The Telkom Netball League Power Week culminated in success this morning at the Ngoako Ramatlhodi Sports Complex in Polokwane. Both Limpopo teams were in action for the last time on home turf. The Baobabs got proceedings underway against the Kingdom Queens and bagged their second win following a 65-37 score line. The home side took a four-goal lead in the opening stages of the game after making the most of the gains from the Queens’ unforced errors.
The Baobabs were even more charged up in the second quarter in front of their jovial supporters. The Baobabs’ defensive takeover in their opponents’ goal third resulted in multiple gains and the shooting duo of Muhluri Hlatshwayo and Marichelle Visagie were quick to convert. Two attacking changes from the side of the Queens came in when the hosts extended their lead by eleven goals; Nompumelelo Khumalo moved from Centre to Wing Attack and captain Siphiwe Sibisi took over on Centre. However, the changes still couldn’t produce fruitful leads into the circle.
The Queens still struggled with the placement of the ball due to the Baobabs distracting their line of sight. Muhluri and Visagie’s synchronized movements in the circle saw the pair boast a one hundred goal percentage in the third quarter after converting all the turnovers the defenders benefitted from in the Queens’ half. Thulisile Nhleko moved from Wing Attack to Goal Attack in the fourth quarter, providing more variety in the Queens’ shooting circle. Nhleko and Tamika Baker finished strong, scoring all twelve attempts without a miss, but the late surge still saw them on the losing end.
Baobabs coach Emily Mathosa wants to see a more clinical start in the next leg: ‘’It’s been a good week, but it was not the start that we wanted. We actually wanted to win from our first game to the last game, which was today. I believe it was a bit of nerves that kicked in, and I am glad that the girls have now settled into the tournament. For some of them, it’s their first time at TNL, and I really believe that going forward, from the start, we kick on.’’
On the other hand, the inexperienced Lilies lost their home game 25-61 to the Mpumalanga Sunbirds. The Lilies also lost to the Diamonds and Tornados in the last five days. The Limpopo side battled to keep up with the tempo of the game from the onset and trailed by ten goals in the first quarter. The Lilies’ best performance came in the second quarter when they showed a bit of patience on attack and reduced the number of wayward balls, scoring eleven goals. The Sunbirds were even more ruthless in the second half, making little room for mistakes. Sunbirds’ Goal Attack Atacia Mbuyane added her name to the list of the Player of the match awards following her sublime contribution to the team’s success, scoring thirty-five of the sixty-one goals.
All roads will now lead back to the Heartfelt Arena in Pretoria for the remainder of the league, and action will resume 2 June 2023
Baobabs 65-37 Queens
Lilies 25-61 Sunbirds