The SPAR National Netball Championships got off to an exciting start at the Ugu Sports and Leisure Centre on Monday.
The championships are being played according to a new format, with teams representing provinces rather than regions, and North West coach Dorette Badenhorst, was pleased with the way her team started, beating KwaZulu-Natal A2 49-13, and Gauteng 36-26.
“We had a good first day, and I was able to try out a lot of combinations,” she said.
“I’ve got a few players coming back from injury, and it’s important that we don’t push them too hard. It was Sigi Burger’s first day back from injury, and I think she went well. But Fifi (Kefiloe Tsotsetsi) also played well as goalshooter, and it’s lovely that we have players that we can use in different combinations.”
Badenhorst said she liked the new format, although she thought it might work better for some provinces than for others.
“It’s great having the provinces here, but it’s a big change for some of them. Some are much bigger than others, and they can draw players from a lot of clubs, but others might suffer because of the new format. It’s a great opportunity for players to experience playing in the A-section. I’ve got two players who normally play in the B-section, and they did very well today,” said Badenhorst.
She said some of the provinces would find it difficult to train as a team, because of the vast distances they had to travel.
“For instance, the Eastern Cape, it’s a long way between East London and Port Elizabeth, whereas for us, it’s not such a big distance. So the training is definitely a problem for some of the provinces, but I think we can work on this format.”
In other matches played on day one of the tournament, Free State beat KwaZulu-Natal A1 35-22 and Free State beat Northern Cape 44-11, Western Cape A1 beat Northern Cape 32-9, Gauteng beat Western Cape A2 45-12, and Eastern Cape beat Limpopo 36-26.