Prospects dim

2017-05-03 06:00
Rieze Straeuli of the Crinums, challenged by Zanele Vimbela of the Golden Fireballs. Photo: Supplied

Rieze Straeuli of the Crinums, challenged by Zanele Vimbela of the Golden Fireballs. Photo: Supplied

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The prospect of the Free State netball team, the Crinums, of defending their Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League (BFNPL) is not looking rosy.

This followed their dismal performance in three fixtures of the competition.

The Free State side is among the four teams without a win after three rounds of matches played. The other unsuccessful sides are KwaZulu-Natal’s Kingdom Stars, Mpumalanga’s Sunbirds and the Northern Cape’s Diamonds.

The Crinums are permanent holders of the coveted trophy designed by well-known jewellery designer Jenna Clifford, after winning it three times in a row in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

The Free State team lifted the coveted trophy for the third time after their 52-43 win over arch-rivals Jaguars in the final played at the Olive Centre in Durban.

However, the reigning champions have not showed their pedigree, having lost all three fixtures in a row.

In the opening fixtures played a week ago, the home girls lost to the Gauteng Jaguars (37-49) and Gauteng Fireballs (34-53). The Crinums suffered their third loss to Western Cape’s Southern Sting (35-45) in matches played in Durban on Friday (28/04) and Saturday (29/04).

The results leave the defending champions with a mammoth assignment to redeem themselves against Stars and Aloes Eastern Cape in the forthcoming fixtures taking place at the University of Cape Town from Friday (05/05) to Sunday (07/05).

Currently in position five, the Aloes have won two matches and lost one. They are as determined as the Crinums and Stars to consolidate their positions on the log of the competition featuring ten netball teams in South Africa.

If the Free State girls’ lacklustre performance continues, they will also lose an exciting opportunity to tour New Zealand, where this year’s South African champions will compete in the Super Club Championship.

The international tour is part of the sponsor’s incentives aimed at lifting netball to greater heights in the country.

The sponsor is Brutal Fruit who formed a partnership with Netball South Africa (NSA).

This will be the first time since the competition’s inception in 2014 that the champions will get to travel to New Zealand to compete in the Super Club Championship.

At this once-in-a-life-time opportunity, they will get the experience to play at an international level and enhance their skills.

The runners-up will receive R150 000 in prize money. Part of the incentive is that the sponsor has also committed to paying a weekly participation fee of R750 per player to motivate players.

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