The Jaguars resumed their winning ways in the Brutal Fruit Netball Cup at the Pretoria University Sports Centre on Saturday when they beat the second-placed Free State Crinums by 38 goals to 33. the Gauteng North side, boosted by the presence of netball’s golden girl, Vanes-Mari Du Toit, started off rather tentatively in what was probably their toughest match of the weekend. The Crinums, on the other hand, burst out of the starting blocks and were first on the board. It was 10 minutes into the first half before the Jaguars took the lead for the first time and they ended the quarter with a 8-7 lead.
In the second quarter, the Jaguars appeared to settle and started to surge ahead, although the Crinums drew level at 14-all two minutes before half time, which ended with the Jaguars 15-14 ahead. The Crinums suffered a major blow early in the third quarter when Spar Proteas goal attack Maryka Holtzhausen limped off with a knee injury. It was their worst quarter, and the best for the Jaguars.
Du Toit was replaced by Lindie Lombard, who is still in rehabilitation after a serious injury last year. Both sides made a number of errors although the defenders on both sides were outstanding. The shooters all appeared to be suffering a crisis of nerves, and the ball was often lost in the circle at both ends.
By the end of the quarter, the Jaguars had extended their lead to 25-10. In the final quarter, the Crinums came back with a bang, although at one stage, the Jaguars were seven goals to the good. But Rieze Straeuli, daughter of former Springbok rugby coach Rudolph Straeuli, seemed to gain confidence and the Crinums began to reel the Jaguars in.
Two minutes before time, they had reduced the deficit to three goals, but Melissa Myburgh held her nerve, and the Jaguars finished on top. “We had a bad final quarter. I think they lost a bit of focus in the fourth quarter, and we know we can’t afford to do that against a team like the Crinums,” said Jaguars coach Jenny Van Dyk. Crinums coach Burta De Kock said her team had suffered a number of injuries, which had affected the outcome of the match, “But we had an awesome fourth quarter, and the injuries meant that other players had the opportunity to show what they could do.”