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Invigorated by the return from injury of their inspirational captain, Maryka Holtzhausen, the Free State Crinums recorded their second consecutive win when they beat the Eastern Cape Aloes by 63 goals to 36 in their Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League (BFNPL) match at the UCT Indoor Sports Centre on Sunday.

The Crinums led 32-18 at halftime.

The Free State team have a habit of starting the BFNPL slowly and building up towards the knock out stages. They lost their first three games, but Holtzhausen returned after an eight-month injury lay-off and the Crinums immediately picked up the pace and appear to be on track to the final once again.

Crinums coach Burta de Kock said she was very happy to have Holtzhausen back in the team.

“But of course, we have to try out our combinations including Maryka,” she said.

“Some of the players have not played with her before.”

“I am very excited by the three 18-year-olds I played this weekend – Lefebre Rademan, Luscha Pienaar and Meagan Roux. They all stepped up to the plate and the senior players will know they have to work to keep their places in the team.”

“Our defence is improving every week and I am also very excited that for the first time, I have three shooters who are prepared to shoot from anywhere in the circle,” said De Kock.

Aloes coach Des Neville said she was disappointed by the outcome of the match. “I thought we had a chance of winning this one, but it didn’t work out that way,” she said.

“We need to rethink our approach – things haven’t been working out on the court the way we planned the last two weeks. I think we have to work on our mental attitude as well. Maryka is a big presence on the court, and that might have affected my players as well,” said Neville.

Earlier, the Golden Fireballs tore up the record books in their match against the Northern Cape Diamonds.

Earlier, the Fireballs scored 90 goals and limited the Diamonds to 10 – the lowest number of goals conceded since the tournament started in 2014.

The previous highest number of goals scored 82 was by the North West Flames against the Diamonds in 2016, and the least goals conceded was 14, by the Southern Stings, against the Mpumalanga Sunbirds, in 2014. The goal difference of 80 was also the highest.

The teams appeared to be from different planets. The woeful Diamonds seemed to have lost the ability to catch the ball and the Fireballs stole pass after pass after pass. Fireballs coach Elsje Jordaan used the opportunity to try out different structures and angles.

“There was no point in taking just three moves to get the ball into the circle,” she said.

“We would gain nothing from that.”

“I wanted to run lines and try out different structures. I was very happy with the way our defence limited their goals to 10 – that was a magnificent effort.”

For Diamonds coach Maria Maiya, it was another thumping defeat. She now has to return to Kimberley to try out ways of improving the situation.

“It’s very difficult,” she said.

“We come from a large area and I can’t monitor their training or their leagues to see if they are following our training programmes. “In their hearts, they want to be better, and they never give up trying.”

The BFPNL moves to the Bellville Velodrome next weekend.