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Bellville, Cape Town, South Africa: The line-up for the semifinals of the SPAR National Netball Championships was settled on Thursday, the fourth day of the tournament being played at Hoërskool DF Malan in Bellville.

Cape Winelands finished top of the log and will play Johannesburg, while Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB), who finished second on the log will take on Cape Town.

NMB had an unexpectedly tough battle against Buffalo City, after leading 13-7 after the first quarter.  Buffalo City won the second quarter by a single goal (22-19). The Buffalo City goalkeeper Phamela Chukwu was particularly effective at neutralising the inexperienced NMB goal shooter Kaylin Coetzer, turning the ball and succeeding with intercepts.

NMB came back strongly in the third quarter, winning it by 14 goals to nine but the East London team won the final quarter 14-10. The final score was 46-42, meaning that Buffalo City finished their tournament on a high note.

“It was our do-or-die game,” said coach Zandile Njeza.

“We wanted to finish well. We had a bad loss to Johannesburg yesterday, but I told the players to put that behind them and to show people what we could do.”

NMB coach Lana Krige said she knew that the Eastern Cape derby was going to be a tough match.

“Eastern Cape netball is played with passion and I knew that Buffalo City would give it their all.”

Cape Town secured third place on the log with an emphatic 52-42 win over Johannesburg, 52-42. Johannesburg put up a very good fight and the Cape team had to work hard for their victory. But they were the more organised team and they remained calm, even when Johannesburg won the second quarter 12-10.

“I told them that we were in the cable car, halfway up to the top of Table Mountain and that we needed to finish the job and get to the top,” said coach Danlee Matthews.

“I am proud of the way they stuck to the game plan.”

Captain Lochner said that after their heavy loss to Cape Winelands on Wednesday, her team had done some hard thinking.

“We went back to the drawing board and agreed to focus on the basics.  We stuck to the game plan and we were patient and that helped us to win.”

In the final match of the day, Cape Winelands beat Ethekwini 55-40 to confirm their status as tournament favourites. Ethekwini played well and gave the Cape side a surprisingly hard time, but experience and fitness won out in the end.

In the Under-21 section, Dr Kenneth Kaunda will play Ethekwini and Tshwane take on Johannesburg in a Gauteng derby.

DAY 4: Results

Senior A
Buffalo City 42 – Nelson Mandela Bay 46
Cape Town 52 – Johannesburg 42
Ethekwini 40 – Cape Winelands 55

U21 A
Cape Town 39 – Ethekwini 49
DR KK 59 – Nelson Mandela Bay 29
Tshwane 61 – Johannesburg 46