The Crinums overturned a first quarter five-goal deficit against the Stings to book a spot in the Telkom Netball League Division One final at Heartfelt Arena on Thursday, 29 June 2023.
The Stings had a strong defensive start to the game, which delayed the Crinums getting onto the scoreboard two minutes into the quarter. The shooting combination and synergy between Sian Moore and Nichole Taljaard was the standout feature up front for the Stings, resulting in a 16-11 lead in the opening quarter.
Coach Martha Mosoahle-Samm made two defensive changes which instilled firepower to the side; the Crinums ruffled the Stings with their defensive pressure, and causing the Western Cape team to make multiple passes, creating more intercept opportunities. Rolene Streutker ran the show in the Crinums’ shooting circle, aptly supported by Goal Attack Lefebre Rademan; the accurate shooting flipped the script and saw the Crinums take a five-goal lead at half-time.
The Stings continued to play catch-up in the third quarter, hustling for turnover balls in the defensive third, but the Crinums were too stubborn to give up their lead. The pressure could not have been more intense in the last quarter, with the crowd cheering on the Crinums and the formidable mid-court defensive partnership of Refiloe Nketsa and Liame De Lange. The Crinums left no room for mistakes and remained consistent, to win the game by seven goals.
In the other semi-final, the Jaguars showed no mercy against the Fireballs to book their tenth final. Goal for goal in the opening quarter, the Jaguars capitalized on an unforced error to take a one-goal lead, and Goal Keeper Jasmine Ziegelmeier denied the Fireballs an equalizer in their own shooting circle. The Fireballs were expensive on attack in the second quarter, but credit must be given to the Jaguars’ defense, who pushed the Fireballs wide to set up cross balls that they were able to turn and convert.
The Jaguars were ruthless across the court in the third quarter and Wing Attack Kamogelo Maseko posed challenges for the Fireballs with her attacking defensive skills. The Fireballs had the ability to match up and compete, but they were punished by their high error rate. The Jaguars found more confidence from the crowd’s cheers and dominated play, to walk away with a narrow three goal.
In Division Two,the Limpopo Baobabs booked their spot in the Division Two final for the first time following their giant 56-41 victory against the Diamonds. A close contest in the first quarter saw both teams separated by just one goal. The Baobabs had no solid and consistent leads, but they worked hard to get the ball back and convert. The Diamonds struggled to keep possession by the circle edge, which gave the Baobabs a one goal lead.
Baobabs Goal Defense Modjadji Ramurwalo shut down the goal-for-goal flow with an impressive intercept, helping her team stretch their lead. However, the Diamonds made the task even more daunting with three overcooked feeds that became turnover balls, giving the Baobabs a 39-30 lead at half-time.
Both teams maintained the same consistency in the third quarter, scoring the exact number of goals they had in the second quarter. The Baobabs dominated the last quarter, and disrupted the Diamonds’ rhythm on attack with their deflections. Coach Nthabiseng Hottie called a timeout to instruct a different game plan when the Diamonds had only managed to slot in one goal, four minutes into the fourth quarter. The Baobabs exerted more defensive pressure, forcing turnover balls with their defensive rebounds. The crowd erupted as soon as the buzzer went off, and the Baobabs relished the moment of glory and hard- fought victory.
Meanwhile, the Tornados clobbered the Sunbirds 46-37, subsequently setting up a final against the Limpopo Baobabs. It was a tight tussle in the first quarter, with both teams throwing everything they could to end the quarter at eleven all. An increased shift in momentum in the second quarter saw the Tornados dominate defensively, and forcing a disconnect between Sunbirds shooters Atacia Mbuyane and Regan Miller.
Tornados’ Goal Defense Olukemi Akuma Agbai thrived with intercepts in the Sunbirds’ goal third, turning ball alongside Wing Defense Amber Coraizen, who amassed three intercepts to hand the Western Cape team a four-goal lead at half-time.
Sunbirds’ key player Palesa Mbukwana sustained a head injury in the last quarter and called for time. The injury necessitated defensive changes that saw Maryke Coetzee move to Goal Keeper, Tumelo Nkoe to Goal Defense, and the introduction of Seja Kgaabi on Wing Defense. The Sunbirds started matching up to the Tornados defensively and were much smoother by the circle edge for successful feeds. Despite both teams finishing with an eighty-four goal percentage, the Tornados surged to victory having secured eleven intercepts, five rebounds, and thirty-four gains.
Results: Telkom Netball League on Thursday, 29 June 2023
Div.2|Position 7/8 Play Off| Sonoblomo 60-47 Lilies
Div.2|Semi-final 1|Baobabs 56-41 Diamonds
Div.2|Semi-final 2|Tornados 46-37 Sunbirds
Div.1|Semi-final 1|Crinums 55-48 Stings
Div.1|Semi-final 2|Fireballs 50-53 Jaguars
With editing by gsport