Sonoblomo Fend Off Diamonds in a Defensive Showdown

Sonoblomo have had a great start to the final Power Week of the Telkom Netball League after being victorious on Friday and Saturday against the Diamonds at Heartfelt Arena in Pretoria.

Only three goals separated both teams in favor of the Free State side, in a tightly contested first quarter. The defensive battle continued in the second quarter, but it was Sonoblomo who dictated the majority of the action, turning a couple of balls in the Diamonds goal third. The Diamonds, on the other hand, were plagued with poor ball placement due to the lack of drives and had given away fourteen balls in total at half-time.

The physicality of the game intensified in the third quarter, with players putting their bodies on the line. The Diamonds had a shift in momentum, but practiced good patience at the same time, and won the quarter 14-11, but still had to overturn a five-goal deficit in the last quarter. The first five minutes of the fourth quarter were goal for goal until the Sonoblomo committed two unforced errors, which allowed the Diamonds to decrease the margin to just two goals.

Sonoblomo coach Gertriana Schoonraad called a crucial strategic stoppage time to disrupt the Diamonds’ rhythm. Schoonraad told her team that they can’t afford to capitulate in the latter stages of the game and that they need to shut out all the noise coming from the supporters who were backing the Northern Cape side. This elicited some newfound confidence from Goal Shooter Bianca Pienaar, who thrived and took charge in the shooting circle, finishing on a ninety goal percentage after converting thirty seven of the forty one attempts and was named the Player of the Match as Sonoblomo defeated the Diamonds 51-46 in the end.

In the other Division Two game, the Mpumalanga Sunbirds seized control of the game from the outset and led every single quarter, defeating the Comets 55-44. The Sunbirds opted for a calmer approach and were patient on attack, leaving little room for errors and gained a five goal advantage in the first quarter.

A back-and-forth second quarter saw both teams fighting for control and the Comets started regaining their composure and confidence. Two defensive changes and a mid-court change in the third quarter paid dividends for the Comets, winning the quarter 13-11 due to their smothering pressure. Sunbirds’ experience pulled through in the last quarter, piercing a hole in the Comets relentless spirit to walk away victorious.

The Southern Stings concluded the day’s action with a 42-33 victory over the Flames. The Stings overturned a first quarter six-goal deficit and flipped the script in the second quarter, taking a three-goal lead. The Flames were unable to maintain their defensive prowess and started appearing flustered up front. Stings’ talisman Phumza Maweni sustained an injury in the last quarter, but that didn’t hinder the teams’ momentum, as they continued to keep the scoreboard ticking, extending their lead and eventually securing a nine-goal win after sixty minutes.

Results: Telkom Netball League on Saturday, 24 June 2023

Aloes 47-31 Stars

Queens 27-62 Baobabs

Fireballs 48-55 Crinums

Comets 44-55 Sunbirds

Diamonds 46-51 Sonoblomo

Flames 33-42 Stings

Fixtures: Telkom Netball League on Sunday, 25 June 2023

08:00- Flames vs Jaguars

10:00- Diamonds vs Queens

12:00- Comets vs Sonoblomo

14:00- Lilies vs Baobabs

16:00- Crinums vs Stings

18:00- Sunbirds vs Tornados

With editing by gsport

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