Defending champions the Gauteng Jaguars moved clear at the top of the Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League standings at the weekend, after securing an impressive victory over the Free State Crinums in a crunch battle in Pretoria.
Having made light work of the Mpumalanga Sunbirds on Friday, earning a commanding 58-19 win, the Jaguars went on to beat three-time champions the Crinums 45-36 on Saturday.
While the Crinums held a 13-9 lead at the end of the first quarter, the Jaguars clawed themselves ahead and held a 22-21 advantage at half-time.
Changing gears in the latter stages of the match, the title holders gradually extended the gap over their perennial rivals to wrap up a fine win.
The Gauteng side were the only remaining unbeaten team after six rounds of matches in the Premier League campaign.
Jaguars coach Jenny van Dyk admitted their opponents had been “feisty”, with the Crinums defence putting up a persistent fight against the Jaguars attack, and she was pleased to see her team maintain their composure under pressure.
“It was nice to play such a competitive match, and even nicer to win,” Van Dyk said.
“My concern is the shooters are not being consistent enough, but to be fair, the Crinums defence was excellent.”
The Crinums bounced back on Sunday to clinch a narrow 44-43 victory over the Gauteng Golden Fireballs, grabbing crucial points and keeping themselves in contention for a place in the podium playoffs.
At the other end of the table, the Sunbirds, Eastern Cape Aloes and Northern Cape Diamonds all remained without a win as the league moved into the second half of the round robin stage.
Locked in a battle for their first points on Saturday, the Aloes and Sunbirds had produced a superb contest and they ultimately settled for a share of the spoils after playing to a 38-38 draw.
Results, Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League (Week 3)
Jaguars 58-19 Sunbirds
Flames 56-33 Kingdom Stars
Jaguars 45-36 Crinums
Baobabs 66-36 Diamonds
Stings 58-29 Kingdom Stars
Flames 50-27 Golden Fireballs
Aloes 38-38 Sunbirds
Stings 81-27 Diamonds
Crinums 44-43 Golden Fireballs
Baobabs 50-40 Aloes