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Finalists decided in Potch

Free State Motheo and Gauteng North remained unbeaten on Friday, and will battle it out in Saturday’s final game of the SPAR National Netball Championships in Potchefstroom.

Dr Kenneth Kaunda (North West South) were pushed to the wayside in the first quarter of their semi-final match by Gauteng North, who stormed into a 15-4 lead. Although the host side fought back valiantly in the second half, the damage had been done and they were unable to catch up.

Erin Burger – who plays Centre for the winning Gauteng North Side – and her national teammate Leigh-Ann Zackey both played exceptionally well. Despite fierce defending by Kaunda, Burger always appeared to have space around her, and Zackey was superb in defence.

In the first two quarters, Gauteng North were completely dominant, and skilled Dr Kenneth Kaunda goalshooter Chrishna Bootha was rendered useless. However, she had more opportunities as the game wore on, and as always was very accurate in her shooting.

Interception was something that the Pretoria team was able to do on numerous occasions, but after trailing 22-8 at halftime, the North West team began to fight back.┬á In the third quarter, they kept pace with Gauteng North, and outscored them by 10 goals to seven in the final quarter.┬á However, Gauteng North won by a handy 52-40. ÔÇ£We started brilliantly,ÔÇØ said Gauteng North captain Zackey.┬á ÔÇ£We knew we had to have a good lead right from the start and keep them playing catch-up throughout the game.ÔÇØ

Zackey said they had expected a tough match against Kaunda. ÔÇ£This was a semi-final, and they are always tough,ÔÇØ she said.┬á ÔÇ£They are very different from pool matches.ÔÇØ She said they would have to go out hard against Free State on Saturday; ÔÇ£We need to get a good lead and try to break their rhythm.ÔÇØ

A much easier match was had between Free State and Western Province in the other semi-final, as Free State beat the Cape team by 39 goals to 19.┬á Free State were all over WP in the first half, leading 22-9 at the break, but Province came back strongly in the third quarter. ÔÇ£We struggled with our rhythm at times,ÔÇØ said Free State coach Burta de Kock.┬á ÔÇ£But I’m very happy with the way we played.┬á Because we got a good early lead, I was able to bring some of the young players on and give them some experience so they won’t be over-awed if they are needed tomorrow.ÔÇØ ÔÇ£We know Elize Kotze’s team is a very strong defensive side, so we will need to be very strong on attack tomorrow.ÔÇØ

In the play-offs for lower positions, Kaunda beat Western Province 50-31 to take third place, and Griqualand West beat Gauteng East 53-46 to take fifth place.┬á The play-off for seventh place featured last year’s finalists, Boland and Nelson Mandela Bay. Boland beat the defending champions 44-23.┬á Gauteng Central won the play-off for ninth position, beating Gauteng West 54-44, despite once again conceding six goals for not fielding a mixed team.

Final matches will be played on Saturday morning, starting with the women’s C-section final between Gert Sibanda and West Coast.┬á The men’s final will be between Gauteng North A and Ethekwini, and the women’s B-section final is between South Western Districts and Gauteng North B. The women’s A-section final between Gauteng North and Free State starts at 12.30.


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