The Gauteng Jaguars thrashed the Mpumalanga Sunbirds by 61 goals to 31 in their Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League match at the Ellis Park Indoor Arena on Sunday.
Despite the large winnings margin, the Jaguars were made to fight hard. They outscored the Sunbirds 19-8 in the first quarter, and 19-6 in the second, to lead by 38 goals to 14 at halftime. The Jaguars’ defensive pair of player of the match Shadine van der Merwe and Jeanie Steyn did a superb job of keeping the ball out of the circle and it appeared that the Sunbirds were on a hiding to nothing. Jaguars goal attack Lindie Lombard was outstanding, controlling the circle and feeding her shooter, Ina-Marie Venter.
Both coaches made changes at halftime. Sunbirds coach Jenna-Lee Delport changed the entire team, bringing on her full bench and making some positional changes. Jaguars coach Jenny van Dyk took both her defenders and Lombard off The tactic worked for Delport, as the Sunbirds had their best quarter, scoring 10 goals.
The final quarter was the most exciting, as the Sunbirds came close to winning it. In the first five minutes, the Jaguars managed only one goal and Van Dyk was forced to bring Lombard back. The Jaguars won the quarter by just one goal.
Delport was delighted with her team’s performance, except for the second quarter.
“We reached all our targets and I am thrilled with the way the youngsters played,” she said.
Van Dyk was also pleased with the way her young players responded.
“I wanted to put them under pressure and they responded well. Although we didn’t meet all our goals, all the youngsters had half a game. It is important to expose them at this stage.”
She said she had taken Venter off in the last quarter because she was not focused.
“They have to learn they must be focused for all matches, even if they are playing a weaker side,” she said.
“Overall, I was pleased with their intensity throughout the match. It was just the execution that was lacking,” she said.
Earlier, the Eastern Cape Aloes notched up their second win of the tournament with a comprehensive 63-34 victory over the Northern Cape Diamonds. The Aloes dominated the match throughout. They were 30-15 ahead at halftime.
Coach Desiree Neville, who took over two weeks ago after the resignation of her predecessor, said she was both pleased and relieved to get the win.
“We had a training day last week, where I was able to explain my philosophy of coaching. I want them to take more responsibility on court, and they seem to be responding well to that. In addition to going for a win, we set smaller goals, such as maintaining our centre passes and turning over balls, and we met most of those targets, so I was pleased with their discipline and focus,” said Neville.
Diamonds’ coach Elsje van der Merwe said she was impressed with the way the Aloes had grown since Neville took over.
“I watched them against the Fireballs yesterday, and I knew we were going to have a very tough match.
“All our matches after this are against very tough teams and I want them to relax and enjoy the rest of the tournament,” said Van der Merwe.