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Fresh from their nail-biting 32-31 victory over the Southern Stings on Saturday night, the Free State Crinums demolished the Mpumalanga Sunbirds 72-31 in their Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League match at the Ellis Park Indoor Arena on Sunday morning.

The Crinums were eight goals to the good before the Sunbirds were able to get their first goal, five minutes into the match. The Crinums, who were trying to win the match by more than 46 goals so they ended the round robin phase in third place, played their strongest team, with an all-Protea goal attack and goal defence.  The Sunbirds, who are second from the bottom on the log were always going to be on a hiding to nothing, but they played valiantly and never stopped trying.

Crinums goalshooter Rieze Straueli, who was named player of the match, said they were not too disappointed at not finishing third.

“Our first goal was to win, and a 46 goal winning margin would have been a bonus,” she said.

“Fourth place is good enough for us,” she said.

“We’re in the quarterfinals, and we don’t mind who we play to get into the semis.”

The Sunbirds coach, Jenne-Lee Delport, said she was proud her team had got 31 goals past the Protea goal defenders, including South Africa’s number one goal defence, Karla Mostert.

“I think the Crinums would have been disappointed at that,” she said.

“Out biggest problem is a lack of consistency.  We would keep up with the Crinums for five minutes, scoring goal for goal, and the next five minutes we’d lose 7-1.  We were like a watch with a bad battery – stopping and starting,” said Delport.

The Gauteng Jaguars beat the bottom-ranked Limpopo Baobabs by 78 to 32.  With nothing depending on the match, coach Jenny van Dyk used the opportunity to fine-tune some of her strategies ahead of the semifinals next weekend.  She started with a second string, although she played her entire bench during the match.

Although they were heavily beaten, the Baobabs looked much better than a week ago. They managed some turnovers and intercepts and kept the Protea-studded Jaguars on their toes with short, sharp passes.

Coach Cecilia Molokwane said she had brought in a number of new players, who were hungry to play.

“I was pleased that they followed my instructions,” she said.

“They followed the game plan, and they used the short passes very well.”

Jaguars assistant coach Dumisani Chauke said she and Van Dyk had set the teams a number of targets, and they had ticked them all.

“It was a great game.  Our girls had to adapt to the Baobabs’ short passes and I think they did that well.”

The tournament moves to Durban next week for the quarterfinals.