It was another day of mixed fortunes for Western Cape A1 at the Spar National Netball Championships at the Ugu Sports Centre near Margate on Wednesday, but coach Marlene Wagner was not despondent about the results. Western Cape A1 played three matches, easily beating Limpopo 42-15 in their early match, before going down to high-flying Gauteng, who beat them 30-19.
Wagner says: ‘It’s a work in progress with a young, developing team. We battled to get possession against Gauteng, and once we got possession, we lost it again. Our shooting was also not as accurate as it could have been and some of these youngsters are not quite ready, mentally, to take on some of these stronger teams. But it is a building process and we are bringing in the youngsters under the new structure, where teams play for provinces rather than regions. Maybe in a year or two or three we will be at the top again.’
Wagner said although players in her team were largely from Stellenbosch and Cape Town, they also came from as far afield as Mossel Bay and Oudtshoorn, which made training very difficult. She says: ‘We were also badly affected when Maties (Stellenbosch University) withdrew most of their players, because they want to save them for the Varsity Cup.’ Wagner said many of the bigger provinces had similar problems, but the new format was in its early stages and improvements would almost certainly be made over the next few years.
In their final match of the day, they squeaked home against Western Province A2 26-25. North West also played three matches on Wednesday, and maintained their unbeaten record, with victories over KwaZulu-Natal A1, (50-27), Northern Cape (55-16) and Mpumalanga (48-26). Gauteng also continued to do well, beating KwaZulu-Natal A2 62-18 and Western Cape A1, while Free State beat Eastern Cape 47-18 and Limpopo 37-20.
Western Cape A2 also had a busy day, beating Mpumalanga 34-29 before losing to KwaZulu-Natal A1 (41-28) and Western Province A1. Eastern Cape beat KwaZulu-Natal A2 48-14, while KwaZulu-Natal A1 beat Northern Cape 37-29. North West are on top of the log, with 16 points, followed by Free State and Gauteng with 14 each.
Western Cape A1 are in fourth position, on 11 points. KwaZulu Natal A2 and Northern Cape have no points so far.
Photo credit: Reg Caldecott