The Crinums held their nerve and managed to keep the Fireballs at bay, as they secured a hard-fought 55-45 victory at the Heartfelt Arena in Pretoria. A defensive battle in the first quarter set the tone for the game, but the Fireballs surged ahead with two goals following a skillful mid-court intercept by Wing Defense Jeante Strydom. The Crinums quickly regrouped in the second quarter and displayed some remarkable defensive pressure, which saw Fireballs captain Bongi Msomi get penalized for a held ball. The Crinums worked tirelessly to turn ball and their efforts rewarded them a four-goal lead at the halfway mark.
Both shooting circles executed their roles expertly, boasting a ninety-goal percentage but the physicality of the game started becoming an area of concern for both coaches, and umpire Elizna van den Berg didn’t hesitate in handing out a warning for Crinums Goal Attack Lefebre Rademan and a caution for Centre Karla Victor. Owethu Ngubane, who was introduced on Goal Attack for the Fireballs, rose to the occasion with her accurate shooting as the defending champions were playing catch- up in the third quarter.
The Crinums ramped up the pressure in the last quarter, leaving no stone unturned. Their defensive prowess posed challenges for the Fireballs, who seemed uncertain in their approach. Wing Defense Refiloe Nketsa’s prodigious Player of the Match movements and two intercepts contributed to the ten-goal win that handed the Fireballs their first defeat of the Telkom Netball League after nine games.
Crinums coach Martha Mosoahle-Samm lauded her team for their brilliant performance, ‘’We are so excited. I am really proud of the girls; they knew exactly what was expected of them. We made it clear that we don’t want a one, two goal difference. We want to go in there and when we take the lead, we must stay in the lead and that is exactly what we did.’’ The victory sees the Free State team back on top of the Division One log standings with a superior goal difference.
Meanwhile, the Eastern Cape Aloes made history for themselves after registering their first win since being promoted to the top division. The Aloes played the Kingdom Stars for the second time this season and this time around, they managed to avenge themselves with a 47-31 victory. The Stars were despondent from the first whistle and trailed by twelve goals already in the opening quarter. The Aloes strengthened their defensive wall in the second quarter and restricted the KZN team to just eight goals. An improved third quarter performance from the Stars saw them draw eight all in the championship quarter but the Aloes’ unwavering drives in the final fifteen minutes made it impossible for the Stars to shine, and succumbed to their eighth defeat.
In Division two, the Limpopo Baobabs moved level on points with the Tornados after beating the Kingdom Queens 62-27. The Baobabs will now leapfrog the Western Cape team into the number one spot with a higher goal difference. The Queens will look to improve when they next face the Diamonds tomorrow morning.
Sonoblomo Fend Off Diamonds In A Defensive Showdown
Sonoblomo have had a great start to the final Power Week of the Telkom Netball League after being victorious on Friday and Saturday against the Diamonds. Only three goals separated both teams in favor of the Free State side, in a tightly contested first quarter. The defensive battle continued in the second quarter, but it was Sonoblomo who dictated the majority of the action, turning a couple of balls in the Diamonds goal third. The Diamonds, on the other hand, were plagued with poor ball placement due to the lack of drives and had given away fourteen balls in total at half-time.
The physicality of the game intensified in the third quarter, with players putting their bodies on the line. The Diamonds had a shift in momentum, but practiced good patience at the same time, and won the quarter 14-11, but still had to overturn a five-goal deficit in the last quarter. The first five minutes of the fourth quarter were goal for goal until the Sonoblomo committed two unforced errors, which allowed the Diamonds to decrease the margin to just two goals.
Sonoblomo coach Gertriana Schoonraad called a crucial strategic stoppage time to disrupt the Diamonds’ rhythm. Schoonraad told her team that they can’t afford to capitulate in the latter stages of the game and that they need to shut out all the noise coming from the supporters who were backing the Northern Cape side. This elicited some newfound confidence from Goal Shooter Bianca Pienaar, who thrived and took charge in the shooting circle, finishing on a ninety goal percentage after converting thirty seven of the forty one attempts and was named the Player of the Match as Sonoblomo defeated the Diamonds 51-46 in the end.
In the other Division Two game, the Mpumalanga Sunbirds seized control of the game from the outset and led every single quarter, defeating the Comets 55-44. The Sunbirds opted for a calmer approach and were patient on attack, leaving little room for errors and gained a five goal advantage in the first quarter. A back-and-forth second quarter saw both teams fighting for control and the Comets started regaining their composure and confidence. Two defensive changes and a mid-court change in the third quarter paid dividends for the Comets, winning the quarter 13-11 due to their smothering pressure. Sunbirds’ experience pulled through in the last quarter, piercing a hole in the Comets relentless spirit to walk away victorious.
The Southern Stings concluded the day’s action with a 42-33 victory over the Flames. The Stings overturned a first quarter six-goal deficit and flipped the script in the second quarter, taking a three-goal lead. The Flames were unable to maintain their defensive prowess and started appearing flustered up front. Stings’ talisman Phumza Maweni sustained an injury in the last quarter, but that didn’t hinder the teams’ momentum, as they continued to keep the scoreboard ticking, extending their lead and eventually securing a nine-goal win after sixty minutes.
Aloes 47-31 Stars
Queens 27-62 Baobabs
Fireballs 48-55 Crinums
Comets 44-55 Sunbirds
Diamonds 46-51 Sonoblomo
Flames 33-42 Stings
Sunday (25/06/2023) Fixtures:
08:00- Flames vs Jaguars
10:00- Diamonds vs Queens
12:00- Comets vs Sonoblomo
14:00- Lilies vs Baobabs
16:00- Crinums vs Stings
18:00- Sunbirds vs Tornados