The Free State Crinums had little time to recover from their nail-biting defeat at the hands of the champion Jaguars in the second round of the Telkom Netball League in Pretoria on Friday as they headed back to court to take on the Golden Fireballs on Saturday afternoon.
The three-time champions made sure they wouldn’t suffer the same fate against the other Gauteng team in the tournament and put in a dominant performance, downing the Fireballs 66-42.
It was a tight start to the match, with both teams looking to find their rhythm. Three minutes in, the score was still tied at 1-1. But the Crinums started pulling away towards the end of the first quarter, reaching the break 16-8 up, and they didn’t look back.
An 8-1 run at the start of second saw them extending their lead even further, with Captain Lefébre Rademan once again spot on at goal attack, while goal keeper Ané Retief excelled in defence. The eventually Fireballs managed to stem the flow of goals and made some good attacks of their own to draw the third quarter at 14 goals each, meaning the teams headed into the final period on 49-32.
The Crinums then came out firing in the last quarter forcing numerous turnovers and scoring a quick eight unanswered goals. It was well past five minutes into the quarter before the Fireballs registered their first goal, which meant they were left with too large a gap to close.
Crinums coach Burta de Kock paid tribute to her young team. “I’m so happy because we had four 18-year-old babies on court and they are such a brilliant, awesome investment in netball in South Africa,” she said.
“I’m so glad that we could introduce them today – to explore and give them experience so I am very happy. They did very well and the senior players stepped up and carried them through it.”
As for having to regroup after the disappointment of Friday’s two-goal loss to the Jaguars, the coach added: “It wasn’t difficult. They are used to it. They’re very fit and growing mentally as a young team and they believe in one another and trust each other.”
Earlier in the second division clash between the Aloes and the Sunbirds it was the Eastern Cape side that maintained their unbeaten record in the tournament so far. The Aloes led throughout the game and finally emerged 46-38 winners.
Had it not been for a phenomenal final quarter from the Sunbirds in which they outscored the opposition by 14 goals to 10, that margin could have been much larger, considering the Aloes were up by 12 at the end of the third quarter.
Aloes coach and former Proteas defender Lana Krige called a timeout a few minutes into the final period after her team had scored just one goal to the Sunbirds’ five.
“I can’t repeat those words,” she joked about what was said at the time. “No, it was just about being lackadaisical. We weren’t playing with fire.