Defending champions Gauteng North appear set for a third successive title after beating Nelson Mandela Bay 47-36 in the first semi-final at the SPAR National Championships, at the University of Johannesburg on Friday.
Gauteng North were unbeaten in the group stages, and moved serenely into the final stages.
“I think the secret of our success has been playing good solid netball,” said coach Jenny van Dyk. “We have been very consistent throughout the tournament, and I believe that if we carry on this way, we will win tomorrow.”
Although Gauteng North were the team most affected by the withdrawal of the national players for a SPAR Proteas training camp, Van Dyk said one of her team’s strengths was its depth of talent. “For instance, we were able to take a former Protea player, Annemarie Frost, off the bench and bring her into the action, and when you can do that, you are always going to have an advantage,” she said.
Gauteng North went into the lead from the first quarter, and consistently outscored the Eastern Cape side, until the final quarter, when NMB scored 12 goals to Gauteng North’s nine. “I think we just lost our focus a bit in that last quarter, but we will talk about that, and it won’t happen tomorrow,” said Van Dyk.
Gauteng Central coach Elsje Jordaan was thrilled by her team’s achievement. In recent years, Gauteng Central have languished in the nether regions of the A-section, but have been rejuvenated since Jordaan, a sports scientist and former Protea captain, took over.
What makes their transformation even more impressive is that the team includes no students but is made up entirely of working women, who had to take leave to participate in the tournament. “We’ve worked very hard to achieve this,” said Jordaan.
“We’ve been training four times a week for the past three months, and the players have been very motivated by the influence of the Olympic Games. We’ve got a symbolic gold medal, which we touch before every practice and every match.”
Gauteng Central and Dr Kenneth Kaunda were level at the end of the first and second quarters, but Gauteng Central pulled away in the third. “That was part of our strategy,” said Jordaan. “We knew that Kenneth Kaunda always struggles a bit in the third quarter.
“We wanted to wear them down in the first half, and then come back strongly in the third. We started the final quarter 10 goals ahead. It’s very hard to make up the difference when you are so far behind. Kenneth Kaunda came hard at us in the final quarter, and I had a few anxious moments, but I knew we had a big enough lead to win.” Kenneth Kaunda won the last quarter by 12 goals to nine.
Dr Kenneth Kaunda and Nelson Mandela Bay will meet in the third place play-off at 10 o’clock on Saturday morning, with the final between Gauteng North and Gauteng Central played at 11.30.
View You Tube uploads at southafricanetballSPAR National Netball Championships Day 4 Results on 10 August 2012, at the University of Johannesburg, Auckland Park: A Section: Boland 61-33 Gauteng West Freestate Motheo 33-32 Western Province Ekurhuleni 49-40 Amathole Gauteng North 47-36 Nelson Mandela Bay Francis Baard 64-38 Gauteng West Gauteng Central 44-37 Dr Kenneth Kaunda Freestate Motheo 49-39 Ekurhuleni Western Province 47-31 Amathole B Section: Gauteng North 46-23 Zululand Western Province 53-33 Cacadu SWD 56-19 Joe Qgabi Nelson Mandela Bay 39-39 Bojanala Boland 48-32 West Coast Gauteng North 52-22 Buffalo City Umgungundlovu 74-19 Zululand Boland Bizhub 39-38 Gert Sibanda Bafokeng 62-32 Nelson Mandela Bay Gauteng North 59-49 Western Province Umgungundlovu 52-41 Cacadu Vhembe 57-37 Bojanala Western Province 47-39 Nelson Mandela Bay SWD 39-27 West Coast Buffalo City 52-32 Joe Gqabi C Section: Western Province 36-35 Siyanda Waterberg 52-24 DCS Ilembe 46-21 Western Province Ehlanzeni 46-44 Gauteng Vaal Chris Hani 60-31 UGU Central Boland 50-27 Nkangala SANDF 46-45 Waterberg DCS 38-32 Dr Ruth Mompati Western Province 31-21 Bafokeng Ethekwini 46-27 Uthungulu Siyanda 45-32 Gauteng Central OR Tambo 36-19 Sisonke Sekhukhune 34-33 Fezile Dabi Uthukela 37-29 Umzinyathi Alfred Nzo 33-30 NM Molema Ilembe 36-35 Gauteng Vaal Umkhanyakude 51-49 Ehlanzeni Waterberg 44-36 Nkangala A Section Results on Day 4 of the SPAR National Netball Championships, at the University of Johannesburg, Auckland Park (Click here for all Day 4 results): A Section: Gauteng Central 53-47 Frances Baard Boland Bizhub 44-41 Nelson Mandela Bay Gauteng Central 49-37 Western Province Nelson Mandela Bay 45-44 Ekurhuleni Gauteng North 61-38 Amathole Dr Kenneth Kaunda 47-41 Free State Motheo A Section Results on Day 3 of the SPAR National Netball Championships, at the University of Johannesburg in Auckland Park (Click here for all Day 3 results): A Section: Ekurhuleni 53-33 Gauteng West Dr Kenneth 46-32 Boland Bizhub Gauteng North 50-35 Gauteng Central Ekurhuleni 54-25 Amathole Nelson Mandela Bay 43-41 Dr Kenneth Kaunda Gauteng North 67-47 Frances Baard Western Province 40-25 Amathole Freestate Motheo 75-30 Gauteng West A Section Results on Day 2 of the SPAR National Netball Championships, at the University of Johannesburg in Auckland Park (Click here for all Day 2 results): A Section: Gauteng Central 40-36 Dr. Kenneth Kaunda FS Motheo Fundco 59-59 Ekurhuleni Gauteng North 58-42 Boland Bizhub Nelson Mandela Bay 61-45 Frances Baard Amathole 52-34 Gauteng West Free State Motheo Fundco 47-33 Western Province A Section Results on Day 1 of the SPAR National Netball Championships, at the University of Johannesburg, Auckland Park (Click here for all Day 1 results): A Section: Boland Bizhub 51-42 Frances Baard Western Province 56-30 Gauteng West Gauteng North 42-37 Dr. Kenneth Kaunda Gauteng Central 45-41 Nelson Mandela Bay Free State Motheo Fundo 53-28 Amathole Western Province 42-36 Ekurhuleni Dr. Kenneth Kaunda 63-23 Frances Baard Gauteng Central 55-44 Boland Bizhub Gauteng North 51-45 Nelson Mandela Bay