Johannesburg have assumed top-of-the-log status after advancing through an exhilarating round robin at the end of Day 4 of the 2023 SPAR National Netball Championships being contested at Hoërskool Rustenburg, North West, South Africa, on Thursday 5 October, 2023,
An Almost Unblemished Journey
The tournament’s defending champions’ journey saw a minor hiccup with a 49-all draw against Mangaung on Tuesday, a game where they valiantly overcame a five-goal deficit in the concluding minutes.
This draw, however, didn’t deter their spirit as they bounced back on the fourth day with a decisive 66-43 victory over Nelson Mandela Bay, having led 37-22 at halftime. Later the same day, Johannesburg outperformed last year’s runners-up, Tshwane, with a score of 55-36 after leading 28-19 at halftime.
“Derbies between Johannesburg and Tshwane are always special,” said captain Monique Reyneke-Meyer.
“Both sides are always determined to put on a good show and give their all. We don’t underestimate any team and we give each team the respect they deserve.”Johannesburg captain Monique Reyneke-Meyer
Reyneke-Meyer expressed satisfaction with the team’s performance and synergy, despite limited preparation time.
“We didn’t have much time before the tournament to work together, and there are some new players in the squad, but we have got to know each other as the tournament went on,” she added.
The Road Ahead
Meyer anticipates a tough match against Cape Winelands on Friday.
“Everyone wants to be in the final and we don’t expect them just to give us the match,” she remarked, showcasing a blend of humility and resolve as Johannesburg steels itself for the upcoming challenge.
Meanwhile, Mangaung’s path to the semifinals was laden with a blend of triumph and tribulation. They drew against Johannesburg, faced defeat against Dr Kenneth Kaunda, but rallied to defeat Tshwane 54-53 and Buffalo City 54-20.
Dr Kenneth Kaunda also carved their path to the semifinals with impressive victories, securing their position with wins over Nelson Mandela Bay (69-36) and Cape Winelands (56-50).
The fight for the fourth semifinal spot saw Tshwane and Cape Winelands in a fierce competition. The latter clinched the spot with a superior goal average, a fact that thrilled Winelands coach Nicolene Martin.
“This is what we were aiming for,” she said. “I was pleased to go into our final match knowing the pressure was off. What has delighted me is the growth of the team over the week…”Cape Winelands coach Nicolene Martin
“Our match against Johannesburg tomorrow is going to be a tough one but I will tell the girls that if they support each other and defend for the full 60 minutes, they can do it,” added Martin, projecting a blend of optimism and realistic anticipation.
Catch The Semifinal Action
The semifinals are set for a thrilling showdown with Cape Winelands facing Johannesburg at 10h45 and Mangaung taking on Dr Kenneth Kaunda at noon on Friday.
Fans can grab tickets at the venue with prices set at R20 for adults and R10 for children or tune in to SuperSport Variety 4/Channel 209 for live action from 2-7 October.
Headline Photo Caption: Monica Gomases of Johannesburg in action against Tshwane during day 4 of the 2023 SPAR National Netball Championships. Johannesburg beat Tshwane 55-36 played on Thursday, 5 October 2023 at the Hoërskool Rustenburg in North West Province. Picture Credit: Reg Caldecott
Photo 2 Caption: Dr Kenneth Kaunda vs Cape Winelands players fight for the ball during day 4 of the 2023 SPAR National Netball Championships. Dr Kenneth Kaunda beat Cape Winelands 56-50. Picture Credit: Reg Caldecott
Photo 3 Caption: Alice Kennon of Tshwane shoots for goal during day 4 of the 2023 SPAR National Netball Championships. Tshwane beat Buffalo City 73-29. Picture Credit: Reg Caldecott
Photo 4 Caption: Caroline Paul of Tshwane in action against Cape Town during day 4 of the 2023 SPAR National Netball Championships.
Photo 5 Caption: Sian Moore of Cape Winelands in action against Cape Town during day 4 of the 2023 SPAR National Netball Championships. Cape Winelands beat Cape Town 62-39. Picture Credit: Reg Caldecott