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Potchefstroom, North West, South Africa: Tournament favourites Tshwane and Johannesburg both won their semifinal matches on the fifth day of the SPAR National Netball Championships at the North West University, Fanie du Toit Sports Grounds on Friday to set up a Gauteng derby final.

Tshwane were made to work hard in their semifinal against Mangaung, but in the end they snatched victory by 30 goals to 29. Tshwane led 10-8 after the first quarter, but the Free State team came back strongly to win the second quarter, leaving the teams level on 16 goals each at halftime.

The defence on both sides was outstanding, with goalkeepers Ane Retief (Mangaung) and Mbolenhle Ntuli (Tshwane) both succeeding with rebounds and turnovers.  Play was hard and fast, with the ball moving at speed from one end of the court to the other. At the end of the third quarter, Tshwane led 23-21.

In the final quarter, Tshwane started to pull away, and were three goals ahead before Mangaung fought back to level the scores at 24-all.  The lead changed hands several times, but when the final whistle went, Tshwane had won by a single goal.

“This was the best possible preparation for the final tomorrow,” said Tshwane coach Jenny van Dyk.

“I always knew it would be a tough match.  Mangaung have been improving steadily throughout the tournament.

“I think the players showed a lot of character when things started getting tough,” said Van Dyk.

Mangaung coach Martha Mosoahle said she was disappointed with the result, but not with the performance.

“The girls left everything out there,” she said.

“I am very excited about the way they played and they proved they are a team to be reckoned with.”

The second semifinal, between Johannesburg and Dr Kenneth Kaunda, was a much more one-sided affair, with the outcome never in doubt. Johannesburg won 39-22.

Johannesburg led 12-2 after the first quarter and 20-12 at halftime.  The second quarter was Dr Kenneth Kaunda’s best, with the host team winning the quarter by 10 goals to eight.  But Johannesburg forged ahead from then on, winning the third quarter 8-6 and the final quarter 11-4.

Johannesburg coach Elsje Jordaan said she was pleased and relieved at the result.

“They had an exceptional start,” she said.

“I have been telling them to start well and then chip away at the score, and that is precisely what they did,” said Jordaan.

“A Gauteng derby is always exciting and I am looking forward to tomorrow’s match.”

Dr Kenneth Kaunda coach Elsunet du Plessis was disappointed after the match.

“Our shooting was poor and there is no point in achieving turnovers and then giving away possession.  But they are a very young team and I am excited about their future,” said Du Plessis, who is in her first year as a senior coach.

Tshwane have dominated the national championships since 2010, winning seven titles. They missed the championships last year because of Covid-19.  If Johannesburg win on Saturday, it would be their maiden title in the modern era.

Finals will be LIVE on SuperSport Variety 3 Channel 208 (13 August 2022). Selected matches will bestreaming on the SuperSport Schools App.

DAY 5: Results
Senior A
Tshwane 30 vs Mangaung 29
Johannesburg 39 vs Dr Kenneth Kaunda 22

U21 A
Tshwane 43 – Johannesburg 22
Dr Kenneth Kaunda 32 vs Mangaung 28

SPAR National Netball Championships Broadcast matches on Supersport – Variety 3 (SS 208)
Saturday, 13 August 2022 – Finals
07:30 – U21 A: Tshwane vs Dr Kenneth Kaunda, Game 1. LIVE
09:20 – Senior A: Tshwane vs Johannesburg, Game 2. LIVE