The Limpopo Baobabs gave the experienced Kingdom Stars a fright in their Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League match on Saturday. Although the Stars won 50-45, the Baobabs held their own throughout the match, and even won the final quarter. The Limpopo team led for much of the first quarter, before the Stars dragged things back, and the quarter ended with the teams level on 12-all.
In the second quarter the Stars moved ahead to lead 28-22 at half-time and 41-32 after the third. But in the final quarter, the Baobabs stormed back and won the quarter by 13 goals to nine. The Baobabs lost all their matches in the first round, but beat the Mpumalanga Sunbirds 46-42 in their first second division match on Friday night.
Although they lost the match, coach Cecilia Molokwane had much to smile about, saying: ‘We worked very hard during the week and I am very pleased with the way they are playing. I am particularly proud of my very young centre, Shongile Hlungwana, who is only just 18. She played much of the match against Bongiwe Msomi, who is a brilliant centre, and she held her own. I see her as a future star for South Africa.’ The Stars had difficulty dealing with the Baobabs’ very tall shooter, Rahab Ngobeni, who at 2.01m, is the tallest player in the competition. Molokwane says: ‘The opposition don’t know how to deal with Rahab. I was very pleased with the way the players fed the ball to her. That was a problem in earlier games, but it is much better now.’
Stars coach Marchelle Maroun admitted that she had been a bit nervous during the match: ‘The Baobabs are a team that are on the up, and they played very well today. We struggled to control the feed to Rahab, and their midcourt players were also very good.’ Maroun said she had tried out three new players, and was still trying to decide whether they were ready to play at this level: ‘I was happy to try them out and I’ll probably try them again tomorrow (Sunday).’
Photo by: Christiaan Kotze/SASPA