Semi-finalists sorted in Potch | SASCOC - SASCOC

Semi-finalists sorted in Potch

Gauteng North and Free State Motheo were both unbeaten at the end of the pool section of the SPAR National Netball championships in Potchefstroom on Thursday, proving that they have what it takes to play in the semi-finals as the country’s stars continued their preparations for the Commonwealth Games in India later this year.

The other teams to reach the semi-finals were Western Province in Pool One and Dr Kenneth Kaunda (North West South) in Pool Two of the women’s A-section. Gauteng East, defending champions Nelson Mandela Bay, Griqualand West and Boland will battle it out for positions five to eight, while Gauteng West and Gauteng Central will play each other to decide positions nine and 10.

The action started early yesterday morning when Gauteng Central and last year’s losing finalists Boland played against each other, neither having won any matches in the tournament thus far. However, the all black team from Johannesburg proved the strongest, and won a hard battle by 41 goals to 39. Captain Nthabiseng Moabi said that her team was confident going into the match: ÔÇ£We knew we had the fitness, speed and agility to beat them,ÔÇØ she said.

But fitness and speed wasn’t enough to win the game, and jubilation turned to disappointment when Boland were awarded an extra six goals for complying with Netball South Africa’s transformation policy. The policy states that each team should field a mixed team at a ratio of five to two, which meant that Boland won the match 45-41, and finished fourth in their group.

Although Boland had been penalised on Wednesday for non-compliance against hosts Dr Kenneth Kaunda, the overall outcome was not affected as the host team had won the match by far and the six goals had made no difference to the score. Yesterday’s morning match between Boland and Gauteng Central was thus the first A-section match of the tournament to be swung due to the transformation policy.

In a backwards and forwards battle between neighbours, Free State beat Griqualand West by 49 goals to 45. They continued with their winning streak later on in the day and thrashed Boland 56-27.

Despite all the early action, the best match of the day was between undefeated Gauteng North and the young team from Gauteng East. Although the Pretoria team never looked like losing, Elsje Jordaan’s youngsters put up a very good fight, and in fact, in the last quarter, outscored their more experienced opponents. ÔÇ£I’m very proud of them, although I would like a little more consistency. They are a very young team ÔÇô my oldest player is only 23 and my youngest 18. We finished third in our group, and I’m proud of that.ÔÇØ

Jordaan singled out goalshooter Lindie Lombard for special praise. ÔÇ£She’s definitely someone for the future,ÔÇØ said Jordaan. ÔÇ£I like her composure and I thought she handled those two Protea defenders, Amanda Mynhardt and Leigh-Ann Zackey extremely well.ÔÇØ

Other matches included those of Western Province beating Nelson Mandela Bay 33-22, and a very tight match between Dr Kenneth Kaunda and Griqualand West that resulted in the host region winning 56-53 over Griqualand West.

Gauteng North, who have three national team players at their disposal, with Erin Burger at centre, still look like the front-runners. They will play Kaunda in the semi-finals, and it could be an intriguing battle between Mynhardt and Zackey and their Protea teammate Chrisna Bootha, who has impressed with her unerring accuracy as the North West South’s goalshooter.

All the results on Day Four

Women’s A Section
Freestate Motheo bt Griqualand West 49-45
Bizhub Boland bt Gauteng Central 45-41
Dr Kenneth Kaunda bt Griqualand West 56-53
Freestate Motheo bt Bizhub Boland 56-27
Gauteng North bt Gauteng East 48-37
Western Province bt Nelson Mandela Bay 33-22

Women’s B Section
SWD bt Vhembe 49-32
Bizhub Boland bt Westen Province 43-37
Nelson Mandela Bay bt Zululand 40-32
Gauteng North drew against Amathole 31-31
Vhembe bt Capricorn 38-18
Western Province bt Nelson Mandela Bay 48-39
SWD bt Amathole 28-26
Bizhub Boland bt Gauteng Vaal 36-33

Women’s C Section
KZN Midlands bt Ethekwini 46-39
West Coast bt Griqualand West 48-27
Bojanala bt Fezile Dabie 31-50
Cacadu bt Chris Hani 51-49
Nkangala bt Sekhukhune 53-52
Enhlanzeni bt Waterberg 31-25
OR Tambo bt KZN Ukhahlamba 52-29
Gert Sibanda bt Central Boland 35-32
Gauteng Central bt NM Molema 70-21
Alfred NZO bt EC Ukhahlamba 50-28

Men’s Section
Gauteng Vaal bt Gauteng North 44-39
Waterberg bt Gauteng Central 47-32
Gauteng North bt Zululand 41-39
Dr Kenneth Kaunda bt Vhembe 53-23
Ethekwini bt KZN Midlands 36-24
Ukhahlamba bt Bojanala 34-31
Capricorn bt Central Boland 32-23
Freestate Motheo bt NM Molema 49-35