After finishing as runners-up three times in a row, the Gauteng Jaguars finally pulled through to beat the North West Flames 49 – 43 in a thrilling final of the Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League (BFNPL) at the Mangaung Indoor Sports Centre on Sunday afternoon.
The Jaguars took an early lead, but in the second quarter, the Flames caught up and then passed them. They had a three-goal lead before the Jaguars struck back and drew level on 14-all. They took the lead again, and stayed there for the rest of the match, although the Flames fought hard.
Jaguars coach Jenny van Dyk said her players amazed her.
“They don’t know how good they are and how good they can be,” she said. “This has been such a battle. This is our fourth final, and each time we lost, it got harder. The third loss was devastating and we realised we had to do things differently. And this is the result.
Jaguars captain Shadine van der Merwe, who played in all four finals, said she had been determined not to leave the court without a win. “It was a hard match, but we didn’t want it to be easy. Everyone pulled their weight, and showed great big match temperament. We were strong, not only physically, but mentally as well.”
Flames coach Dorette Badenhorst said she was disappointed, but very proud of her team. “At the start of the tournament, no-one thought we would be in the final,” she said. “Nothing went wrong in this match – they were just the better team. But I am proud of the way my players supported each other and played as a team throughout the tournament. We have also finished higher than we did last year, when we came fourth.”
#SPARProteas coach, Norma Plummer, who watched the last two weekends of the tournament, said the #BFNPL was good for netball in South Africa. “I think the standard of play has improved, but South Africa actually need more intensive competitions like this if they are to challenge the top four teams in world netball,” she said.
Article Source: Netball South Africa