Defending champions Tshwane romped to a comprehensive 47-34 victory over Mangaung Metro in the final of the SPAR national netball championships at the Missionvale Sports Arena on Saturday.
It was coach Jenny van Dyk’s sixth tournament win since the national championships in Durban last year.
Mangaung surprised Tshwane during the round robin phase of the tournament, beating them 46-35, and the Pretoria side showed early on that they were not going to allow that to happen again.
They were three goals ahead after the first quarter, and increased their lead with every successive quarter. By halftime they were 25-17 ahead, and they stepped up another gear in the second half, to lead 38-24 at the third interval.
Mangaung fought back hard in the final quarter, which they won narrowly, 10-9, but it was too little too late.
The Tshwane defenders, Jasmine Ziegelmeier and Shadine van der Merwe, were superb in the circle, turning the ball with thrilling intercepts and winning numerous rebounds. At the other end, Ine-Mari Venter was on song, succeeding with most of her attempts at goal as did her goal attack, Chantelle Swart.
The match, which was moved to the indoor venue because of rain in Port Elizabeth, was fast and exciting. Tshwane centre Marelize de Bruyn, did a good job of getting the ball to the circle and was well supported by wing defence Shangile Hlongwane and wing attack Lungile Mthembu.
Tshwane did more with their turnover ball than the young Mangaung team and that was the main difference between the two teams.
“I spent a lot of time last night going over the footage from the USSA (University Sports South Africa) final last week,” said Van Dyk. “We knew what kind of attack they wanted to play, and we played to our strengths rather than theirs.
“We started better than we did in the round robin match, and we also had a better warm-up this time,” the coach said.
Van Dyk said the team would to use the prize money from the Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League to travel to New Zealand for the international Super Club competition.
“We leave there on August 24th and we play our first Varsity Cup match on the 26th,” she said. “But it is important to go to the Super Club, because we learnt so much last year about where we need to be.”
Dr Kenneth Kaunda (Potchefstroom), who missed out on a final berth by 0.07 of a point on goal average, finished third.
Tshwane also won the Under-21 title, beating Cape Winelands 55-47.
U21 NM Bay 45-42 U21 Mangaung Metro
U21 Tshwane 55-47 Cape Winelands
Mangaung Metro 34-47 Tshwane
U21 Zululand 41-51 vs Tshwane
U21 49-35 vs Dr Kenneth Kaunda
Photo 1 caption: The triumphant Tshwane team after they defeated Mangaung Metro during the final day of the Spar national netball championships at Lotto Young Park on July 14, 2018 in Port Elizabeth. Photo: Reg Caldecott
Photo 2 caption: The triumphant Tshwane squad smile with their winning team member awards in Port Elizabeth on July 14, 2018. Photo: Reg Caldecott
Photo 3 caption: Ine-Mari Venter of Tshwane (l) and Ane Retief of Mangaung Metro in action in the senior final, at Lotto Young Park in Port Elizabeth on July 14, 2018. Photo: Reg Caldecott
With editing by gsport