overall performance on the rugby field. Not being able to play competitively for two years is not ideal and can set us back when it comes to sports development. Secondly, I will be viewing both the rugby and netball tournament through the eyes of a parent. I have three girls, and this is the first time I will be watching a tournament of this magnitude as a parent. I understand the pressures that the kids face, and I am hoping to chat to some of the parents (rugby and netball) and help them understand what their children are going through."


“I will be supporting my daughter on the netball court as a parent that wants her to enjoy the sport, I am not there to add extra pressure on her. I will be doing the same thing at the rugby tournament where I will be supporting the boys and providing guidance,” said Matfield.


Chauke also expressed her excitement to experience and watch the Absa Wildeklawer Sports Tournament. "I am looking forward to seeing the excited faces of the netballers as they begin competing at the highest level of the game again.  At last, we are back in action, and now is the time to up the level of skills as these are our future stars and heroes of the game.  It will not be long before they start vying for their place in the national team. My message to them all is to enjoy every game and appreciate the experience and opportunity that they have been given. Celebrate the wins and learn from the losses.  I am expecting to see some fierce competition on the court, and new friendships developing off the court," said Chauke.


This year, Absa has also introduced many innovations that have enhanced the experience for all involved, such as the Absa MegaU Luxury Bus: with free Wi-Fi, VR rugby games and PlayStations. These will all be available for players and fans to entertain themselves. In addition to the bus, Absa has also introduced the Absa Kuierkamer; an area for invited guests to sit, relax and watch games.


On the 29th of April, Matfield can be found at either the Absa MegaU Luxury Bus or the Absa Kuierkamer while Chauke is scheduled to attend the tournament on the 30th of April and 2nd of May.


For more information on the Absa Wildeklawer, visit



Monday, February 21, 2022


 ‘The Producer Economy’ refers to the evolution of influencer marketing and companies opting to take control and become their own ‘influencers’.  They will have more control over messaging, and the same messaging can be taken through the entire brand journey and not necessarily only social media. 


This is a natural progression as there must be a lifecycle to an influencer campaign.  I am not saying bringing in influencers is not a great strategy, because it is.


The role of an influencer is to create brand credibility, but the secret is to do it in a way that is authentic to the influencer, using a tone that the person uses to communicate with their specific community. Hence the influencer should have some say in the way the message is portrayed.  Macro, micro and celebrity influencers are extremely important and make a great difference.  As a PR agency we have seen huge successes, but this cannot be seen as a ‘forever’ strategy.  Hence the introduction of The Producer Economy and this is where PR agencies can be extremely valuable.  It is the role of PR to use the goodwill generated from an influencer campaign and integrate into corporate and brand messaging.


The Brand being its own ‘influencer’ has numerous benefits.  Creating its own messaging, the distribution of such (what platform to use including email, OTT, TV and anything else) and the speed with which it can be changed or built upon.  Companies also believe this is the ‘safest option’ and can prevent any backlash from an influencer or the way the messaging is portrayed.


It is all about greater control.  However, here is a caution:  Influencers attract attention because of who they are and brands on their own can be passed by as ‘just another ad’. 


The best advice we can give – combinations!

·        The Producer Economy is a natural progression in the world of the influencer – a good strategy!

·        Using influencers, whether macro, micro or celebrity in campaigns is essential – they are invaluable and create instant awareness. 

·        Create partnerships!  Use an influencer image, quote, meme and build your own story around it between campaigns and for continuity!

·        If budget allows, use multiple influencers


The landscape out there is cluttered!  Extremely cluttered and very busy!! Being your own creator is hard work and needs extremely creative thinking!   No sooner has one brand managed to get heard above the clutter and the competitor takes it that one step further.  Influencers can be heard above the clutter!


And finally, ALWAYS bring in the creative PR team.  After all, a PR’s job is to tell stories.


·        An interesting stat:  Brands spent over $6.5 billion in 2019 and this doubled to $13.8 billion in 2021. (report compiled by Statista)



Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Great Excitement as the KFC Mini-Cricket Provincial Festivals resume for the 2021/22 season


KFC Mini-Cricket Provincial Festivals resume for the 2021/22 season



South Africa’s leading cricket development programme - KFC Mini-Cricket, is set to resume when the provincial festivals kick-off on 18th February across the country.


The season restart coincides with the 12th anniversary of KFC’ sponsorship of the Mini-Cricket programme that provides an enjoyable but more importantly, safe environment for the kid to get active and have fun.


The KFC Mini-Cricket programme has touched the hearts of many communities as it introduces kids not only to the fundamentals of cricket, but also to traits and values to become the best versions of themselves. It forms a critical foundation step in the development of South Africa’s future cricketing heroes and is the first step in Cricket South Africa’s ‘pipeline to the Proteas.’


The KFC Mini-Cricket 2020-21 campaign was an unorthodox one, as the programme had to adapt to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The usual blockbuster festival had to be scaled down into a series of smaller activations and the annual seminars, which usually attract the top Mini-Cricket volunteers and administrators in one venue, had to be hosted virtually.


However, with the country’s lockdown restrictions being reduced to level 1, the programme organisers are thrilled to bring smiles once again to the kids by allowing them to do what they love, playing the game of cricket.


We are really excited that we can host provincial festivals again. Like everything else in South Africa, the programme was heavily affected by the pandemic and through our season theme of “Imvuselelo” or “Recovery” we are looking forward to continuing our journey back to normality by hosting the festivals,” said KFC CSI Manager Andra Ferreira Nel.


Through the help and hard work of the KFC Mini-Cricket coaches and coordinators, the kids will once again get an opportunity to play their favourite sport and create new friendships and unforgettable moments of laughter on the field in a more safe and secure way.


“These inspiring individuals epitomise all that is great about South Africa. Their selfless dedication allows the programme to be all-inclusive and teach the kids important life skills whilst they get active in a fun and healthy way by playing a sport that they love. They champion the spirit of community by keeping the Mini Cricket fire burning in their corners of our country and we could not be more proud to partner with them for the coming season,” continued Ferreira Nel.


However, safety is still an important factor in ensuring a safe and secure environment for the Mini-Cricketers while they showcase their talent on the field.


“We are excited to resume the 2021/22 KFC Mini-Cricket season. However, we are still aware that the pandemic has not ended, and safety will still be a priority with all protocols still having to be observed in the upcoming seminars and festivals,” reassured CSA Mass participation manager David Mokopanele.


“The majority of our administrators and volunteers have been vaccinated. We hope this will go a long way towards increasing the safety within the KFC Mini-Cricket season, allowing us to get more kids active for a sustained period this season,” Mokopanele concluded.


Since the inception of the programme, a total number of 2.5 million kids have played KFC Mini-Cricket and over 120 players have gone on to represent various national teams. And over 6 600 schools across the country joined the programme.



About KFC Mini-Cricket

KFC Mini-Cricket provides a platform for kids in South Africa to have fun and get active. KFC Mini-Cricket is the largest grassroots development sports programme in South Africa and is also an essential building block for learning cricketing basics and entrenching a love for the game. 


In the previous full season, 2019/20 there were over 126 000 kids from over 6600 schools active in the KFC Mini-Cricket programme who are coached by over 13 600 volunteer coaches. Year on year there are a minimum of 45 000 matches played each year. KFC has sponsored KFC Mini-Cricket since 2010 and in the 2012/13 cricket season KFC became the title sponsor of the KFC T20 Internationals.













Western Province


















Northern Cape






KZN Inland



KZN Coastal