The Free State Crinums cruised to a 47-28 victory over the Golden Fireballs in their Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League first division match on Sunday and back to the top of the log. The defending champions barely raised a sweat in beating the winless Gauteng team, increasing their lead steadily as the match progressed. They led 25-15 at half-time.
In the last quarter they restricted the Fireballs to just four goals. The Fireballs showed glimpses of their ability in the first quarter trailing by just four goals but as the game went on that lead continued to grow. Fireballs coach Martha Mosoahle-Samm was deeply disappointed, saying: ‘I expected a much better performance. There is too much inconsistency and they are not settling into their combinations.’
Mosoahle-Samm said one of the problems was that although all members of her squad played league netball, they did not play for the same clubs: ‘They come from about seven clubs, so they are not used to playing together. They are coached by their club coach, and then I come along with a different approach and they have to change their habits. This means that as soon as things get tough, they forget about the game plans.’ The coach said the loss of their captain, Amanda Mynhardt, who suffered a serious ankle injury in the first weekend of the tournament, had been a big blow for the team: ‘She has the ability to get the most out of the players, and we really miss her as a player and a leader.’ Mosoahle-Samm said she was happy to have the matches against the two top teams, the Crinums and the Gauteng Jaguars, out of the way: ‘Next week we play the North West Flames and the Southern Stings, and I believe we can take them.’
Crinums coach Burta De Kock said she was happy with the result, there was always room for improvement: ‘I’m always looking for more consistency, and we will be working on that during the coming week. The Jaguars had a very good defensive unit, and my shooter, Danelle Willemse, was beginning to panic under the pressure. So I pulled her out for a quarter and let her see what they were doing in the circle. She’s very intelligent and when I sent her back on, she was able to deal with the way they played. We have two hard matches next week, against the Jaguars and the Stings, and we need to start well in both matches. We lost to the Jaguars in the first round, because we had a bad start. Things will be different next time.’
Photo credit: Christiaan Kotze/SASPA