After a gruelling five weeks of group stages and semis, it’s finally come down to the strongest teams of the season, Kovsies and UP-Tuks, who will battle it out on Monday evening. Both teams have had a fantastic season building up to the Varsity Netball finals and the winner is anyone’s guess.
The University of the Free State’s Kovsies have really shown their mettle. After drawing to North West University’s NWU-Pukke early in the group stages, Kovsies truly upped their game and seemed determined to retain their title from last year. And they proved a force to be reckoned with, running riot over most of their competition and beating out their group-stage rivals NWU-Pukke in the semi-finals to book their spot on the finals court. Kovsies coach Burta de Kock has some real fighters in her corner, so expect true grit from this side come Monday night.
UP-Tuks goes into the final unbeaten, but having lost two key players to injury, will be under pressure to keep their record intact. The Pretoria side has had an absolutely flawless season so far and will be mindful of the fact that they had the upper hand over Kovsies in the opening round when they squeaked to a 54-48 victory. UP-Tuks coach Jenny van Dyk says they’ve been more concerned with improving their game than focusing on their competition. “Our most important goal doesn’t involve any other team. It’s to challenge ourselves to set a new standard of play, to be consistently brilliant and brilliantly consistent, and to be brilliantly basic and basically brilliant,” she says.
With De Kock’s side out for revenge after the loss they suffered in front of their home crowd during the group stages, UP-Tuks can expect a tough match on Monday evening in Bloemfontein. And Van Dyk says that spectators can expect a different level of game in the final. “In the first round, both teams were still testing the water and deciding what our rhythm would be, and we’ve both grown and improved tremendously since that first game,” she observes.
With the tremendous amount of talent on display, Monday night’s final promises to be a nail-biting spectacle of entertainment and sporting prowess. The match takes place at 18:45 in the UP-Tuks Rembrand Hall. It will be aired on Channel 208 and 210, so be sure not to miss out on the action.