Johannesburg, South Africa - 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.
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.”
Last year’s runners-up, Free State Motheo 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Free State are without three SPAR Proteas, who have been withdrawn to attend a training camp ahead of the Diamond League against Botswana, Zambia and Malawi next week.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. Defending champions Gauteng North continued to show their dominance, beating Boland 58-42, to remain unbeaten so far. Gauteng Central beat Dr Kenneth Kaunda (North West South) 40-36, and Nelson Mandela Bay (Eastern Province) beat Frances Baard (Griqualand West) 61-45.