Netball: Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League
The Golden Fireballs, who last week thrashed the Northern Cape Diamonds 90-10, had a tougher Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League match against the Mpumalanga Sunbirds at the Bellville Velodrome on Saturday. The Fireballs eventually won comprehensively, by 62 goals to 38, but the Sunbirds were far from a walkover.
The Sunbirds started strongly and kept pace with the Fireballs until just before the end of the first quarter, when the Gauteng team started pulling away. They were four goals ahead at the end of the first quarter, but by halftime they led 30-23 and extended their lead with each quarter.
“I think it was a question of fitness,” said Sunbirds coach Marlie Nel. “They were very down after losing heavily to the North West Flames last week, but they were determined to show that they are no pushover. So they started very strongly, but I think they lost focus as they tired.”
Fireballs coach Elsje Jordaan said she was pleased her team had had to work for their win.
“I think they were a bit complacent after last week, so when the Sunbirds came at them so hard, they were a bit taken aback. But that’s a good thing.” Jordaan made wholesale changes, with a completely new line-up at halftime, which included playing goal attack Lindie Lombard at centre. “We had planned that,” said captain Zanne-Marie Pienaar. “I think it brings something new to the game, when you change things around like that,” she said.