Cape Town - The line-up for Friday's semi-finals of the Spar National Netball Championships was decided on Thursday, the fourth day of the tournament in Bellville.
Cape Winelands finished top of the A-Section log and will play Johannesburg. Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB), who finished second on the log, will play Cape Town A.
NMB had an unexpectedly tough battle against Buffalo City, after leading 13-7 after the first quarter. Buffalo City won the second quarter by a single goal (22-19). The Buffalo City goalkeeper Phamela Chukwu was particularly effective at neutralising the inexperienced NMB goalshooter Kaylin Coetzer, turning the ball and succeeding with intercepts.
NMB came back strongly in the third quarter, winning it by 14 goals to nine, but the East London team won the final quarter 14-10. The final score was 46-42, meaning that Buffalo City finished their tournament on a high note.
Cape Town A secured third place on the log with an emphatic 52-42 win over Johannesburg, 52-42. Johannesburg put up a good fight, and the Cape team had to work hard for victory. But they were the more organised team, and they remained calm, even after Johannesburg won the second quarter 12-10.
“I told them that we were in the cable car, halfway up to the top of Table Mountain and that we needed to finish the job and get to the top,” said coach Danlee Matthews afterwards.
“I am proud of the way they stuck to the game plan.”
Captain Lochner said that after their heavy loss to Cape Winelands on Wednesday, her team had done some hard thinking.
“We went back to the drawing board and agreed to focus on the basics. We stuck to the game plan, and we were patient, and that helped us to win.”
In the final match of the day, Cape Winelands beat Ethekwini 55-40 to confirm their status as tournament favourites. Ethekwini played well and gave the Cape side a surprisingly hard time in the early stages, but experience and fitness won out in the end.
In the Under-21 section, Dr Kenneth Kaunda will play Ethekwini and Tshwane take on Johannesburg in a Gauteng derby.