Share this article

The Limpopo Baobabs and the Tornados lit up the Ngoako Ramatlhodi Sports Complex with a riveting performance in the Telkom Netball League, but it was the Tornados who broke the home side’s heart once again after walking away with a 48-47 victory. A defensive first quarter ended 10-all, despite the Baobabs’ Shooting pair of Muhluri Hlatshwayo and Marichelle Visagie struggling to connect in the circle and sitting on a seventy-seven goal percentage.

A consistent double block on Goal Shooter Hlatshwayo didn’t faze the Baobabs, as they continued to remain consistent. Jessica Matjiu (Centre) and Khomotso Magagane (Wing Attack) fed the ball with incredible precision to Goal Attack Visagie, who had no issues rising to the occasion by working tirelessly and scoring ten out of the sixteen goals to give the home side a one-goal advantage at half-time.

Tornados coach Freda Kemp made five changes to her side, and the Western Cape team showed great intensity on attack, posing profound challenges for the Baobabs’ defense. This resulted in a two-goal lead for the Tornados ahead of the last quarter. Kemp was dealt a blow in the start of the fourth quarter when Goal Keeper Olukemi Agbai sustained an injury and was forced to resort to her first defensive combination of Lara Steyn and Lauren Adendorf.

The Baobabs subsequently capitalized on an opportunity to equalize through turnovers, and it was game on for the remainder of the match. It all boiled down to the final thirty seconds, when it was the Tornados’ centre pass and pressure mounted on the Limpopo team to turn ball, but the visitors prudently delivered the ball into Liandre Schoemans’ hands, who handed her team a vital one-goal win. This storyline is a repeat of what happened in last year’s Division Two bronze final, when the Tornados escaped past the Baobabs with a one-goal win to walk away with a medal.

Meanwhile, the Free State Sonoblomo suffered another defeat at the hands of the Eastern Cape Comets who secured a 42-27 victory after sixty minutes of play. The debutants will next face the hosts Limpopo Baobabs and the Comets will look to maintain their unbeaten run against a highly confident Tornados tomorrow.

In Division One, The Free State Crinums disgruntled the Gauteng Jaguars after snatching a 58-52 win this afternoon in Polokwane. This was a highly-anticipated match, given that the Jaguars had won the competition five times and the Crinums had won it on three occasions. The Crinums shifted into gear faster, taking an 18-12 lead in the first quarter. Three game-changing intercepts saw the Jaguars pull off what they are notorious for and level matters at half-time.

Crinums’ Shooting pair Lefébre Rademan and Rolene Streukter struggled to find fluidity in the circle which led to numerous missed shots; credit to Jamie Van Wyk and Jasmine Ziegelmeier’s fierce defence. Nonsikelelo Mazibuko also did a stellar job in converting the turnover balls. However, the Crinums practiced discipline in the latter stages of the championship quarter to salvage a draw.

Khanyisa Chawane called for time in the early stages of the fourth quarter and was replaced by Refiloe Nketsa on Centre. Chawane was instrumental with her sublime defensive contribution that resulted in a four-goal lead for the Crinums with just three minutes to go. The Jaguars’ attempt to close the gap grounded to a halt as the Crinums refused to back down right until the final whistle. Chawane was named player of the match and coach Martha Mosoahle- Samm confirmed after the game that it was just a cramp and that Khanyisa is fine.

‘’She is doing well. That is our plan for the year; we are going to play it game by game, and I think she gave it her all. I am happy that she got Player of the Match; that was well deserved. She fought, even though I was hesitant to put her in the middle because I know she can do a good job on Wing Attack.’’

The Kingdom Stars capitulated against the Southern Stings following a solid performance against the Aloes yesterday. This was the Stings’ second consecutive victory after defeating the Stars 51-23. The Stings’ defensive circle is their biggest strength currently, with Phumza Maweni winning the player of the match yesterday and Kabuya Syntiche today. Stars’ coach Precious Mthembu believes nerves take over her Shooters at times.

‘’When you are given answers on the court and you have to get the ball closer to the pole and take shots, there is nothing else you can do. It is all about the player ensuring that their feet, elbow, and knees are fine and doing everything they need to make sure the shot is in. It all goes back to being committed to shooting back home and experience also showed today. I also realized that the Shooters had the fear of playing against Phumza Maweni, who is a big name in that circle.’’

The match between the Fireballs and the Flames wrapped up the day. It has been a tough start for the North West side, who were beaten 32-56. With this second successive defeat, it means that the Flames have now conceded one hundred and seven goals in just two games, which is certainly an area of concern for coach Elsunet Du Plessis. Meanwhile, the Fireballs will look to use the little time they have to rest ahead of their next game against an unpredictable Kingdom Stars side first thing tomorrow morning.

The games were also officially declared open in a heart-warming opening ceremony at the Ngoako Ramatlhodi Sports Complex in Polokwane. Several dignitaries were in attendance, including Netball South Africa President Cecilia Molokwane, the NSA Executive Members, Deputy Minister of Sports, Arts, and Culture Nocawe Noncebo Mafu, and Martha Nkwashu from Telkom, to name a few.

Saturday fixtures: 28/04/2023

8:00- Fireballs vs Kingdom Stars

10:00- Comets vs Tornados

12:00- Stings vs Aloes

14:00- Queens vs Diamonds

16:00- Baobabs vs Sonoblomo

18:00- Crinums vs Flames