According to Netball South Africa (NSA) Executive, Professor Chipeya, coach to the side, called one of the organisers last night at around 19h20 stating without reason that his team would not be coming to the tournament. Bennie Saayman, Director Coaching NSA, said, “This was surprising, and we didn’t see it coming as the team had already registered and Gauteng Central’s B and men’s teams are here.”
Gauteng Central A were scheduled to play defending champions Gauteng North A in the opening match of the week-long tournament being held at the Bellville Velodrome, at 8.45am on Monday morning.
“We were very disappointed to hear about this” said Elize Kotze, coach of Gauteng North A team. “We were looking forward to a tough match.”
“We were offered to play a B-side in place of Gauteng Central, but I don’t think that it would be fair. The SPAR National Netball Champs is an elite tournament, and participation in this tournament is a privilege. Teams register in the sections according to their capabilities.”
The women’s A section consisted of 10 teams, divided into two pools of five. All teams in Pool 1 will be given a walkover, earning a maximum two points, for their games originally scheduled against Gauteng Central.
In match action of day one, it was the Free State Motheo team, led by SPAR Proteas assistant coach Burta de Kock, that outshone the other teams with an overwhelming 63-20 victory over Gauteng West.
Playing as the Lightning Roses, the girls from Bloemfontein won the inaugural Netball Grand Series (NGS) on Saturday and were determined to carry forward their winning momentum. They were runners-up at the national championships last year, losing 38-21 in the final to Gauteng North.
“We want to take our win from the NGS forward with us and let it carry us through to the end,” Niemand said as she came off the court. “I was very impressed with the girls. Free State always struggles with depth, but this time we mean business.”
Niemand said she saw Gauteng North as their biggest threat but each game was a challenge and would be difficult. “But we are going in to every game focused for a win,” she said.
In an earlier match, Western Province beat Griqualand West 46-33 after being a goal down at the end of the first quarter. They held a narrow lead at half-time, scoring 17 goals to Gauteng West’s 15, and steadily increased their lead as the match progressed.
The Griquas, who were without their star player Claudia Basson, made two changes to their side in the last quarter but, if anything, it made things worse as Province ran away with the game.
In the last Section A match of the day, Boland beat Kenneth Kaunda from Potchefstroom by 43 goals to 31.
Day 1 Results at the 2011 SPAR National Netball Championships, at the Bellville Velodrome in Cape Town, on Monday, 8 August 2011:
Women’s Section A:Western Province bt Griqualand West 46 / 33 FS Motheo bt Gauteng West 63 / 20 Boland bt Kenneth Kaunda 43 / 31 Gauteng North walkover v Gauteng Central Nelson Mandela Bay walkover v Gauteng Central
Note: The match scheduled between Ekurhuleni and Boland will be played on Thursday.
Women’s Section B:SWD walkover v Lejweleputswa WP bt Royal Bafokeng 59 / 20 Umgungundlovu bt Boland. Bizhub 49 / 31 Amathole bt Zululand 74 / 8 Gauteng North bt Dr Ruth Mompati 62 / 9 NM Bay walkover v Khembe Gauteng North bt Capricorn 32 / 30 Royal Bafokeng walkover v Lejweleputswa Umgungundlovu bt Dr Ruth Mompati 82 / 5 WP bt Zululand 63 / 14 Boland bt NM Bay 43 / 31
Women’s Section C:Cacadu bt Uthungulu 52 / 50 Alfred Nzo walkover v Mopani Gert Sibanda bt Gauteng Central 48 / 18 West Coast bt Amajuba 59 / 13 Ilembe bt Griqualand West 56 / 27 Umkhanyakude bt OR Tambo 32 / 28 Umzinyathi walkover v KZN Ukhahlamba Bonjanala bt Central Boland 44 / 27 WP bt Enhlanzeni 48 / 27 Waterberg bt NM Molema 57 / 16 Ethekwini bt Sekhukhune 25/21 Nkangala bt Uthungulu 45 / 25 Cacadu bt Gauteng Central 43 / 39 Gert Sibanda bt Alfred Nzo 37 / 15 West Coast bt Umzinyathi 49 / 16 Bonjala bt Umkhanyakude 45 / 32