After four years of heartbreak, particularly last year, when they lost the final by a single goal, UP-Tuks have finally lifted the Varsity Netball trophy. They won a highly entertaining and tense final against NWU in the Rembrandt Hall in Pretoria by 43-41 on Monday night.
With that they have put the icing on the cake on an incredible year for sport at the University of Pretoria. Their netball team joins the rugby, women’s hockey, football and athletics teams, who are now all current Varsity Sports and Varsity Cup champions.
It was a match full of mistakes and lots of unforced errors. The occasion perhaps got to the players. Whereas NWU’s attacking play was smooth throughout the competition, they suddenly seemed to lose the plot at times in the attacking third.
Then again the defence at both ends was immense. Jasmine Ziegelmeier, Lungile Mthembu and Shadine van der Merwe of Tuks and Simoné Rabie and Monique Reyneke of NWU all deserve special mention.
NWU, who were unbeaten up until the final, trailed 10-12 after the first quarter which forced Dorette Badenhorst, NWU coach, to make three changes including one positional one.
Jenny van Dyk, coach of Tuks, on the other hand, mostly kept with her starting line-up.
At halftime Tuks were in control, leading by 27-19.
Five minutes into the third quarter with the scoreboard reading 29-21, it seemed as though Tuks could run away with it. But thanks to a brilliant spell of six minutes, including a productive power play, the Potchefstroom students took the lead.
Tuks went into the final quarter with a two-goal lead (35-33) which they managed to hang on to for a famous victory.
FNB Player of the Match: Lungile Mthembu (UP-Tuks)
Samsung Best Shot Award: Jessica du Plessis (NWU)
NWU: Anja Esterhuizen, Jessica du Plessis, Marike Maree, Sigi Burger, Romé Dreyer, Chanté Bester ©, Mandy Hermanus, Simoné Rabie, Didi Keebine, Jomari Myburgh, Zandré Erasmus, Monique Reyneke.
UP-Tuks: Jasmine Ziegelmeier (GK), Shadine van der Merwe (GD) – Captain, Lungile Mthembu (WD), Marlize de Bruin (C), Tshina Mdau (WA), Rumandi Potgieter (GA), Ine-Marie Venter (GS), Chanté Louw, Jeanette Vermeulen, Anique Grobler, Akosua Mensah, Sanele Buthelezi