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.
🏆 Varsity Netball champions🏆@TuksSport lift the trophy after an incredible final that saw UJ make an epic comeback to end the game in a draw & force it into extra time where the Stripe Generation won it by 2 goals.
Proudly brought to you by FNB & Suzuki.#ShowYourColours pic.twitter.com/iVeOakWN5v — Varsity Netball (@VarsityNetball) September 18, 2023
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.
HALF TIME and @UJ_Sport started the second quarter by coming back to take the lead, but @TuksSport regrouped and applied the pressure to force several mistakes from the Orange Army. The Stripe Generation go into the break with the lead.
Tuks 26-22 UJ #ShowYourColours pic.twitter.com/szhlzosXTn — Varsity Netball (@VarsityNetball) September 18, 2023
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.
End of Q3 and @TuksSport starting to find some momentum. Coach Jenny had some strong words in the @Suzuki_ZA strategy break and it worked. Powerplay called and they use it effectively in the championship quarter to widen the lead to 10 goals.
Tuks 43 - 33 UJ #ShowYourColours pic.twitter.com/eFN8S3qW63 — Varsity Netball (@VarsityNetball) September 18, 2023
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.
FULL TIME and a thilling game ends in a draw after an epic UJ comeback! We go into extra time to decide who will be crowned Varsity Netball 2023 champions!
Tuks 51-51 UJ
Proudly brought to you by FNB and Suzuki. #ShowYourColours pic.twitter.com/JboIhgVn1y — Varsity Netball (@VarsityNetball) September 18, 2023
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.
FULL TIME and @TuksSport are your Varsity Netball 2023 champions after beating UJ in extra time of an absolutely epic final at a packed Rembrandt Hall in Pretoria.
Tuks 63-61 UJ
Proudly brought to you by FNB and Suzuki.#ShowYourColours pic.twitter.com/gG7KZQqqCI — Varsity Netball (@VarsityNetball) September 18, 2023
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.