North West made a clean sweep at the Spar National Netball Championships at the Ugu Sports Centre near Margate on Saturday, taking gold in all four sections. While most attention was focused on the A-section final, North West showed tremendous depth as they walked away with the A and B sections in both the senior and the Under-21 competitions. In the senior A-section final, North West turned the tables on Gauteng, who won the 2014 title, by beating them 28-14.
Their defence was outstanding, and the Gauteng players battled to get the ball into their own circle, and to retain it when they did. By half-time, Gauteng were trailing by 10 goals, and they were never able to make up the deficit. They scored just four goals in the first and final quarters, and three in the second and third.
North West coach Dorette Badenhorst says: ‘It was a great game and I think my players were excellent. We set out goals for each quarter, and they met those goals.’ North West were unbeaten throughout the tournament and were always the standout team. Badenhorst said this was the result of hard work both on and off the field, and an excellent team spirit.
She said winning the final after losing at the last hurdle meant everything to her team. Gauteng coach Jenny Van Dyk was visibly disappointed at her team’s performance. Van Dyk says: ‘These were not the same players who played so well in the semi-final yesterday. We were excellent on defence, but we were very poor on attack, so we’ve got a lot of hard work to do. But I’m still very proud of them, because they reached the final. I told them afterwards that North West were in the same position a year ago, when we beat them by about 30 goals, and they have improved and risen to the occasion, so they mustn’t lose heart. We will be back.’
Western Cape secured the bronze medal when they narrowly beat Free State by 31 goals to 30. North West beat Royal Bafokeng 30-27 in the B-section final, Gauteng 28-24 in the Under-21 A-section and Royal Bafokeng 44-18 in the Under-21 B-section. Badenhorst says: ‘We have a lot of depth and it looks good for the future. I think our success in all four sections was the result of selecting the right players for the right teams.’
Photo credit: Reg Caldecott