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Johannesburg – Kenneth Kaunda (North West South) caused an upset when they beat Free State Motheo 47-41 in the quarterfinals of the Spar National Netball Championships at the University of Johannesburg on Thursday.
Free State were unbeaten during the pool stages, although they drew their match against Ekurhuleni, and appeared to be sure of a place in the semifinals, whereas Kenneth Kaunda finished fourth in their group.
“I told the players their real tournament started today,” said Kenneth Kaunda coach Dorette Badenhorst.
“I said they must forget about everything that had happened before, and just have faith in themselves and in each other.
“It was very much a team effort, and we just stuck to our game plan and it worked.”
Free State led 13-7 after the first quarter, and were 21-19 ahead at half time, but Kenneth Kaunda pulled themselves back in the third quarter, to lead by 34 goals to 32.
In the final quarter, it was virtually one-way traffic, with Kenneth Kaunda outscoring Free State by 13 goals to nine.
Nelson Mandela Bay (Eastern Province) also caused something of an upset when they beat Ekurhuleni 45-44 in a nail-biting match.
“It was a match of two halves,” said coach Reg Sharp.
“We were seven ahead at halftime, and I made some changes to the team, but Ekurhuleni came back strongly in the third quarter, to go two ahead.
“I put two new shooters in for the final quarter, and I think that threw Ekurhuleni. We were playing catch-up, but then we brought ourselves back.
“It was a great game, and it could have gone either way. Our senior players came through when it was necessary.”
The other two quarterfinals went according to plan, with Gauteng Central beating Western Province convincingly by 49 goals to 37, and defending champions Gauteng North thrashing Amathole 61-38.
Gauteng North will meet Nelson Mandela Bay in the first semi-final on Friday, and Gauteng Central will play Kenneth Kaunda in the other semi.
Western Province, Free State, Amathole and Ekurhuleni will compete in the playoffs for positions five to eight, while Gauteng West and Frances Baard will vie for position nine. – Sapa