Crinums take on (semi)final hurdle

2016-05-25 06:00
CLEOPATRA KGOPOTSO (left) of the Gauteng Golden Fireballs challenge Tanya Mostert of the Free State Crinums during the quater-final fixture of the 2016 Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League match at the Olive Convention Centre, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, on Saturday (21/05). Photo: Supplied

CLEOPATRA KGOPOTSO (left) of the Gauteng Golden Fireballs challenge Tanya Mostert of the Free State Crinums during the quater-final fixture of the 2016 Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League match at the Olive Convention Centre, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, on Saturday (21/05). Photo: Supplied

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THE Free State Crinums netball team is just a couple of steps away from the milestone of winning the Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League for a third time in a row.

Victory over the North-West Flames in one of the semifinal fixtures on Friday (27/05) will see the Free State through to the final on Saturday (28/05). In the other semifinal game, the Gauteng Jaguars will play the Western Cape Southern Stings. Both the semifinal and the final will be played at the Olive Convention Centre in Durban.

The Crinums secured a place in the semifinal after a 50-32 win over the Gauteng Fireballs in the quarter-finals, staged at the same venue in Durban on Friday (20/05).

“The competition has begun for us and our character as the champions will be tested. The match against the Fireballs is the last hurdle we have to clear to achieve our dream of successfully defending the trophy,” said Erika Calitz, the team’s general manager.

Calitz attributes the team’s drastic improvement to the players being in the right state of mind, feeling the hunger for success and committing to a great team effort.

She said the two tough matches they had won, against the Stings (a week ago) and the Fireballs (Saturday), were significant in enabling the reigning champions to find their rhythm ahead of the semifinal.

Both of these opponents had been favoured to reach the semifinal and even reach the final. This was until they met with the fired-up Crinums, who crushed their aspirations in the decisive league and quarter-final.

Calitz said the improvement of six newly-capped players and the return of the inspirational Karla Mostert had been yet another contributor to the winning streak. She said the team effort was equally fundamental and was displayed by the technical team, coach, Burta de Kock, and assistant, Dineo Lentoa in plotting the Crinums’ remarkable comeback in the competition.

“She (Mostert) has helped stabilise the defense and inspires younger players.

“We have the right mix, blending youth and experienced players in the competition. The newly-capped players find their form at the right time and we are determined to carry on. We have a solid foundation for the future,” said Calitz.

The Free State lifted the cup in the 2014 and 2015 installments of the competition, with narrow wins (40-36 and 61-59) over the Gauteng Jaguars, who eye this final for redemption.

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