The Southern Stings maintained their string of victories with a resounding 60-23 win over the Kingdom Stars in their Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League match at the Durban University of Technology on Sunday.
Although the goal difference was large, the Stars succeeded with a number of turnovers, but they were let down by their shooters, who seemed to have difficulty finding the net. The Stings were clinical and goalkeeper Phumza Maweni was superb. Their centre court was also very good with wing defence Sasha-Lee Petersen and centre Shannon Bartlett very much in command.
“We’re gaining momentum and I am very happy with the way things are going,” said Stings coach Annelie Lucas.
“Our combinations are working, and the players are communicating well,” she said.
Stars coach Madri Maritz said she was disappointed in her shooters.
“The score would have been very different if they had netted their attempts,” she said.
“I think the Stings defence, especially Phumza, got under their skin.
“But it gave me the opportunity to try out some of the youngsters, and I was able to play my whole bench.”
The Limpopo Baobabs notched up their second victory of the tournament when they thumped the Northern Cape Diamonds 54-20, after leading 26-7 at halftime.
The Baobabs, who finished last in 2016, are a vastly improved team under coach Dumisani Chauke, and have shown a new determination and team spirit. Their shooters were accurate and their defence outstanding. Goal defence Lentsomang Motau had an outstanding game and was named player of the match. The circle defence made life very difficult for the Diamonds’ shooters, who missed many attempts at goal.
Chauke was delighted at the way her team bounced back from their disappointment on Saturday, when the Stars snatched a draw after trailing by six goals with five minutes left to play.
“That match was draining, mentally as well as physically, so I am so proud of the girls that they could come back like that. We’re by no means perfect – we could have achieved more turnovers – but I am a happy coach today,” said Chauke.
”I’m very disappointed. We could have and should have done better,” said Diamonds coach Maria Maiya.
“Our shooters were particularly disappointing and they will have to do a lot of work during the week. We can’t afford to miss so many chances.”
The tournament moves to Cape Town for the next three weekends, after which it moves to Bloemfontein.