Team has to step it up

2017-05-24 06:01
Maryka Holtzhausen of the Crinums will lead her team in the daunting task of reaching the qualifier stage. Photo: Supplied

Maryka Holtzhausen of the Crinums will lead her team in the daunting task of reaching the qualifier stage. Photo: Supplied

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The Free State netball side, the Crinums, is looking for redemption in their Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League must-win fixtures.

The crucial round of fixtures will be staged at the Mangaung Indoor Sport Centre in Bloemfontein.

This is the first time the City of Roses will be one of the hosts of this competition since its inception three years ago.

The city plays host to the last three weekends of the action-packed tournament, starting this weekend (26-28/05) and ending on 11 June. The forthcoming fixtures are for rounds six, seven and eight.

Playing host gives the Crinums, three times winners, the advantage in turning things around. The champions’ sloppy start has seen them fall by the wayside, losing four matches in the competition.

In last weekend’s fixture, the North West Flames became the fourth team to beat the defending champions, winning by 54-40. The other defeats were against Gauteng Jaguars (49-37) and Gauteng Fireballs (53-34), as well as the Southern Stings (45-35).

The poor run has the Free State under immense pressure to qualify for the top four in order to compete for the newly designed trophy of the Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League.

In the top four are Gauteng teams Fireball and Jaguars, the Western Cape Southern Stings and the Flames from North West.

The Crinums are permanent holders of the inaugural trophy after winning it three-times in a row (2014, 2015 and 2016).

They are bound to show their mettle to qualify for the semi-finals round, which will bring them closer to defending the title.

The Crinums’ daunting assignment will see them take on their neighbours, the Diamonds from the Northern Cape, in the forthcoming round six fixtures.

The Diamonds remain winless in the competition and currently bottom of the log, while the Crinums are fifth with eight points.

The Free State team has won four matches since the start of the tournament.

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