The Southern Stings achieved a comprehensive 44-35 win over the defending champions, the Free State Crinums, in their Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League (BFNPL) match at the Durban University of Technology on Saturday night.
The Stings had the edge over the Crinums throughout the match, but it was only in the final quarter that they were able to cut loose and put some distance between their scores. Until then, they were always only two or three goals ahead.
“I’m really proud of the girls,” said Stings coach Annelie Lucas.
“We let them put us under pressure a bit but then we came back. I am also very pleased that we seem to have depth in our shooters – Vanes-Mari (Du Toit) had to come off early in the first quarter, but our young shooters really did well. I had been reluctant to play Danelle Lochner, because she used to play for the Crinums, but I put her on and she and Helene Steyn tore their defence apart.”
“We need more consistency in the circle,” said Crinums coach Burta de Kock.
“The girls need to work hard again during the week – we’ve lost three matches now and we can’t afford to lose any more.”
After trailing the Eastern Cape Aloes for three and a half quarters, the North West Flames stormed back to win their match convincingly, by 38 goals to 33. The match was very close but the Aloes had a slight edge until eight minutes before the final whistle, when the Flames levelled the scores on 30-all and then made certain of victory.
Flames coach Dorette Badenhorst was happy that they had shown character, but she said she was a worried coach.
“We only won half of a quarter,” she said.
“Luckily, that pulled us through but I find I am having to make ad hoc plans to make up for missing players. I don’t have the depth and the senior players that some of the other teams have.”
Des Neville, coach of the Aloes, was stunned by the result.
“We had it and we lost it in the last eight minutes,” she said.
“But I think our attack was better than last week. Bavu (Matyumza) really stepped up to the plate tonight. Our defence was good but they were hampered by some of the umpiring decisions”
Goal attack Matyumza was named player of the match.
The Kingdom Stars, spurred on by a vociferous crowd, clawed their way back from five down to draw their match against the Limpopo Baobabs, 43-all. The close match was proof that the lower-ranked teams can provide netball as exciting as the top teams. For the first three quarters, neither side was able to gain the upper hand, but in the final quarter, the Baobabs crept ahead and the Stars appeared to have given up. With four minutes to go, the Baobabs had a five goal lead. But the crowd got behind the Stars and they came back strongly and with two minutes to go, they levelled the scores.
Stars coach Madri Maritz said the crowd had had an impact, but she believed it was her team’s fighting spirit that had helped them.
“I am very pleased with the outcome. We always knew the Baobabs would be tough,” she said.
Baobabs coach Dumisani Chauke was very disappointed with the result.
“We had the match,” she said.
“We were five goals ahead and all we needed to do was to keep the ball in hand. But we panicked and there was a distinct lack of BMT. They’ll watch the video tonight and see what they did.”
The Gauteng North Jaguars scored a runaway 81-19 victory over the Northern Cape Diamonds – the biggest margin of victory since the start of the BFNPL. The Jaguars played like a well-oiled machine, with passes into seemingly empty spaces picked up.
Jaguars coach Jenny van Dyk said the game had gone according to plan, and everyone had played well.
“It gave us a chance to put some things into practice,” she said.
“We haven’t had very tough matches so far, except against the Free State Crinums, and my players need to be put under a bit of pressure. But it is good to see the communication on court. We will need that when we come up against tougher opposition.”
Maria Maiya, coach of the Diamonds, said that despite the crushing defeat, her players gained experience every time they went on court.
“Playing against people like (former Protea goalshooter) Chrisna van Zyl and Shadine van der Merwe, they learn more about the game. We play the Limpopo Baobabs tomorrow, and we hope to have a closer match this time,” said Maiya.