Netball league teams eye coveted title

Going up the ranks: Goal Scorer Miya Mathaphela (left) from Medhurst during a game against Jubilee which saw them earning a 25-9 victory. Photo: Nqobile Dludla

Going up the ranks: Goal Scorer Miya Mathaphela (left) from Medhurst during a game against Jubilee which saw them earning a 25-9 victory. Photo: Nqobile Dludla

The top three Wits Netball Internal League (WNIL) teams are not planning on backing down until they get the coveted title once the season resumes next week Tuesday.

This semester will see all teams continuing to prove why they are the best at what they do.

This of course won’t come without a fight, as the other teams attempt to dethrone the Medics who are the current defending champions since 2011.

“We’re only coming back stronger than we were before,” said Medics captain, Florencia Mnisi.

“We strive to be the best. In doing so, we’ve got to keep improving our skills and being better than we were before.”

Medics are leading with 12 points followed by the new residence team, Noswal Hall, and Medhurst, both also with 12 points on the log. What puts Medics in the lead is their goal difference (GD) score sitting at 129 compared to Noswal Hall at 66 and 64 for Medhurst.

These top three of the 12 performing teams won all four of their matches last semester.

Medics’ history as defending champs, after dethroning the once most-feared team Jubilee, is posing a threat to other teams yearning to attain the title. Last year Medhurst walked away with bronze medals in third place while Jubilee lost to Medics and came second.

“We’re like a target everyone wants to get to, so we get pressure because we need to hold on to our title. We are all after victory,” said Mnisi

New kids on the block

True to Mnisi’s assessment, new kids on the block Noswal Hall “want it all”.

“A juggle of the positions would be more interesting, I mean why introduce something new if we want to keep things constant? I believe competition is healthy, keeps everyone on their toes. I would like to think it’s motivating,” said Keneilwe Manda, acting captain of the Noswal team.

Noswal have been playing without a captain since the season began in April. This, however, has not held back the new kids from outperforming Junction by 14-9, Braam Centre by 45-7, Reith by 23-13 and Esselen by 21-8.
“Team work and cooperation is what has kept us together without a captain,” said Manda.

While fitness is a key area for improvement from last semester, Manda also emphasised “making a bigger name for the new kids on the block”.

“We are a team that wants to show that [people should] never underestimate a developing team,” said Manda.

Compared to the other two top teams, Noswal has new players who have not experienced the league before.

Speaking on the performance of the top three teams, WINL coordinator, Ofentse Moropa, said: “If you had asked me before the season started, I would have said that they [Medics] would win without a doubt. However, it is Noswal’s first time in the league and they look like they’ll be the dark horse of the competition and might cause major upsets.”

Indeed, at number three, Medhurst realises that to move up on the score board will take a lot of commitment and effort from the whole team.
Medhurst faced last year’s second-place winners Jubilee last semester in a disappointing match that left Jubilee wondering what had hit them with the score 25-9 in Medhurst’s favour.

“We plan on going up the ranks and the only way to do that is to stay focused and practising and giving each game our best. We are hoping to be number one. We would love to take the trophy home this year,” said Medhurst captain, Apel Kunene.

NETBALL: Medhurst net 25 in victory over Jubilee


SHOOTING MACHINE: (L-R) Goal scorer Miya Mathapelo from Medhurst and Jubilee’s goal keeper Zamokuhle Buthelezi. The fast paced match left Jubilee struggling to keep up as Medhurst dominated the last three quarters with solid goal shootings earning them a 25-9 victory over Jubilee

Medhurst Hall beat Jubilee 25-9 in the second round of the Wits internal netball league last night.

After a victorious start to the season, Medhurst finally appear to be finding some consistency, backing up last week’s thrilling win over Sunnyside with another meticulous performance against Jubilee.

Stand-in Jubilee captain, Naledi Maubane said the team played well and showed consistency despite a few errors.

“Considering the fact that some of our players are sick and couldn’t pitch, we had to make do with what we have. People were playing positions they had never played before. We played pretty well. Generally I don’t think that we’re that bad. Just the small mistakes like stepping and throw away balls is an issue,”

The fast paced match left Jubilee struggling to keep up as Medhurst dominated the last three quarters with solid goal shooting. Jubilee, as usual, produced their strongest and most consistent performance, frustrating Medhurst with their strategically high and long passes.

Locked in a goal-for-goal battle in the first quarter, Jubilee did not allow the frustration of being unable to stop Medhurst shooting machine, Miya Mathapelo, to affect their own attacking game. The first quarter ended with both teams at three all.

Heading into the second quarter, Jubilee and Medhurst proved equal to the task working the ball around the circle while waiting for spaces to open up. When they did, the results from Medhurst were spectacular, with the shooting pairing of Mathapelo and Jessica Mathekgane combining beautifully. Despite Medhurst’s dominance, Jubilee made solid advances to their goal posts attempting to score. The second quarter left Medhurst with 10 and Jubilee 5.

A couple of clumsy passes in the shooting circle between Jubilee’s goal shooter and goal attack started to decline as Jubilee continued to show strong resolve early on in the third quarter, stretching their goal attempts out to three goals. But as they tired later in the quarter, their intensity began to drop off witnessing Medhurst stretching their lead to five goals heading into the final quarter.

Medhurst continued to challenge Jubilee into making errors early in the fourth spell, quickly opening a 10 goal advantage to prompt some desperate changes to the Jubilee defence. The final quarter witnessed Medhurst emerging victorious leaving the score 25-9 in their favour.

Despite the victory, acting Medhurst captain, Merriam Maila, said “We definitely need to improve in the centre, I think when we play in the centre we’re not calm. When we’re playing we get too excited and lose focus. So we have to work on that.”