Congratulations go out to the University of Pretoria’s TuksNetball team for their victory over the Maties (Stellenbosch University) team in a 48-43 win in the Varsity Netball final on Monday night. The victory was made even sweeter by the fact that the TuksNetball team marched through the tournament unbeaten, a first for the Varsity Netball Tournament.
TuksNetball Head Coach Jenny van Dyk is a firm believer that the more often any team gets to play high-pressure matches, the more confident they get in their abilities. She says that’s what made the difference.
With eight minutes to play, Tuks was trailing 37-40, but none of the players panicked. Everyone stuck to the game plan. Over the next four minutes, Tuks played themselves back into contention, taking a one-goal lead. Then they went on to stretch it to three.
Still, Maties refused to give up. With 90 seconds left on the clock, the goal difference was back to one. That’s when the Tuks players’ big-match temperament truly kicked in. Within seconds they scored four goals, ensuring they would be crowned champions.
To single out any player's performance would be unfair. Every player put her body on the line. Some more than others. Captain Tshina Mdau got floored quite a few times. But every time she got back up, she was more determined. "We won. We remained unbeaten. It is a first for Varsity Netball. It is unbelievable," an elated Mdau said moments after her team had won.
When asked how Tuks managed to prevail, Mdau answered, "We have a great coach who never leaves anything to chance. More importantly, she knows how to get each of us to play to the best of our ability.
"I never worried about the outcome of the game. I will admit there was a moment in that last ten minutes when I was wondering why we were trailing Maties. I told my teammates we needed to step up. They did. We won."
For Mdau the final is the end of the road. Her Varsity Netball playing days have come to an end.
"It is my last hurrah, but the best hurrah ever. My journey with this team is a memory that is going to last forever."
Tuks is the first team in the history of Varsity Netball that has managed to remain unbeaten, winning ten games on the trot. This is TuksNetball’s second win at the tournament, after winning in 2017.
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