JOHANNESBURG (16 May 2016) – The North West Flames and the Gauteng Jaguars both booked their places in the semi-finals of the Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League this past weekend.
Michael Vlismas – As the competition now shifts to the Olive Convention Centre in Durban for the playoffs, both teams will have a break until the semi-finals on 28 May.
The Flames finished top of the log on 17 points following an unbeaten season to this point, while the Jaguars finished second on 15 points.
Their opponents will be decided in this weekend’s quarterfinals in Durban. The Flames will face the winner of the quarterfinal between the Southern Stings and the Kingdom Stars, while the Jaguars will take on the winner of the quarterfinal between the Free State Crinums and the Gauteng Golden Fireballs.
And the coaching duo of Dorette Badenhorst of the Flames and Jenny van Dyk of the Jaguars know better than most that now is when the competition really begins.
“It felt great to go through without losing a game, but now the real competition starts. If you lose now you’re out,” said Badenhorst, who head into the playoffs still in a confident mood after beating the Fireballs 65-48 on Saturday.
“I never thought we’d finish this stage of the competition at the top of the log. All the teams were really strong and there wasn’t a single easy game. Even though there were high scores, it wasn’t as easy as it might have looked. I didn’t think we’d be unbeaten, but it’s great because it gives the players confidence going into the semis.”
Van Dyk’s Jaguars rounded off the first part of their campaign with a 56-34 win over the Stars on Saturday and then a 78-32 victory over the Limpopo Baobabs on Sunday.
And Van Dyk has welcomed the break for her players as they prepare for the semi-finals.
“I’m very proud of the team. We did enough the past few weeks to take that second spot and I’m proud of the character shown by my players. Now they’ll have a rest in the next two weeks to get those legs fresh for the semis.”
The Crinums had a very good weekend, beating the Southern Stings 32-31 on Saturday and then routing the Mpumalanga Sunbirds 71-30 on Sunday to head into the quarterfinals with a new spark to their campaign.
It was a tough defeat for Stings coach Annelie Lucas, whose team set the early pace in the competition.
“Our loss means we don’t go straight through to the semifinals, but on the positive side, we have some more game time to prepare.”
Round 6 Results (Ellis Park Indoor Arena, Johannesburg):
Kingdom Stars 52 Diamonds 20
Southern Stings 55 Sunbirds 28
Jaguars 56 Kingdom Stars 34
Aloes 55 Baobabs 36
Crinums 32 Southern Stings 31
Flames 65 Fireballs 48
Crinums 71 Sunbirds 30
Jaguars 78 Baobabs 32