Decisive victories in their opening matches saw 2013 finalists Mangaung and Gauteng North getting their 2014 SPAR National Netball Championship campaigns off to a good start, at the Bellville Velodrome on Monday.
Defending champions Mangaung (formerly Free State) beat Frances Baard (formerly Griqualand West) 61-32, despite being without their three Proteas, Maryke Holtzhausen, Karla Mostert and Adele Niemand. Coach Burta de Kock said the absence of the three top players would give younger players a chance to shine and enable the team to develop its strength.
Gauteng North are without only one Protea, veteran goal-shooter Chrisna van Zyl, and they romped home 48-31 against hosts Western Province. The Gauteng North side, which includes a number of current and former Proteas, has a wealth of top players, giving coach Jenny van Dyk the enviable task of having to decide who to leave out rather than who to play.
“We have a good balance of experience and younger, very energetic players,” said Van Dyk.
“The senior players know there are up-and-coming players breathing down their necks, so there’s healthy competition, but I’m also pleased to see the way the seniors are communicating and helping the younger players, who really love learning from them.”
Gauteng North dominated the game from start to finish. They were four goals ahead after the first quarter, and stretched their lead to seven goals at half-time. By the end of the third quarter, they were 11 goals ahead and in the final quarter, they outscored the hosts by 14 goals to eight.
“Our goal is to be consistent throughout the tournament. Last year, we played very well until the final, and then we fell apart in the second half. We realized then that we needed mental strength, so we have been working on that, and we are determined it won’t happen again,” said Van Dyk.
In other matches played on Monday, Frances Baard and Buffalo City (Border) drew 48-all, Nelson Mandela Bay beat Gauteng West 41-21, Dr Kenneth Kaunda (North West South) beat Boland 54-44 and Umgungundlovu thrashed Buffalo City 74-20.
The 2014 championships was opened in fine style by the Western Cape Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Professor Norma-French Mbombo. Minister Mbombo, who welcomed the 929 players and officials from 41 regions to Cape Town, and said that the tournament was the largest women’s interprovincial played in the country by any sporting code, and was specifically significant as it was played in Women’s Month.
Results from Day One of the SPAR National Netball Championships played at the Velodrome Bellville on Monday, 11 August 2014: A Section: Frances Baard 48 Buffalo City 48 Nelson Mandela Bay 41 Gauteng West 21 Mangaung Metro 61 Frances Baard 32 Gauteng North A 48 Western Province 31 Dr Kenneth Kaunda 54 Boland A 44 Umgungundlovu 46 Buffalo City 35 B Section: West Coast A 41 Vhembe 24 Nkangala 35 Gert Sibande 39 Boland B 38 Royal Bafokeng 32 Gauteng North B 73 Ilembe 14 Eden 70 Capricorn 26 Western Province B 41 Zululand 30 Nkangala 55 Central Boland 45 West Coast A 50 Bojanala 27 C Section: NM Molema 27 SAPS 50 OR Tambo 51 UGU 14 Ethekwini 56 Waterberg 32 Ehlanzeni 38 OR Tambo 34 Ethekwini 49 Siyanda 20 Amajuba 26 SAPS 48 Boland 27 Gert Sibande 23 Waterberg 74 UGU 20 Uthungulu 40 NM Molema 21 SANDF 47 Alfred Nzo 23
Photo 1 caption: The 2014 SPAR National Netball Championships logo
Photo 2 caption: Melissa Myburgh of Gauteng North (Left) and Phumza Maweni of Western Province compete for the ball during day 1 of the SPAR National Netball Championships at the Bellville Velodrome on August 11, 2014 in Cape Town. Photo: Reg Caldecott
Photo 3 caption: Zaandre Theron of Western Province in action against Gauteng North. The highveld outfit registered a comprehensive 48-31 win over the home team. Photo: Reg Caldecott
Photo 4 caption: Opening the 2014 SPAR National Netball Championships are from L-R; Western Cape Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Professor Norma-French Mbombo and Mimi Mthethwa, President of Netball. Photo: Reg Caldecott
(With editing by gsport)