In the highlight of Varsity Netball Round 4, Tuks got the better of the two unbeaten teams by beating Maties 53-46 in Port Elizabeth.
This game always had the potential to be a cracker of a game and it definitely delivered.
It was a strong first quarter that was the true difference between these two teams. Maties started the first quarter looking scrappy, giving possession away unnecessarily and allowing Tuks, along with their attacking prowess in Venetia Grobler, to take an early 17-8 lead.
The second quarter started off a lot more evenly, the two teams scoring point for point. However, the Tuks defence, led by Wimpy Moment Maker Akosua Mensah, made interception after interception and stood strong to keep their lead of 29-22 going into half time.
The game was turning out to be very physical for both sides. Maties seemed to switch into gear at the end of the second quarter, being led by captain (and eventual FNB Man of the Match) Nicholé Taljaard, and carried that momentum into the third. The Maroon Machine from Stellenbosch dominated from the back with MTN Interceptor of the Match Nicola Smith defending Maties back into the game and working from the counter to cut the gap to five points with a quarter and a Powerplay left in the game.
Everything was on the line in the final quarter between these two giants. This is where Tuks came alive again to take control, despite a spirited Powerplay from Maties, to hold on to take the game with a bonus point 53-46.
While Maties earned a losing bonus point, Tuks will be very happy to consolidate their pole position on the standings and show they are favourites to take this year’s Varsity Netball title.
FNB Player of the Match: Nicholé Taljaard (Maties)
Wimpy Moment Maker: Akosua Mensah (Tuks)
MTN Interceptor of the Match: Nicola Smith (Maties)
Maties: 12 Stephanie Brandt, 7 Bronwyn de Lange, 3 Claudia Jarrard, 11 Khomotso Mamburu, 4 Chrisley Marshall, 1 Sian Moore, 10 Sasha-Lee Petersen, 8 Jo Prins, 13 Nicola Smith, 9 Caleigh Stuart, 2 Nicholé Taljaard (captain), 6 Adri Uys.
Coach: Zanele Mdodana
Tuks: 5 Marlize de Bruin (vice-captain), 16
Anique Grobler, 13 Venetia Grobler, 8 Akosua Mensah, 7 Lungile Mthembu, 9
Tracey Mthunzi, 2 Tshina Mdau (captain), 1 Mbali Ntuli, 4 Chantelle Swart, 3
Jamie van Wyk, 6 Danielle van Zyl, 11 Jasmine Ziegelmeier.
Coach: Jenny van Dyk
By Shawn Marsh