Gauteng North got the defence of their title off to a good start with victories in both their matches on the opening day of the SPAR National Netball Championships at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) on Monday.
In their first match, a depleted Gauteng North beat Dr Kenneth Kaunda (North West South) 42-37, after leading 19-16 at half-time. In their second match of the day, they beat Nelson Mandela Bay 51-45 in a hard-fought match, which saw some outstanding intercepts and excellent play by both teams.
The defending champions, with six players in the national team, are the team most affected by the absence of the SPAR Proteas, who are attending a training camp at the UJ campus in preparation for the Diamond League against Malawi, Botswana and Zambia next week, and have called up members of their Under-21 team to fill in the gaps.
Eleven teams have been included in the A-section, which has been divided into two pools, with the top two teams in each pool going through to the semifinals on Friday. The final will be played at midday on Saturday.
In other Pool 1 matches played on Monday, Gauteng Central achieved a narrow 45-41 victory over Nelson Mandela Bay, after leading 25-29 at halftime; Boland beat Frances Baard 51-42 and Dr Kenneth Kaunda thrashed Frances Baard 63-23.
In the pool 2 matches, Western Province (WP) coasted to a 56-30 win over Gauteng West in the morning, before beating Ekurhuleni 42-36 in their later match and last year’s runners-up, Free State Motheo easily beat Amathole 53-28.
Day 1 SPAR National Championships Results at the University of Johannesburg, Auckland Park: A Section: Boland Bizhub bt Frances Baard 51-42 Western Province bt Gauteng West 56-30 Gauteng North bt Dr. Kenneth Kaunda 42-37 Gauteng Central bt Nelson Mandela Bay 45-41 Free State Motheo Fundo bt Amathole 53-28 Western Province bt Ekurhuleni 42-36 Dr. Kenneth Kaunda bt Frances Baard 63-23 Gauteng Central bt Boland Bizhub 55-44 Gauteng North bt Nelson Mandela Bay 51-45 B Section: Western Province bt SWD 64-27 Umgungundlovu drew Gauteng North 33-33 Bafokeng bt Vhembe 40-38 Gert Sibande bt Lejweleputswa 44-3 Cacadu bt Joe Qgabi 56-28 West Coast bt Zululand 31-17 Bojanala bt Buffalo City 49-32 Bafokeng bt Western Province 36-35 Vhembe bt SWD 40-29 Gauteng North 48-33 Nelson Mandela Bay Boland Bizhub 33-24 Umgungundlovu C Section*: Central Boland w/o Ethekwini OR Tambo bt Uthukela 53-26 Nkangala w/o Umkhanyakude Western Province drew Waterberg 30-30 Ilembe bt Sekhukhune 50-25 Ehlanzeni bt NM Molema 45-38 Dr Ruth Mompati w/o Fezile Dabi Uthungulu bt Umzinyathi 55-17 Alfred Nzo bt Sekhukhune 44-38 OR Tambo bt Bafokeng 35-22 Waterberg bt Siyanda 38-33 Umkhanyakude bt Sisonke 46-15 Uthungulu bt Chris Hani 67-25 Dr Gauteng Vaal 55-9 Dr Ruth Mompati SANDF 44-24 Fezile Dabi