Mangaung Metro threw the SPAR national netball championships wide open on Wednesday with a comprehensive 46-35 win over tournament favourites Tshwane at Young Park.
The Free State team got off to a flying start and were 14-4 ahead after the first quarter. Tshwane fought back in the second quarter, which they won by 11 goals to seven, but the damage had been done and they were unable to catch up. Mangaung led 33-23 after the third quarter and although Tshwane lost the final quarter by just one goal (13-12) it was too little too late.
The Mangaung goalkeeper and goal attack, Ane Retief and Tanya Mostert did an outstanding job in keeping Tshwane goal shooter Ina-Mari Venter on the back foot. The lanky shooter was obviously rattled and struggled to get the ball in the net.
“We were very disappointed when we lost to Dr Kenneth Kaunda yesterday,” said Mangaung coach Burta de Kock.
“But the players picked themselves up after that, stuck to the game plan, and it worked,” she said.
“It’s been a glory moment, but it’s over, and we have to focus on the remaining games.”
“We didn’t see it coming,” said a rueful Tshwane coach Jenny van Dyk.
“Give credit where it’s due, Mangaung came out all guns blazing and they played extremely well. The damage was done in the first quarter,” she said.
“I think we may have been a bit complacent after some very big victories, but I should have planned better for this match.”
Tshwane’s defeat was good news for rivals Dr Kenneth Kaunda (Potchefstroom) and Cape Winelands, who are still unbeaten. Cape Winelands had a hard fought victory over neighbours Cape Town, beating them 47-42. They achieved a runaway victory over Bojanala (Rustenburg) in their early match, beating them 90-2. Dr Kenneth Kaunda overwhelmed Sarah Baartman (South Eastern Cape) 109-7 and Nkangala 86-14.
“This opens up the tournament,” said a delighted Dr Kenneth Kaunda coach, Elsje Jordaan.
“Anything can happen now.”
In other matches played on Wednesday, Tshwane beat Nkangala 91-16, Cape Town beat Gert Sibande (Ermelo) 73-33, and Nelson Mandela Bay beat Bojanala 52-35. Gert Sibande registered their first points when they beat Ehlanzeni (Nelspruit) 56-27.
Ehlanzeni and Sarah Baartman have not won any matches so far.