Eastern Cape Aloes Defend Division Two Champs Title

The Eastern Cape Aloes successfully defend their Telkom Netball League Division Two championship title, beating the Western Cape Tornados in Rustenburg on Saturday, 16 October 2021. Photo: Netball SA (Twitter)

The Eastern Cape Aloes successfully defended their Telkom Netball League Division Two championship title, beating the Western Cape Tornados in Rustenburg on Saturday, 16 October 2021.

The two teams met for the sixth time in today’s division two final. Coming into this match, Aloes had won three times and Tornados twice in their previous encounters.

Tornados finished top of the log and beat Sunbirds to book their spot in the final, while Aloes eased past Baobabs in the semi-finals.

It was a competitive start for both sides, but it was Aloes’ defensive structure that got them over the line. Aloes led by two goals at half-time and were ruthless, punishing Tornados’ errors which saw them pull away and extend their lead in the third quarter.

Tornados struggled to pierce Aloes’ wall of pressure in the defensive third and the Eastern Cape side held on to their lead until the final whistle. Aloes will now gear up for Sunday’s promotion/relegation match against Flames.

Meanwhile, a close encounter between Mpumalanga Sunbirds and Limpopo Baobabs went down to the wire as both teams were fighting for a third-place finish.

Baobabs had the upper hand in the first half, leading 11-8 and 21-20 in the first and second quarter respectively. Sunbirds started applying more pressure, forcing Baobabs to make errors and then dominated all thirds and led by two goals in the third quarter. There was little drive from Baobabs’ attacking side which didn’t make life any easier for them and Sunbirds managed to maintain their narrow lead in the dying minutes of the game and won 42-41.

In division one, Kingdom Stars stunned Free State Crinums in the 3rd/4th playoff match to finish third following their 45-40 win.

Stars were the underdogs after losing all their round robin games in 2020 but retained their spot in the division after winning last year’s promotion/relegation match.

Stars’ defensive duo of Danelle Van Der Linde and Jeante Strydom had a field day in Crinums’ shooting circle, scooping intercepts, and shutting down the shooter’s movements.

Their efforts were rewarded by Stars Goal Shooter, Nomfundo Mngomezulu who boasted a ninety seven percent goal average which earned her the player of the match accolade. Crinums attempted to stage a comeback, but time wasn’t on their side.

“I prefer going in as the underdog in a game like this. I have to give credit to the bench, there were times when I thought I should make changes, but they just kept me calm. I’m extremely proud of these girls, they are such hardworkers and they deserve this,” an emotional Stars coach, Marguerite Rootman said.

Rootman also reflected on her teams’ journey, “In a way it was hard for them, they suddenly had a new coach, and we didn’t have much time to train. They had a coach with different ideas. If you look at netball in KZN, it’s all about passing the ball to each other, there is no structure, so they suddenly had to adapt to playing with structure.”

 

Photo 1 Caption: The Eastern Cape Aloes successfully defend their Telkom Netball League Division Two championship title, beating the Western Cape Tornados in Rustenburg on Saturday, 16 October 2021. Photo: Netball SA (Twitter)

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