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Durban,South Africa – Western Cape continued their winning ways on the third day of the SPAR national netball championships at the Hoy Park Sports Centre on Wednesday with victories over two of the top teams, Gauteng One and Free State.

Western Cape’s 61-40 win over Gauteng took everyone, including Western Cape, by surprise, as the match had been expected to be much closer. The Western Cape team stamped their authority on the match from the start, finishing the first quarter 19-13 ahead.  They extended their lead in the second quarter, to lead 32-23 at halftime.  Gauteng fought bravely, and tied the third quarter with 11 goals apiece, but the coastal team were having none of it, and scored a flurry of goals in the final quarter to take the victory.

“I didn’t expect that scoreline,” said Western Cape coach Annali Lucas.

“Our defenders were spot on and made it very difficult for them to score. Our defence is our strong point.

“Our players play as a team, and they look like a group of friends having fun, which is what they are,” she said.

“They are such an experienced team, and they have a lot of height, which is to their advantage,” said Gauteng coach Jenny van Dyk.

Their later match was far closer, and Western Cape trailed for much of the game, before coming back from a five goal deficit in the first quarter to win 39-34.

“That’s not the way you want to start a very important game, but we kept our composure.  We knew that we could beat them, and we just hung in there,” said Western Cape captain Erin Botha.

“We are on track for where we want to be at this stage, but a tournament is not won on day three,” she said.

“We still have work to do.”

Defending champions North West also remained on track, with comfortable victories over Eastern Cape (50-21), Mpumalanga  (59-21) and Northern Cape (61-23). They face two crucial matches on Thursday, when they come up against Gauteng One and Free State.

In other matches played on Wednesday, Northern Cape beat Mpumalanga 49-44; Free State beat Limpopo 84-32; Gauteng One beat Kwa Zulu Natal (KZN) A2 60-32 and Eastern Cape 54-38;  KZN A1 beat KZN A2 73-21; Eastern Cape beat Gauteng Two 34-31; and Gauteng One beat Mpumalanga 74-16.