The much-anticipated ‘grudge match’ between the Kingdom Stars and the Limpopo Baobabs was something of a damp squib as the Stars overpowered the Baobabs in their playoff for seventh place in the Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League at the Mangaung Indoor Sports Arena on Sunday.
The teams drew their round robin match 43-all, but the Stars showed from the start that that would not happen again. They took the lead early on, and maintained the pressure throughout. The Baobabs shared the second quarter, 12 goals each, but were unable to repeat that. The Stars led 27-22 at halftime.
In the final quarter, Baobabs coach Dumisani Chauke threw caution to the wind, and made wholesale changes, bringing on her younger players. The Stars took advantage of this, and won the quarter 17-9.
“We were chasing the whole game, and at the start of the final quarter, I decided to give everyone a chance,” said Chauke.
“I wanted to give the younger players a taste of playing in an important match.”
She said she was happy with the overall performance of the Baobabs throughout the tournament.
“Our goal was to improve our position by one, but we improved it by two,” she said.
“We are rewriting the Baobabs’ story, match by match, quarter by quarter.”
Madrilien Maritz, the Stars coach, said the difference between the round robin match and the playoff was the team spirit that had developed as the tournament continued.
“Also, our goalshooters, Elsunet du Plessis and Nonhlanhla Shezi, were both on song and had a great game together,” she said.
“It’s disappointing that we have dropped from fifth place to seventh, which is why we will start preparing for next year in two weeks time.”