Quintin van Jaarsveld
Thousands of players descended on the South Coast this weekend ahead of the Ringball National Championships, which gets underway at the Ugu Sports and Leisure Centre in Gamalakhe on Monday.
Co-hosted by Ringball KwaZulu-Natal and Margate Sports School, the tournament will see 120 men’s and women’s provincial and district teams vie for national supremacy across seven divisions, namely U11, U13, U17, U23, seniors, masters and veterans.
Ockie van Schalkwyk, President of Ringball KwaZulu-Natal, said while Gauteng will be the ones to beat, the host province have been boosted by a welcome increase in player participation.
KwaZulu-Natal will be fielding 19 teams this year, including two development sides, and Van Schalkwyk said they have their sights set on gold and silver medals.
“The sport has grown by roughly 35 percent in KZN over the last year, which is very promising,” Van Schalkwyk told eHowzit.
“We have a number of talented teams and players. Our Under-23s should contest for the title and our Under-17s should also be in the running. We’re hoping for a few gold and silver medals and to have several of our players selected for the national teams.”
The official opening of the tournament started with a parade of the teams at the Ugu Sports and Leisure Centre on Sunday. Dignitaries including Ringball South Africa President Johan Oosthuizen was on hand to officially open the national showpiece.
Matches will be played daily from 7.30am to 5.30pm, with the finals to be contested on Friday. South African teams will be selected at the conclusion of finals day and will entertain fans in ‘all star’ exhibition games on Saturday.
About Ringball (Wikipedia):
Ringball is a non contact sport played by both males and females, usually in separate games. It is similar to the game of netball and can be played on an all weather grass court measured 27m x 18m, but divided into thirds and three. In three sections are three goal scorers on a team. Three center players and three defending players. The objective of the game is to throw the ball from one player to another into a ring goal which is placed on either side of the court.
The South African game ringball is played by two opposing teams consisting of nine (9) players on either side, on a court divided into three sections. Three players of each team play in each section (three (3) goal shooters, three (3) centre players and three (3) defenders). These players may at no time during play, touch ground in an adjacent section, step on or receive the ball over the lines separating the sections.
The ball is passed through the air from player to player and is caught with the hands, so that the ball does not touch any other part of the body. In passing the ball, a player may not move forward or backward, feint a pass or be in possession of the ball for longer than two (2) seconds in an attempt to pass the ball.
To score points, the ball must fall through the ring from above. A goal shooter may attempt to score a goal from any position in the goal section outside the circle. A successful attempt counts two (2) points. Both hands from below upwards must be used when shooting a goal and must be attempted within a five-second time limit from the time the ball is received.
Any of the three opposing goal shooters can attempt for a goal from any position outside the goal circle, when a penalty goal has been awarded. A penalty goal counts two (2) points from any position outside the goal circle and must be attempted within three (3) seconds. A goal shooter can attempt to score a three-point penalty from behind the penalty line within three (3) seconds.
Players may try to gain possession of the ball without hitting or snatching the ball from the opponent’s hands. Players are not allowed to hold, push away or obstruct their opponents in any manner to prevent them from passing the ball. Two (2) players of the same team may not touch or hold the ball simultaneously. It is an infringement if the ball crosses the section without being touched by a player in that section.
When players of both teams commit a transgression simultaneously, it is called a double fault. The referee then tosses the ball up at the centre circle between any two opposing centre players, who may hit or catch the ball on the descend. They stand with their feet outside the middle circle, while the rest of the players take up any position within their sections.
A match consists of two halves of 25 minutes each with an interval of three (3) minutes. After each successful goal, the players must take up position as shown on the sketch.
The centre player stands in the half circle facing his own goalpost. At the blow of the whistle the ball must be passed to one of the wings within two (2) seconds. It is an infringement when the ball is passed into another section without passing it to a wing first.
When the ball goes out of play crossing the outside lines, an opposing player from that section puts it into play at the spot where it has left the court.
The team with the highest score at the end of the match is the winning team.