This week’s bumper weekend definitely went as planned, getting maximum points albeit that we had to fight tooth and nail in the end. We went into the weekend extremely motivated to win both our matches as well as try and secure the bonus points. We always knew that it was going to be a great weekend playing in front of our home crowds with the support of fans, friends and family. We anticipated that it would be challenging, as both the weekend teams were looking at us to notch up their first win of the tournament
The start of the weekend was exceptional, as we beat VUT 74-42 and took all 5 points. This was a great confidence booster as the team was happy to finally have a win under the belt. We had the same tactical approach with UJ, however we seemed to have had a slow start to the match and it did not go the way we had planned. UJ fought hard in the first and second quarter and seemed to be much more composed in comparison to us.
We had previously beaten UJ by a margin of 20 points at the USSA tournament and I think our approach towards the match might have been a bit too relaxed and one of over confidence. I thought that even though the coaches drilled into us that UJ will come hard we came out too sluggish and when UJ went up on the score board panic crept into our game.
UJ turned up the heat from the outset and gave us a very challenging and enjoyable match. At half time, they were leading by 7 points and clearly had the upper hand. It seemed that we were going to be unexpectedly defeated nevertheless we went into the change room with a lot of the young players rather demoralized. The coaches, and a legend of the game known as Sandra, gave an enormously motivational talk that effected a complete mind shift. We went back onto the court in a mood to fight and wrestle all the way to the end for a result.
We stepped back onto the court fighting with everything we had. We held onto possession as if life depended on it and in the end, with our players pulling out all the stops, we played as a unit, played for each other and I believe that’s how we managed to pull off a remarkable comeback and triumph over UJ 58-56. This was truly a match with a roller coaster of emotions for the players and UJ deserve all the plaudits they received for their contribution to this spectacle.
I am incredibly proud to be a part of this UWC team, that has grown tremendously through the Varsity Netball competition. With this being said, I am looking forward to so much more growth with these young aspiring ladies who have an immense amount of talent and to only come back stronger next year with the experiences gained.
We have one match left against Tuks in Pretoria and we know that it will be another trying match to say the least. We are, however, looking forward to the challenge and know we are capable of taking up this challenge. By no means are we planning to give them a win without another hard fight.
By Keesha van Schalkwyk