With the Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League done and dusted, it’s time for netball fans to turn their attention to the Spar national championships in Port Elizabeth from 9-14 July.
As part of Netball South Africa’s (NSA) aim to take netball back to the people, the championships this year will be played on a district basis, rather than on a provincial basis, as was the case for the past couple of years. More than 1,100 players will take part.
‘The NSA executive believes that by playing the championships on a districts representation basis, we’re able to reach more talented players,’ said vice-president Christine du Preez. ‘This creates a wider platform for more talented players to be identified.
‘In past years, the championships have been held in August, which is national women’s month, but the tournament will be held a month earlier this year.
‘Schools and universities are on holiday in July, and this means that teams can stay in school or university hostels,’ said Du Preez.
‘This is a cheaper option for many teams that are cash-strapped. Also because the championships are in the holidays, there are no problems with missing exams or anything like that.’
The tournament will be played at the Lotto Young Park netball courts in Port Elizabeth.
‘We have 36 registered U21 teams and 51 registered senior teams. Spar Protea players will also participate at the championships as well as all squad players. The teams will play on a round-robin basis before entering the knockout stages, with the final played on Saturday, 14 July. There will be two sections, A and B, and the U21 championships will be played at the same time.’
Last year, Gauteng won the final by one goal in extra time, beating Western Cape 47-46.
Photo: Action from this year’s Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League, by Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix