DURBAN (23 May 2016) – The Free State Crinums are happy to declare that while other teams may fly to games, they’re the “bus team”. And the “bus team” cruised into the semi-finals of the Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League this past weekend.
Michael Vlismas – The Crinums beat the Golden Fireballs 50-32 in their quarterfinal at the Olive Convention Centre in Durban on Saturday, and will now face the North West Flames in this weekend’s first semi-final.
And in the other quarterfinal, the Western Cape Southern Stings beat the KwaZulu-Natal Kingdom Stars 44-23 to set up a semi-final against the Gauteng Jaguars.
But there is plenty of expectation around the Crinums as they head into the semis seeking a third consecutive Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League title, and with their coach Burta de Kock thrilled at how her new team has performed.
“We’ve got a new team and when you lose so many star players then the youngsters have to step in and fill their shoes. I was never worried about their conditioning because we started preparing for the league on 12 January already. So they were in excellent shape physically. It was really about getting their heads strong,” said De Kock, who excels at creating a holistic player.
“As a coach I’m thankful for the group of players I have. They climbed in the bus after Saturday’s quarterfinal in Durban and we arrived back home in Bloemfontein on Sunday morning at two o’clock. They didn’t complain and they just remain such a positive bunch of players. Not even a long bus ride gets them down. So yes, everybody knows the Crinums are the bus team.”
The Crinums started the season slowly, having lost several of their former stars and without the services of top defender Karla Mostert for most of the season as she was playing for Bath in the English Super League.
But De Kock’s ability to get her players to believe in themselves has once again made them a top contender for the title.
“Before the players join me for training on a Monday evening they’ve already analysed the weekend’s games amongst themselves. They take ownership and they become better people as a result, not just netballers. My focus is to create a holistic human being, not just a winning netballer.
“For me it was never about the players we used to have. It’s about the players we have now and how we can turn them into something special.”
Results (Olive Convention Centre, Durban):
Sunbirds 48 Baobabs 29
Aloes 49 Diamonds 29
Southern Stings 44 Kingdom Stars 23
Aloes 49 Sunbirds 34
Crinums 50 Fireballs 32
Diamonds 46 Baobabs 35
Aloes 60 Baobabs 23
Sunbirds 42 Diamonds 37