The Golden Fireballs secured a place in the semifinal of the Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League with a comprehensive 68-24 thumping of the Eastern Cape Aloes at the Mangaung Indoor Sports Arena on Friday night.
They will play the North West Flames in the semifinal next weekend.
The Fireballs started well and maintained their dominance throughout the match. They scored 15 goals in the first two quarters, 16 in the third and 22 in the final quarter, despite playing without their regular goalshooter, Deanke Rohde, who has been ill. Talja Venter, who normally plays goal attack, stepped up to the plate and she and Lindie Lombard kept control of their circle.
Coach Elsje Jordaan played her whole bench, apart from Rohde, and said she was very happy with the way the team had played.
“We were a bit flat last week when we played the Jaguars, and we lost by five goals. I think it was a bit of a wake-up call – I think we had been a bit complacent. But I was proud of the way they played today,” she said.
“Our goal was to score at least 15 goals in each quarter, and we did that. The shooters need to share the load, and Talja and Lindie did that well today.
“This is the best we have done in the Brutal Fruit so far – we’ve always ended outside the top four, so I am very pleased about that.”
Aloes coach Des Neville was also pleased that her team had achieved their best finish in the history of the tournament.
“We’ve always ended seventh, and our immediate goal was to reach the top six. We will play off for fifth place tomorrow,” she said.
“But I was disappointed that we didn’t play as well as I think we could have. However, all credit to the Fireballs. They are a strong team and I always knew it would be a tough match.
“I thought our defenders were very good. I was pleased with the way they turned over balls, and also that they maintained their discipline.
“We have another match tomorrow, and we will see how we do then,” said Neville.