Netball: Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League
The Eastern Cape Aloes had to dig deep, but did exactly that to overcome the Limpopo Baobabs in a highly contested penultimate match of the group phase in the Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League (BFNPL). The Aloes won the encounter, played in the Mangaung Indoor Complex in Bloemfontein, by 51-44 to snatch the sixth spot on the log, which earned them a quarterfinal spot next weekend where they will be up against the Guateng Golden Fireballs, North West Flames or the Southern Stings, depending on the result between the Flames and Stings in the final match.
The Baobabs, who are the most improved team in the BFNPL this year, held a slender 24-22 lead going into the third quarter, but started to make a number of crucial, match-turning mistakes under pressure. They quickly fell behind and within a matter of five minutes the match was lost, trailing by eight goals towards the end of the quarter.
The Aloes in return kept their cool and manage to turn over position in the Baobabs attacking third, thanks to goal defence Nobubele Phuza and goalkeeper Bongisa Wete. Experienced shooter Noluvuyo Nodludlume slotted her goals for the Aloes when it counted mostly and her fellow shooter, Nolusindiso Twani who was chosen for the Baby Proteas on Friday, ably supported her.
The Aloes had to battle without their three Proteas, captain Nosiphiwo Goda, Lauren-Lee Christians and Jeanie Steyn as well as Arné Rust. Melodine Jacobs, also in the Baby Proteas team for the Youth World Champs in July, is still injured. The Baobabs will be involved in a play-out next weekend to determine the final positions 7 to 10. The first match will see them face the Sunbirds.