The 2018 silver medallists, the Southern Stings, made short work of the Gauteng Golden Fireballs in their Telkom Netball League (TNL) match at the Pretoria University Sports Centre on Friday, beating them by 58 goals to 34.
The Fireballs started well, and kept pace with the Stings for much of the first quarter and were just three goals behind at the end of the quarter. (12-90). But some wild passes and basic errors cost them and the Stings increased the pressure as the game went on. By halftime, the Stings were 27-18 ahead. In the third quarter, the Stings pulled away, outscoring the Fireballs by 16 goals to seven (43-25).
The Fireballs played better in the final quarter, although they appeared tired a bit lacklustre. The Stings won the quarter 15-9. Stings coach Annelie Lucas said her team was still making too many unforced errors, but she was reasonably happy.
“The defenders were particularly good, and I was pleased that they didn’t allow the Fireballs to get into double figures in any of the quarters. “We are taking it game by game and I am pleased with the way we are progressing,” she said.
“We had such a good start, but then things went wrong,” said Fireballs coach Jenni-Lee Delport.
“It appears that they can’t concentrate for four quarters. I played my whole bench, in the hope that the bench players would improve matters, but they didn’t. I am disappointed and we shall have to do some soul-searching,” she said.
In the first match of the day, the Kingdom Stars came from behind to beat the Mpumalanga Sunbirds 53-44, after leading 26-22 at halftime. The Sunbirds stormed out of the blocks and at one stage were seven goals ahead, but the Stars began reeling them in halfway through the first quarter, which ended with the Sunbirds leading 15-11. Five minutes before halftime, the Stars drew level and then went into the lead for the first time. They won the quarter 15-7.
They maintained the lead in the third quarter, which they won 13-10, but in the final quarter the Sunbirds came back and at one stage were just two goals behind. The teams drew the last quarter 12-all.
“I changed our goal defence after the first quarter, because I could see she was struggling against the very tall Sunbirds goal shooter,” said Stars coach Bonisiwe Thabethe.
“After that, I just kept on encouraging them to focus and to defend their centre passes, and to shoot as soon as they were in the circle.”
PRETORIA May 17
Results of Telkom Netball League matches played at the Pretoria University Sports Centre on Friday
Southern Stings 58 (27) Gauteng Golden Fireballs 34 (18)
Kingdom Stars 53 (26) Mpumalanga Sunbirds 44 (22)