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Johannesburg, South Africa – Mangaung and Dr Kenneth Kaunda (North West South) continued their march to the finals of the SPAR National Netball Championships on Tuesday, notching up two more victories each, while defending champions Tshwane suffered their second defeat.

Dr Kenneth Kaunda beat Tshwane 46-39 in a hard-fought, low-scoring encounter at the University of Johannesburg sports centre. In the first half, the two sides traded goal for goal.  Dr Kenneth Kaunda won the first quarter 11-9 and Tshwane won the second 7-6, giving the team from North West a narrow 17-16 lead at halftime.

The third quarter was the decisive one, with Dr Kenneth Kaunda outscoring Tshwane 15-10.  Although the final quarter was shared 13-all it was too late for the champions.

Monique Reynecke and Simone Rabie once again showed what a formidable combination they were in defending their goal.  Rabie in particular deflected a number of balls in the circle and they clearly had the Tshwane shooters rattled.

Coach Elsje Jordaan was very pleased with the team’s performance.

“I knew Tshwane would come out hard and physical. At halftime I told my players to slow things down,” she said.

“They did this and it worked.”

Tshwane coach Sone Mokken said she was disappointed at the second loss.

“We’re having trouble with our attack and we will have to work on that,” she said.  

In their later match, Dr Kenneth Kaunda made short work of Buffalo City, beating them 62-35.

Mangaung had a comfortable 60-35 victory over Nelson Mandela Bay before demolishing Cape Town 59-26.

Earlier, Cape Town beat Johannesburg 43-39 in a hotly contested match. Shooters on both sides seemed to have difficulty getting the ball into the net and the goal defenders on both sides were able to turn the ball. Former Protea Zanele Vimbela (goalkeeper) succeeded with a number of intercepts, only to see the ball turned over at the other end of the court. 

The introduction of Talia Venter brought some stability to the Johannesburg shooting circle, but it came too late to save the game.

“I have to take responsibility,” said Johannesburg coach Marguerite Rootman.

“I was trying to give my bench players a run and it didn’t work.”

Cape Town coach Sue Schooling said her players were settling down and she was delighted with their progress.

In the other matches played on Wednesday, Ethekwini beat Ekurhuleni 47-39 and Nelson Mandela Bay beat Ekurhuleni 51-33.

Mangaung top the log with 12 points from six games. Dr Kenneth Kaunda are second, with 10 from five matches and Tshwane are third, with eight from six.

Cape Town are in fourth place, with six points from five matches.