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The Heartfelt Arena in Pretoria became the hot box as netball supporters awaited the highly anticipated division two final between the Eastern Cape Aloes and the Mpumalanga Sunbirds. Elizna van den Berg got proceedings underway and it was the Aloes who quickly grabbed control of the game as the Aloes opened with a 12-9 quarter before leading by four goals at half-time. The arm-wrestle continued in the third quarter with Sunbirds defensive duo of Palesa Mbukwana and Tumelo Nkoe working tirelessly for the defensive rebounds to cut down the gap to just three goals. Aloes’ Goal Attack- Zandre Smit’s long-range shots which consisted of twenty-six goals sealed the deal in the final quarter to beat the Sunbirds 48-43.

This was the third meeting between the two sides in this campaign and the Aloes have been victorious in all three occasions. It’s been a successful edition for the Eastern Cape side who were unbeaten in all fourteen matches to defend their title. Mothira Mohammed, Siyamthanda Dingiswayo, Mitha Sinxo and Mihlali Mgweba all made their debuts for the side but certainly handled the stage very well. Coach- Sameshia Esau has now led the Aloes to their third consecutive trophy and the team will now shift their focus to tomorrow’s promotion/relegation match against the Kingdom Stars who finished last in division one.

‘’We stepped into this game today and took it like any other game. We took away the finals because our goal is to win the promotion/relegation match and go to division one. Tomorrow, we play the promotion/relegation match and that is our final. My girls stood up, they fought from the start until the end so I’m very proud of them’’, Sameshia commented after the game.

Meanwhile, the Western Cape Tornados rose to victory to walk away with a bronze medal after escaping past the Limpopo Baobabs with a 50-49 win. The Tornados booked their semi-final spot after beating the Kingdom Queens in their last round-robin game and benefitting from the Comets defeat against the Eastern Cape Aloes to finish fourth in division two. The Tornados were overpowered by the Aloes in the semis but kept their heads held up high and strived for a strong finish. Yet again, the Baobabs miss out on a third-place finish by one goal, a repeat of the same heartbreak that happened last year against the Sunbirds.

Division Two Awards:

Best Shooter: Muhluri Hlatshwayo (Limpopo Baobabs)

Best Centre Court: Jani Bergh (Mpumalanga Sunbirds)

Best Defender: Thulisile Maduna (Kingdom Queens)

Overall player of the tournament: Jeanie Steyn (Eastern Cape Aloes)

Final Standings:

  1. Eastern Cape Aloes (Gold)
  2. Mpumalanga Sunbirds (Silver)
  3. Western Cape Tornados (Bronze)
  4. Limpopo Baobabs
  5. Kingdom Queens
  6. Eastern Cape Comets
  7. Northern Cape Diamonds