The Jaguars notched up their eighth victory in the Telkom Netball League yesterday afternoon in Bloemfontein when they outplayed the Stings to win 38-32.
The Pretoria based team is the only not to have lost yet. After nine games they top the log with 17 points.
There is a lot at stake today. The Crinums, Fireballs and Stings will battle it out to be second in the standings. It will mean not having to play the Jaguars in the semifinals. Currently, the Crinums and Fireballs are tied on ten points. The Stings have nine points.
There is a good reason why the teams might be wary of playing the Jaguars. Judging by statistics, the Jaguars seem to play better with each encounter. So far the team has won all their second-round matches by a more significant goal margin.
Yesterday afternoon's game against the Stings promised to be a humdinger, but it was not. The Jaguars had a five-goal lead after six minutes. From then on, it was a case of the Stings playing catch up. The Western Cape team never once took the lead or at least draw level.
What makes the Jaguars such a formidable team is the way they can execute the basics with clinical precision. There is a gameplan, and the players stick to it. Even when they are under pressure, they can hold their composure, limiting their mistakes to a minimum. Every player also seems to gear up their game when needed.
The team's dominance allowed the Jaguars' coach, Jenny van Dyk, to continuously test different combinations. The most interesting was when she played her captain, Izette Griesel, at goal attack. From a tactical perspective, Griesel was not bad, but her accuracy as a goal shooter is not quite up to scratch.
The Tuks Alumni has represented the Proteas in 59 tests, either playing centre or wing attack.
Marlize de Bruin was brilliant playing as a centre. At times it seemed as if she could preempt what was going to happen and had a strategy in place to help get the ball to her shooter's circle. She disrupted many a Stings attack by intercepts.
Her heroics did not go unnoticed. De Bruin, who is also a Tuks Alumni, ended being the player of the match. It is the second consecutive day that she had received the award. De Bruin was also the moment maker against the Stings.
Today at 17:00 the Jaguars play the Flames.