The Division Two match between the Baobabs and the Diamonds ushered in the final Power Week of the Telkom Netball League this afternoon at the Heartfelt Arena in Pretoria. Both teams looked well-rested following a one-week hiatus from the league, but the Limpopo side once again showcased their dominance and secured a convincing 50-35 victory over the Diamonds. The Baobabs began at full speed, setting themselves apart with eight goals in the first fifteen minutes by using their speed and precision to launch the ball safely inside their shooting circle. The second quarter featured a lot of stop-starts due to the high penalty rate from both sides. The Diamonds made the assignment even more strenuous, sitting on a low fifty-two goal percentage following some missed shots.
Coach Nthabiseng Hottie switched up the Diamonds’ shooting circle in the championship quarter, which produced a more consolidated performance. The feeds into the shooting circle sharpened up, and Andisiwe Dlamini and Ninelle Jordaan were also able to finish off and salvage a thirteen-all draw. The determination didn’t last too long for the Northern Cape side in the final minutes, which solicited a strategic stoppage time from Hottie, who reminded her troops to stand their ground. Unfortunately, time was up as the buzzer went off, signaling the end of the match and the Baobabs claimed their nineth win of the season.
It wasn’t a great day for the other Limpopo team after Sonoblomo completed a double over the Lilies with a 58-39 victory. The new kids on the block first met on June 3, 2023 and it was the Free State side that secured a six-goal win. The win made it Sonoblomo’s second victory in the competition and the Lilies remain winless after eleven games, having also conceded 597 goals in the process. The Lilies will have an opportunity to rest tomorrow, and Sonoblomo will now shift their focus to their next game against the Diamonds tomorrow afternoon.
The Fireballs and Aloes game was the only top division match of the day. The Gauteng team extended their winning streak to eight consecutive matches after overpowering the Aloes with a 64-32 victory. Both shooting circles struggled in the opening quarter; Zandré Smit missed a few uncharacteristic long-range shots for the Aloes, and on the opposite end, the SPAR Proteas duo of Owethu Ngubane and Nomfundo Mngomezulu took some time to settle before communicating effectively inside the Fireballs’ shooting circle.
The Fireballs’ relentless full-court pressure in the second quarter, decimated most of the Aloes’ attacking efforts, crushing any hopes of walking away victorious in the process. The Eastern Cape team displayed some astute defensive moments in the game, but conversion remained a myth, having scored only six goals in the third stanza. It was already a done deal for Dr. Elsje Jordaans’ team, and it was quite evident with the wholesome changes she made to give every player a run.
Jordaan says she expects an optimal method of completion during this Power Week, ‘’We are going to take it game for game and we pride ourselves in what we do. I don’t believe in playing with fate, I don’t think you should test that. We don’t have a specific team that we want to play against, it is what it is and the competition will run out the way it will. I don’t believe in mind games and throwing games, I just believe in going hard and keeping the momentum going. This week is all about us. It is not about the opposition, it’s about our process, shutting out too much noise from the outside and just focusing on what it is that we want to achieve.’’
Baobabs 50-35 Diamonds
Fireballs 64-32 Aloes
Lilies 39-58 Sonoblomo
Saturday (24/06/2023) Fixtures
08:00- Aloes vs Stars
10:00- Queens vs Baobabs
12:00- Fireballs vs Crinums
14:00- Comets vs Sunbirds
16:00- Diamonds vs Sonoblomo
18:00- Flames vs Stings