On a day when all the results went as predicted, the North West Flames put on a clinical performance to beat the Kingdom Stars 55-37 in their Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League match at the Bellville Velodrome on Saturday.
The Flames led from start to finish, although the Stars put up a good show of resistance. The Stars performed best in the final quarter, when they scored 10 goals to 12 for the Flames.
Flames coach Dorette Badenhorst used the opportunity to experiment and said that some combinations had worked better than others.
“I was particularly pleased with the defensive combination of Zandre Erasmus at goalkeeper, with Simone Rabie on goal attack and Chante Bester at wing attack.
“But it has been a long day – we left Potchefstroom early this morning to get to the airport, and had to come straight to the venue, so I am very satisfied with the outcome,” she said.
Goal attack Renske Stoltz won her second player of the match award. She has had an outstanding tournament so far, with most coaches having to focus on closing her down.
Madri Maritz, coach of the Stars, said that although they had not won, she believed the team was really beginning to pull together.
“Our combinations are starting to work nicely and the players are fighting hard for each other,” said Maritz.
The Jaguars followed up their narrow victory over the Southern Stings on Friday night with a thumping 64-38 win over the Eastern Cape Aloes.
The Aloes started with a bang and the first quarter ended with the sides level on 14-all, but they seemed to lose momentum after that as the Jaguars stepped up the pressure. At halftime, the Gauteng side were 31-20 ahead. Coach Jenny van Dyk tried a number of different combinations and experimented with positions, for instance, putting goalshooter Ina-Marie Venter at goal attack to Chrisna van Zyl’s goalshooter.
“I wasn’t surprised that we were level after the first quarter,” she said.
“The Aloes always have a good first quarter, but they can’t always maintain it.”
Des Neville, the Aloes coach, said she was pleased with the way the team had started.
“We had flashes of very good play, but we have to learn to maintain them for four quarters.
“I was very pleased with Qumisa Jonas, who had a very good game as goalshooter.”
Earlier, the Stings recovered from their agonising 46-42 defeat by the Jaguars to completely overpower the Northern Cape Diamonds, 73-17, on Saturday.
The Diamonds fared best in the second quarter when they scored eight goals, but they looked better than they had a week ago, when the Golden Fireballs beat them by a record 80 goals. The Stings started off looking a bit flat, but picked up as the match progressed.
“It was a good chance after last night’s disappointment to let the girls focus,” said Stings coach Annelie Lucas.
“I tried out two different shooting combinations and was very happy with both of them.
Diamonds coach Maria Maiya thought her team had played better than a week ago.
“Especially in the last two quarters, we were more focused and I was proud of the way they played.
“My big problem is a lack of a reliable shooter – my best shooter is injured and so we had a bit of a battle. We also need to work on our centre court play. But we are building a team and that takes time,” said Maiya,
After their record-break match last Sunday, the Fireballs had a tougher match against the Mpumalanga Sunbirds, beating them 62-38. Although it was a drubbing, the Sunbirds fought hard.
They started strongly and kept pace with the Fireballs until just before the end of the first quarter, when the Gauteng team started pulling away. They were four goals ahead at the end of the first quarter, but by halftime they led 30-23 and extended their lead with each quarter.
“I think it was a question of fitness,” said Sunbirds coach Marlie Nel.
“They were very down after losing heavily to the North West Flames last week, but they were determined to show that they are no pushover. So they started very strongly, but I think they lost focus as they tired.”
Fireballs coach Elsje Jordaan said she was pleased her team had had to work for their win.
“I think they were a bit complacent after last week, so when the Sunbirds came at them so hard, they were a bit taken aback. But that’s a good thing.”
The Free State Crinums take on the Sunbirds at 1030 on Sunday morning, followed by the match between the Aloes and the Diamonds.