The match was billed as fire versus fire, but the North West Flames easily overcame the Golden Fireballs in their Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League match at the Pretoria University Sports Centre on Friday night, beating them by 50 goals to 39. In the first quarter, there was not much to choose between the two teams, although the Flames had better control of the ball in their own circle, and finished the quarter with a 10-7 advantage. It was in the second quarter that the Flames really took control, outplaying the Fireballs and finishing the first half 27-16 ahead.
The Fireballs suffered a blow when their charismatic captain, former Protea Amanda Mynhardt had to leave the court with an injury. The Fireballs had to make several positional changes, with Yolande Du Preez, who had been doing a good job at wing attack, moving to goal attack, and Anaret Viljoen moving from goal attack to goal defence. In the third quarter, the Flames stepped on the gas, and outscored the Fireballs by 13 goals to eight.
In the final quarter, Flames’ coach Dorette Badenhorst introduced several bench players, and the Fireballs were finally able to show what they could do, winning the quarter by 15 goals to 10. Fireballs’ coach Alta Du Preez said she was happy that they had ended the match on a high: ‘We can take it from there in our next match, and we will just continue to get better,. In the other quarters, we weren’t delivering the ball well, but we got our act together in the last quarter.’ Badenhorst was very happy with her team’s performance, saying: ‘The Fireballs have some brilliant players, but we worked better as a team than they did. We do have the advantage that we play together a lot, and there is a lot of confidence and trust in the team. I was happy that I was able to bring on some of my bench players. It is important for them to get some experience, in case someone is injured, like the Fireballs losing Amanda.’
She said the difference between the teams was that the Flames showed more patience, particularly in their own circle: ‘Sigi Burger, our goalshooter, out-jumped their defenders and she deserved being named player of the match.’ Both teams have an uphill task in their next match. The Flames take on the table-topping Gauteng Jaguars on Saturday, while the Fireballs meet defending champions, the Free State Crinums, on Sunday.
Photo credit: Christiaan Kotze/SASPA)