Netball league tight at top

FILE PICTURE: Bennie Saayman, director of coaching at Netball South Africa (NSA) and Blanche de la Guerre, vice president NSA. Photo by Reg Caldecott / Gallo Images

Another two tight rounds of matches are expected this weekend as leaders Gauteng Jaguars and the only other unbeaten side in Division One, the Free State Crinums, square off in the Brutal Fruit Netball Cup in Pretoria.

The young Jaguars outfit, who have just three players over the age of 23, hold a narrow advantage over the Crinums on goal difference after last week’s opening round, with both teams earning four points.

“The matches so far, especially in Division One, have gone down to the wire and we certainly expect more of the same,” said Netball South Africa chief executive Blanche de la Guerre, pictured.

The Crinums’ defensive pairing of Karla Mostert and Adele Niemand were superb last week but they will be aware of the threat posed by their national team-mates Melissa Myburgh and Lindie Lombard in tomorrow’s clash.

While the top two sides hold the upper hand in the early stages of the inaugural league, the North West Flames were unfortunate to narrowly lose their opening matches against the Jaguars and Crinums.

Flames coach Dorette Badenhorst was confident, however, they could grab their first win and stay in touch with the front-runners, as they prepared to face the Eastern Cape Aloes today and the Gauteng Golden Fireballs tomorrow.

“It was tough losing our opening two games by just one point but it shows you how intense the competition really is,” Badenhorst said.

“We are well aware that we must pick up a win or two this weekend to stay in the hunt for a semifinal place.”

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