Defending champions Tshwane will meet Mangaung Metro in the final of the SPAR national netball championships on Saturday morning.

The battle for places in the final came down to a thrilling three-horse race with Dr Kenneth Kaunda (North West) the unlucky losers.

The three teams finished the round robin section on 16 points each and the finalists were decided on goal averages. Dr Kenneth Kaunda beat Cape Town 83-39 in their final match but lost out to Tshwane by 0.07 of a point on goal average.

 

Dr Kenneth Kaunda will meet Cape Winelands in the playoff for third place early on Saturday.

“We conceded probably three too many goals,” lamented coach Elsje Jordaan.

“It’s tough that there are no semifinals. Now we have to play a team that finished four points behind us on the log for third place. But that’s the format and that’s the way it is.”

Initially, the A-section was to have been divided into two pools, with semifinals and a final. However, after the withdrawal of two teams, it was decided that the matches should be played on a round robin basis, with each team playing each other. The congested schedule meant that teams often had to play three matches a day.

Despite her disappointment, Jordaan said she fully supported the tournament being played on a district rather than provincial basis.

“The provincial system meant that it was the Brutal Fruit (Netball Premier League) played in a week, which did nothing to expand the game,” she said.

“But in future there must be rankings and there must be semifinals.”

 

Mangaung played two matches on Friday, racking up 106 goals to 20 against Bojanala (Rustenburg) and beating Nelson Mandela Bay 63-34.

“We knew it was now or never and that we had to chase goals,” said Mangaung coach Burta de Kock.

“I am very proud of the team. You need a lot of mental toughness when you play 10 matches in a week, and they have responded very well.”

Mangaung beat Tshwane in their round robin match, but De Kock said she expected a very tough match.

“They will be making their plans and plotting how to beat us,” she said.

“I will tell the players to be brave and to keep ball in hand.”

 

In other matches played on Friday, Tshwane squeaked home against Cape Winelands by 28 goals to 27 in a tense match in wet and windy conditions. Cape Town beat Nkangala (Middelburg) 79-12, and Cape Winelands beat Ehlanzeni (Nelspruit) 72-18.

Welcome rain fell in drought-stricken Port Elizabeth on Friday and with more rain forecast for Saturday, the final matches will be played at an indoor venue on Saturday.

DAY 5 RESULTS

ROUND 1

Section Senior A

Cape Winelands 27 vs Tshwane 28, NM Bay vs Sarah Baartman, Nkangala 12 vs Cape town 79, Mangaung Metro 106 vs Bojanala 20

Section Senior B4

Vhembe 10 vs Ethekwini B1 57

Section U21 A1

Nkangala 21 vs Cape town 55, Tshwane 64 vs Gert Sibande 55

Section Senior B2

Capricorn 36 vs Mopani 27

Section Senior B3

Zululand 58 vs Central Karoo 8

ROUND 2

Section Senior B3

Overberg 23 vs France Baard 50, NM Bay b2 37 vs Harry Gwala 33

Section B2

Chris Hani 26 vs Harry Gwala 34

Section U21 A2

NM Bay 59 vs Ekurhuleni 44, Harry Gwala 45 vs Ehlanzeni 33, Dr kk 31 vs Cape winelands 51

Section U21 A1

Sarah Baartman 22 vs Amajuba 33

ROUND 3 (Play-offs)

Buffalo City 31 vs Ethekwini 18, Amajuba 33 vs Capricorns 27, Alfred Nzo 47 vs Amathole 18, Joe Gqabi vs Chris Hani(points to Chris Hani, Joe Gqabi didn’t pitch)

ROUND 4

Section Senior B3

Zululand 29 vs Overberg 40

Section Senior B4

West Coast 22 vs Ethekwini B1 62, Ethekwini 48 vs John TG 22, Alfred Nzo 56 vs Joe Gqabi 12

Section Senior B2

Capricorn 47 vs SANDF 31

ROUND 5

Section Senior A

Dr KK 83 vs Cape 39, Ehlanzeni 18 vs Cape Winelands 79, Sarah Baartman vs Gert Sibande, Mangaung Metro 62 vs NM Bay 34

Section U21 Play Offs

Cape town 44 vs Dr KK 42, Sarah Baartman 23 vs Ekurhuleni 65, Gert Sibande 25 vs Harry Gwala 57, Nkangala 22 vs Ekurhuleni 53