DURBAN – Gauteng A1 became this year’s Spar Netball National Championships winners after beating the Western Cape 47-46 in the final at Hoy Park Sports Complex in Durban on Saturday.
The winning goal, which was scored by Gauteng goal-shooter Chanté Louw, came in the last 13 seconds of extra time after both sides played to a 40-all scoreline during the course of the full 60 minutes.
Gauteng head coach Jenny van Dyk said she was pleased with how her side played on the day and that it felt great to have won the national championships again, following two years without that trophy in their cabinet.
“It feels great to have won the netball national championships,” Van Wyk said.
“It says to us what we have been doing during our preparations has worked for us. But then again, what’s most important is not to get too complacent. We need to start doing more of that and get better each time.”
Asked about the amount of preparation she put her girls through, to ensure that they came out as champions in this year’s edition, Van Dyk said: “We won this championship at the beginning of last season.
“That’s where we put in most of the work with regards to getting our girls to understand what’s really like to perform under pressure.
“And they grasped that really well; hence they were able to perform like we did on the final day.”
The coach also praised two of her star players, Tshina Mdau and Louw, adding that they played their hearts out for the team to ensure they walked away as champions.
Mdau started off the match playing as a wing-attack before she swapped into a more defensive role (wing-defence) to slow their opponents down each time they pressed forward for goals.
“I’m very proud of Tshina’s performance,” Van Dyk said. “She had a very slow start in the match, but once we swapped her to that defensive role (wing-defence), she started being more effective for us.
“Chanté as well,” Van Dyk added. “We told to relax a bit after the second quarter because she was already exposed to the kind of pressure we wanted her to feel in this match.
“We told her to settle down and give us the space we desperately needed under the post. And she did that. All in all, I’m very proud of all of my players.
“They played extremely well.”
* Under-21 final result: North West 44, Gauteng 36.