Snow made an unanticipated introduction during on Day 2 of the SPAR National Championships. Seen in action are the Free State Motheo Fundco and Western Province, an encounter won 47-33 by FS Motheo Fundco, 2011 title runners-up. Photo: Reg Caldecott

Heavy flurries of snow disrupted play at the SPAR National Championships at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) on Tuesday, with the organisers deciding at 2.45pm to suspend play for the day.

“There was a heavy flurry of snow in the early afternoon, which left the courts very wet,” said Tournament Director Mami Diale. “It was also very cold and we were concerned about the possibility of injuries. We have asked everyone to report to UJ at seven o’clock tomorrow morning, and we will decide then what to do.

Danelle Willemse (Free State Motheo) in action against Ekurhuleni during day 2 of the SPAR National Netball Championships at University of Johannesburg. Photo: Reg Caldecott“In the meantime, we are looking for indoor venues. The problem is that there are more than 1200 players taking part in the tournament, and most indoor venues can accommodate two matches at the most. So we are just hoping for better weather tomorrow.

“Luckily, we had a lighter programme today, so we only lost three rounds of play,” said Diale.

Last year’s runners-up, Free State Motheo Fundo were playing Western Province (WP) in an A-section Pool 2 match when the snow was at its heaviest. Coach Burta de Kock said the conditions had made play difficult, but she was pleased with the outcome, with Free State beating WP 47-33. “Because of the conditions, we couldn’t really stick to our game plans, and had to adjust them as we went along,” she said.

Free State are without three SPAR Proteas, who have been withdrawn to attend a training camp ahead of the Diamond League against Botswana, Zambia and Malawi next week. “Those three players include our captain and vice captain, which is a big loss,” said De Kock.

“However, this has opened up opportunities for younger players to show us what they can do. I’m very excited about our young goalshooter, Danielle Willemse. She is only 18, but she has been superb. She is as solid as a rock, a very accurate shooter and I think she has a great future.”

In their earlier match, Free State drew 59-all with Ekurhuleni. “I always knew that was going to be a tough match,” said De Kock. “There are some exceptional players in the Ekurhuleni team. But after drawing that match, I knew we would have to come back hard against WP if we were going to advance in the tournament.”

In the only other Pool 2 match of the day, Amathole (formerly Border) beat Gauteng West 52-34, and defending champions Gauteng North continued to show their dominance, beating Boland to remain unbeaten so far, while Gauteng Central beat Dr Kenneth Kaunda (North West South) and Nelson Mandela Bay (Eastern Province) beat Frances Baard (Griqualand West).


SPAR National Netball Championships Day 2 Results, at the University of Johannesburg in Auckland Park:
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
B Section:
Gert Sibande 72-8 Joe Qgabi
West Coast 37-33 Buffalo City
Cacadu 75-11 Lejweleputswa
Bafokeng 46-28 SWD
Bojanala 44-22 Zululand
Western Province 53-37 Vhembe
Gauteng North 48-21 West Coast
C Section:
Ilembe 48-10 DCS
Ehlanzeni 45-31 Gauteng Central
Siyanda 52-25 Alfred Nzo
Western Province 35-15 DCS
Gauteng Vaal 49-22 Gauteng Central
SANDF 57-35 Ehlanzeni
Bafokeng 53-9 Ugu
Sisonke 32-30 Chris Hani
Waterberg 47-22 Sekhukhune
NM Molema 35-35 Fezile Dabi
Central Boland 47-47 OR Tambo
Umkhanyakhude 62-23 Umzinyathi
Siyanda 57-19 DCS
Western Province 38-26 Alfred Nzo
SANDF 44-23 Gauteng Central
Ehlanzeni 53-28 Fezile Dabi
Ethekwini 35-18 Bafokeng
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 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