Port Elizabeth, South Africa – The SPAR national netball championships at Young Park continued to throw out interesting results on Thursday, with tournament favourites Tshwane beating log leaders Dr Kenneth Kaunda (Potchefstroom) and Cape Winelands losing two matches in a row.
Their first loss was to Dr Kenneth Kaunda and later in the day they went down to Mangaung Metro in a low-scoring match on a windswept court.
Cape Winelands appeared to be in control at the start of their match against Dr Kenneth Kaunda, leading 18-12 after the first quarter and 29-22 at halftime. The North West team came back strongly in the third quarter, drawing level and then passing the Cape team to lead 35-32 after the third quarter. The final score was 45-40.
Dr Kenneth Kaunda coach Elsje Jordaan was delighted by the way her team had fought back.
“They stuck to the basics and to the game plan and it worked,” she said.
Cape Winelands’ 18-21 loss to Mangaung Metro was more surprising, although the Free State team proved on Wednesday that they were not to be under-estimated when they beat Tshwane 46-35.
It was a tough match, with the wind making it difficult for the goalshooters to get the ball in the net. Cape Winelands led 12-7 at halftime and the teams were level on 16-all after the third quarter. Mangaung dug deep in the final quarter and won the match by 21 goals to 18.
“I am really proud of my young players, who showed a lot of guts and character in very difficult conditions,” said Mangaung coach Burta de Kock.
“They knew the most important thing was to keep possession of the ball and to stick to the game plan.
“I think it is very good for South African netball that there is such a tight battle to get into the top two. Anything can happen now.”
Winelands coach Annelie Lucas was visibly disappointed at the two losses.
“We came here to win and I think it would be very difficult now to get into the top two. We will probably have to play for third place, which is not where we wanted to be,” said Lucas.
“The conditions in the second match were difficult, but they were the same for both teams, and Mangaung handled the situation better. My players got frustrated and made mistakes, while Mangaung stayed calm.”
Dr Kenneth Kaunda appeared to be suffering the after-effects of their tough battle against the Winelands when they came up against Tshwane. Goalshooter Sigi Burger, who played very well against Winelands, was off her game and the North West team struggled to get possession.
“It was great the way the girls bounced back today after yesterday’s disappointment. I am very proud of them,” said Tshwane coach Jenny van Dyk.
“We went back yesterday and had some hard talking and we realised that we can’t take anything for granted.”
Tshwane looked determined to get back to their winning ways after their loss to Mangaung and made a good job of getting the ball into their circle. They were 23-15 ahead at halftime and won the match 46-29, having kept Dr Kenneth Kaunda to less than 10 goals in each quarter.
Earlier, Tshwane made light work of beating Cape Town 60-37. Nelson Mandela Bay recorded their fourth win, beating Gert Sibande (Ermelo) 50-45. Gert Sibande beat Ehlanzeni 47-20.