Tuks stun the champs in Varsity Netball opener

Varsity Netball, South Africa’s top intervarsity netball tournament, got off to a cracking start today at the Callie Human Centre in Bloemfontein; SANDF Kopanelo Hall in NWU in Potchefstroom; UJ Soweto Sports Hall in Johannesburg and the UCT Sports Centre in Cape Town. The six-week long tournament features eight of South Africa’s best netball-playing varsities.

UP-Tuks claimed an impressive 54-48 victory over defending Varsity Netball champions Kovsies in Bloemfontein today The Pretoria side were playing a very direct game and it paid off as the defending champions went into the first break trailing 14-10.The visitors kept the pressure on as they continued to stretch the Kovsies defence in the second quarter, although the home side managed to reduce the gap to 27-20.Kovsies had it all to do in the second half, and a powerplay early in the third quarter gave them a chance to close the gap. However, UP-Tuks held their nerve well under pressure and managed to match Kovsies to take a handy 43-34 advantage into the final quarter. Kovsies threw everything at UP-Tuks at the start of the final quarter and made good use of the powerplay to cut the gap to just three goals at 47-44.However, the Pretoria side hung on and claimed a bonus point in what was a hard-fought victory in the end.

Player of the match: Tanya Mostert

NWU-Pukke pulled away from Maties in the second half to secure a tough 48-37 Varsity Netball victory in Potchefstroom today. It was hard work for the home side, but they managed to show that they will be a force this season with a convincing performance after half-time. Maties took their opportunities well and built up an early 8-3 lead, with Pukke battling to stay in touch in front of their home crowd. Pukke managed to draw level by the start of the second powerplay, but at half-time it was Maties who held a slender 25-24 lead. The crowd got right behind Pukke in the final quarter and they responded well, but fell just short of claiming the bonus point as Maties made things difficult right until the end.

Player of the match: Bhongo Ngobeni

UJ started their Varsity Netball campaign in fine style with a 79-25 demolition of VUT in Johannesburg. They were ruthless in their execution, as VUT got a tough introduction to the competition. The home side got out of the blocks quickly as they took the game to VUT, and by the first powerplay they were already 16-5 up. Although they were right up against it, VUT fought back valiantly, and kept UJ’s lead to 20-9 at the first strategy break. By half-time, UJ’s dominance was clear as they were firmly in control with a 35-16 advantage, leaving VUT with it all to do in the second half. The home side wrapped up the bonus point in the third quarter, and went into the final break with a commanding 55-21 advantage. It was more of the same in the final stages, as UJ cantered to what was a comfortable victory in the end.

Player of the match: Deancke Rohde

NMMU proved too strong for UCT as they cruised to a convincing 45-16 Varsity Netball victory in Cape Town. The visitors made a bright start as they took the game to the Ikeys who found themselves chasing from the word go. The Eastern Cape side were impressive on defence and built up a comfortable 12-6 lead by the first strategy break. The Ikeys were fighting hard in front of their home crowd, but they would go into half-time 22-9 down against the well-drilled Madibaz. NMMU refused to give the hosts an inch and by the end of the third quarter they found themselves 35-14 up, needing 15 goals in the final quarter to secure a bonus point. UCT made a few changes in the last quarter, but NMMU found another gear as they fell just short of claiming the bonus point.

Player of the match: Zanele Vimbela

This year’s Netball fixtures will include the exciting Power Play which is accompanied by fast paced music and exhilarated fans. The games will also include DJ’s, MC’s, Cheerleaders, mascots, sponsor giveaways, smoke machines, laser lights and much more. The concept is that of a playground, where the best players can test themselves against their peers. Market-leading brands sponsor the platform, with Samsung, FNB, Cell C, Legit and Wimpy as the lead netball sponsors.

Operating across a number of different sports codes in South Africa, the Varsity Sports brand remains committed to changing the lives of others through the power of sport. We believe that by bringing sport and entertainment together, we can offer athletes, players, fans and general supporters a compelling reason to support the development of intervarsity sport in this country.

– Varsity Sports