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Tough day at national champs but Gauteng and Free State set for semis
- Updated: August 28, 2015
The fourth day of the SPAR National Netball Championships at the Ugu Sports Centre near Margate on Thursday was a tough one for Gauteng and Free State, who both had to play three matches.
But at the end of the day both teams appear to be heading for the semi-finals.
Their lunchtime encounter was the match of the day, with both teams trying to establish their authority ahead of Friday’s semi-final, where they are expected to play each other. Gauteng had the upper hand for most of the match, although Free State came back strongly in the third quarter, outscoring Gauteng by 12 goals to seven. Gauteng turned on the power again in the final quarter, which they won by nine goals to six, to finish with a 37-29 victory.
Gauteng goalshooter Ine-Marie Venter was the stand-out player, shooting from any part of the circle with a calm confidence that belied her 20 years.
‘We’re peaking at the right time, and they have improved with every game,’ said coach Jenny van Dyk. ‘We still have two matches to play, but we definitely plan to play in the semis,’ she said.
‘We have been able to use all 12 players in the squad, which means they have been able to keep up with a very strenuous programme.’
Free State coach Burta de Kock said she was very proud of her young team.
‘They are gaining experience all the time and they are becoming more confident. They are stepping into the shoes of players like Adele Niemand, Karla Mostert and Maryka Holtzhausen. In the beginning, they thought they wouldn’t be able to do it, but now they believe they can,’ she said.
‘We lost a lot of balls against Gauteng, because of poor decision-making, but we can improve on that. We still have to qualify for the semifinals, but I believe they will do it.’
In their earlier matches, Gauteng beat KwaZulu-Natal A1 46-27, while Free State beat Mpumalanga 45-28, before squeaking home 32-30 against Western Cape A1.
Eastern Cape and Western Cape A1 drew 27-27. The all-conquering North West, who have won every match so far, beat Eastern Cape 46-27, and Limpopo 53-20. Northern Cape recorded their first victory, with a 30-29 win over KwaZulu-Natal A2, but Western Cape A2 beat them 37-26, and Gauteng beat them 49-16. Western Cape A2, who are hot on the heels of their A1 side, narrowly defeated Limpopo 35-33. Eastern Cape ended the day with a victory, beating KwaZulu-Natal A1 37-29. Mpumalanga beat KwaZulu-Natal A2 by 31 goals to 29.
The battle for the fourth semifinal berth appears to be between the three Cape sides, with everything depending on the outcome of their matches on Friday morning, when Eastern Cape play Northern Cape, Western Cape 1 play KwaZulu-Natal 2 and Western Cape 2 play North West.
In the picture, Vuvu Nodludlume of Eastern Cape (left) and Jeante Strydom of North West compete for the ball during day four of the SPAR National Netball Championship in Margate. Picture by Reg Caldecott.
Western Cape (A2) 35 Limpopo 33, Free State 45 Mpumalanga 28, Gauteng 46 KwaZulu-Natal (A1) 27, Northern Cape 30 KwaZulu-Natal (A2) 29, Gauteng 37 Free State 29, Western Cape (A2) 37 Northern Cape 26, Eastern Cape 27 Western Cape (A1) 27, North West 53 Limpopo 20, Free State 32 Wstern Cape (A1) 30, Mpumalanga 31 KwaZulu-Natal (A2) 29, Eastern Cape 37 KwaZulu-Natal (A1) 29, Gauteng 49 Northern Cape 16
Gauteng 35 Mpumalanga 29, Northern Cape 25 Western Cape (B2) 24, Royal Bafokeng 40 Western Cape (B1) 31, Free State 25 Eastern Cape 12, Limpopo 35 KwaZulu-Natal (B2) 16, North West 45 KwaZulu-Natal (B1) 30, North West 68 Gauteng 22, Western Cape (B1) 29 Free State 33, Royal Bafokeng 43 KwaZulu-Natal (B2) 15, Mpumalanga 28 Northern Cape 21, Eastern Cape 26 Limpopo 21, KwaZulu-Natal (B1) 33 Western Cape (B2) 22
Under-21 A Section
North West 44 Eastern Cape 19, Free State 37 Western Cape 25, Gauteng (A2) 43 KwaZulu-Natal (A2) 23, KwaZulu-Natal (A1) 36 Limpopo 26, Gauteng (A1) 49 Northern Cape 17, Royal Bafokeng 39 KwaZulu-Natal (B2) 21, North West 52 KwaZulu-Natal (B1) 16, Gauteng 32 Free State 31, Limpopo 27 Western Cape 17, Eastern Cape 42 Northern Cape 21, Gauteng (A1) 40 Free State 31, North West 39 KwaZulu-Natal (A1) 27, KwaZulu-Natal (A2) 28 Limpopo 25, Gauteng (A2) 32 Western Cape 29, Eastern Cape 42 Northern Cape 13
Under-21 B Section
Royal Bafokeng 42 Gauteng 33, Western Cape 35 KwaZulu-Natal (B1) 32, North West 47 KwaZulu-Natal (B2) 12, Free State 30 Northern Cape 15