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Potchefstroom, North West, South Africa: While Tshwane and Johannesburg cruised into the semifinals, the fourth day of the SPAR National Netball Championships at the North West University Fanie du Toit Sports Grounds in Potchefstroom on Thursday was all about the battle for the remaining two semifinal berths.

At the start of the day, three teams were in contention, but Nelson Mandela Bay’s (NMB) hopes were dashed when they went down to Dr Kenneth Kaunda.  The host team beat the team­ from the Eastern Cape 43-31 to snatch one of the semifinal places.

NMB coach Lana Krige said she was bitterly disappointed but she praised Dr Kenneth Kaunda.

“They were phenomenal,” she said.

“They had 17 turnovers against us in the second quarter and you can’t win when you give away possession like that. But we will go back home and work on what went wrong and we will be better next year. You learn more from losing than you do from winning,” said Krige.

Dr Kenneth Kaunda coach Elsunet du Plessis said she was happy that her team was peaking at the right time.

“It’s a very positive thing for us and we look forward to playing whoever we come up against in the semis tomorrow,” said Du Plessis.

Cape Winelands beat Mangaung 35-28, but that was not enough to see them through to the playoffs. Mangaung clinched their berth when they beat Buffalo City 35-22.

Cape Winelands coach Nicolene Martin said it was disappointing not to reach the playoffs.

“We now start a new journey and we will learn from our loss. There are some very talented players in our team and we will grow from here on.”

Mangaung coach Martha Mosoahle said it had been a day of mixed fortunes.

“The girls were very tired after the match against Nelson Mandela Bay yesterday (when they came from behind to win 30-27) and I had to give some of them a bit of a rest.  I knew the second game, against Buffalo City, was very important. I am very happy to have reached the semifinals, because it’s a new tournament from here on.”

She said she did not mind playing against unbeaten Tshwane.

“We know how they play and we will be doing our homework tonight. I look forward to the challenge.”

Tshwane ended the round robin phase with a clean sheet, beating NMB 36-24.

“It’s been a very good week and I am looking forward to the semifinals,” said Tshwane coach Jenny van Dyk.

“I am very pleased with the team. Six of them are playing in the senior A-division for the first time, and we only had about three training sessions ahead of the tournament. But they all know each other and we focused on building connections between the players,” said Van Dyk.

Johannesburg beat Dr Kenneth Kaunda 33-27.

Coach Elsje Jordaan said she had mixed feelings about the win.

“We need to have a bit more intensity on court.  It was very hot out there and our players have come from playing indoors to playing outside. But that applies to all the teams so there’s no excuse.

“We know we have a target on our backs (because the Golden Fireballs won the Telkom Netball League) and it was all about surviving.

“We will focus on or semifinal tomorrow and only after that will we think about the final,” said Jordaan.

Tshwane will play Mangaung in the first semifinal and Johannesburg will play Dr Kenneth Kaunda in the second.

DAY 4: Results
Senior A
Nelson Mandela Bay 31 – Dr Kenneth Kaunda 43
Mangaung 28 – Cape Winelands 35
Tshwane 36 – Nelson Mandela Bay 24
Dr Kenneth Kaunda 27 – Johannesburg 33
Mangaung 35 – Buffalo City 22

U21 A
Cape Town 29 – Mangaung 46
Tshwane 37 – Johannesburg 24
Mangaung – Ekurhuleni

Selected matches will be broadcast on SuperSport Variety 4/Channel 209 (12 August 2022). Finals LIVE on SuperSport Variety 3 Channel 208 (13 August 2022). Selected matches will be streaming on the SuperSport Schools App.

SPAR National Netball Championships Broadcast matches on Supersport – Variety 3 (SS 208)
Friday, 12 August 2022 – Semifinals
09:30 – Tshwane vs Mangaung, Game 1.  LIVE
10:50 – Johannesburg vs Dr Kenneth Kaunda , Game 2.  LIVE