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Madibaz battle UP Tuks all the way

The UP Tuks netball team had to dig deep and battle it out on Monday, when they played against the Madibaz in the Varsity Netball semi-final at Tshwane’s Rembrandt Hall.

The score reflected the intensity of the game with the defending champions winning 55-46.

At half-time, UP Tuks were hanging on to a two-goal lead and it seemed the Madibaz might pull off one of their biggest fights.

However, Tuks head coach Jenny van Dyk had an ace up her sleeve, which was to deploy both her goal shooters Iné-Mari Venter and Venetia Grobler, in the circle.

Just a day before during training, Van Dyk made it clear that the two playing together was never part of her plan, but the turning point in the match was when Venter started playing goal attack and Grobler goal shooter.

After the match, Van Dyk compared the semi-final to a battle of wills between her and the Madibaz coach.

‘I can’t remember when last I resorted to making so many positional changes in any game. I never doubted the outcome of the game, however, what worried me was that our team could just not get into a good rhythm, no matter what combinations I tried.

‘We had our moments of brilliance, but we were never in total control. As a last resort, I decided to combine Iné-Mari and Venetia, and it paid off,’ said Van Dyk.

Van Dyk praised the way the Madibaz made Tuks battle right to the end.

‘As far as I am concerned it was one of the best performances by the Madibaz team. We expected a tough match, and they did not disappoint,’ she said.

It was also Venter’s second-last game for Tuks as she has been offered a contract to play for the Melbourne Vixens, and will be leaving for Australia in December.

‘It was a tough decision. My ultimate dream is to become a vet, but the selection criterion to study veterinary science is quite strict. At the moment I’m studying to become a veterinary nurse, and it’s not quite what I had in mind. So when the opportunity to play professional netball arose, I was faced with a difficult decision.

‘I had a long discussion with coach Jenny and she made me realise that maybe now is the time to play netball. I might never get an opportunity like this again, and I don’t want to end up with regrets one day wondering what could have been. I definitely plan to resume my studies at a later stage,’ said Venter.

Venter said she enjoyed playing goal attack in the semi-final. However, it made her realise that she had to improve her fitness as she will be playing that position for the Melbourne Vixens.

Apart from Venter and Grobler other Tuks players also gave outstanding performances like captain Tshina Madau, who was always alert and in the thick of things, Marlize de Bruin who had a good game and Akosua Mensah who seemed to relish the challenge of disrupting any oppositions attacks.

Tuks will be playing Kovsies on Monday in the Varsity final in Bloemfontein.

PHOTO: UP Tuks player Venter in control of the ball at the Varsity semi-final, by Reg Caldecott

 

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