The Eastern Aloes took the shine out of the Northern Cape Diamonds as they overpowered them 62-29 in their second division Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League match on Saturday. The Aloes, unbeaten so far in the tournament, look certain to reach the final and then contest the bottom team in the first division in a promotion/relegation match. They exerted their authority early in the match, and the Diamonds were never in the game.
The Aloes led 34-17 at half-time, and then accelerated, leaving the Diamonds nowhere to hide. The Diamonds managed just seven goals in the third quarter, and only five in the final 15 minutes, despite having former Protea Claudia Booysen as goal attack. She seemed unusually nervous, and lost a number of balls in the circle, passing to her goalshooter instead of trying to score.
Both coaches made a number of substitutions after halftime, and while this worked well for the Aloes, the Diamonds appeared to be floundering. The Aloes were able to steal the ball in the circle, and also made a number of enterprising intercepts in the centre court. They were faster and more focused than the Diamonds, who appeared rattled as the match continued.
Aloes Wing attack Nontandu Lusaseni, who had an outstanding game, was named player of the match. Aloes assistant coach Charmaine Roos says: ‘We were pleased that we could make a number of substitutions after halftime because we had the game completely under control. We were able to play 11 of our 12 squad players. But our bench is as strong as our starting line-up.’ Roos said that the team had worked hard during the week on ironing out a few technical issues: ‘We were thrilled with the way they responded. They did exactly what we asked them to, and I think they played brilliantly. Our goal is to get back to the first division where we belong. We are taking nothing for granted, and we don’t underestimate any team, but we are confident that we will be back. We regard every quarter as a new game, and we are determined to stamp our authority on every quarter.’
The Aloes have lost just one quarter in the tournament, to the Kingdom Stars, and that was by a single goal.
Photo by: Christiaan Kotze/SASPA