UP-Tuks crowned 2023 Varsity Netball champions

netball18 September 2023 19:48| © SuperSport

Undefeated throughout the tournament, UP-Tuks collected their third title when they beat UJ 63-61 in a pulsating final in a packed Rembrandt Hall in Pretoria to be crowned the 2023 Varsity Netball champions.

Underdogs UJ drew the first blood against the home side in what was an intense opening five minutes.

Tuks had to correct their sloppy defence and be clinical in the goal circle, as it took them over six minutes to go ahead and end the first quarter ahead on 14-11.

The game remained closely contested in the second quarter with the Orange Army continuing their chase.

Owethu Ngubane fed Muhluri Hlatshwayo dangerous balls in the goal circle to keep UJ in the contest.

On the other side of the court, Alice Kennon made sure Tuks took a four-point (26-22) lead at the halftime break.

In the third quarter, the Orange Army kept their hopes alive in search of their maiden silverware by limiting the Stripe Generation’s play in the middle of the court.

Tuks captain Kamogelo Maseka remained the threat in Tuks' attacks in the first power-play with deadly counter attacks, with her team collecting six goals to take their lead to 43-33.

With the stakes high, UJ had a mountain to climb in the last quarter. The Johannesburg outfit were relentless in the last power-play as they managed to reduce a 12-point deficit.

The match was pushed into extra time after the teams were locked on 51-all when the whistle went after the regular 60 minutes.

It was UJ who stretched ahead first in extra time, building up a four-point cushion.

Tuks, however, managed to pull things back and ended the first extra period just one point adrift, 57-56.

The home team then put their foot on the pedal to snatch the victory away from their opponents.

Quarter scores: 14-11 / 26-22 / 43-33 / 51-51

Player of the Match: Phophi Nematangari (UP-Tuks)

FNB Player of the Tournament: Sanmarie Visser (NWU)

Suzuki Players’ Player of the Tournament: Phophi Nematangari (UP-Tuks)

UP-Tuks: Alice Kennon, Amber Marshall, Caroline Paul, Kamogelo Maseko, Kylie van Wyk, Luca Keun, Marichelle Visagie, Melissa van Zyl, Milla Coetzee, Nompha Raphalalani, Phophi Nematangari, Zionne Grobler.

UJ: Muhluri Hlatshwayo, Henlize Basson, Zene de Waal, Zanell Blignaut, Owethu Ngubane, Londeka Buthelezi, Boitumelo Mahloko, Sanelisiwe Ntobela, Yanke Broodryk, Adivhaho Tshivhiahuvhi, Cornelia Mupenda, Mukhatshelwa Tshisikhawe.