BDF Cats’ perfect season ended in style over the weekend as they won their third successive My Spar, My Botswana netball league title. The ladies from Sir Seretse Khama Barracks edged off fellow army team, TASC Netball team from Francistown 39 ÔÇô 37 to win what was a thrilling game of two halves.
While BDF started brightly and were the dominant side in the first two quarters, TASC dominated the last two quarters and at one point looked likely to wrestle the championship away from Cats. The win means coach Florah Kedibonye’s ‘invincibles’ finish the season without losing a single game while TASC lost their first game in open play this season. On their way to the finals, Cats made easy work of Notwane Netball team as they beat them 51 ÔÇô 38 while TASC inflicted a slim 4 points margin defeat on UB Crystals, who they beat 45 ÔÇô 41. While TASC were the first to draw blood, in the first quarter of their final clash, thanks to their towering goal shooter Violet Moabi, it was BDF Cats who settled down first and deservedly ended the quarter leading 11 ÔÇô 7. As expected, it was the Cats’ duo of goal shooter Tebogo Radipotsane and goal attacker Hildah Binang who took the game to the Tango Girls, as TASC is called within the netballing circles.
With the help of other national team players like centre player Gagotheko Tshelametsi who brilliantly linked the play and literally helped stop the supply to the dangerous Moabi upfront, Cats looked like they were going to win the race at a canter. TASC’s saving grace in the game was in the form of Moabi, who was giving BDF and national team Goalkeeper Ntebogang Motlakaloso a hard time at the back. The second quarter was more of the same as BDF easily won it by a similar margin of 11 ÔÇô 7 to ensure they went to the half time break leading 22 ÔÇô 14. While Radipotsane shouldered most of the goal scoring responsibility in the first quarter, the second quarter belonged to Binang, who seemed to find the net basket with relative ease.
While BDF had dominated the first half, the second half belonged to TASC and Moabi in particular. With the help of a substitute centre player to link play and break Cats’ attack as the redeployment of Kelebogile Mangole from centre circle to wing defence, a good supply to Moabi was restored and the towering forward buried almost everything that came her way as TASC took control of the proceedings and threatened to win the game which had at one point looked out of their reach. By the end of the third quarter, the Tango Girls had shaded the illustrious Cats and deservedly won the quarter 9 ÔÇô 7 to reduce BDF Cats’ overall lead to 29 ÔÇô 23. The Tango Girls carried their momentum into the fourth quarter and came very close to grabbing the title from the Cats. Inspired by their third quarter performance, TASC played an inspired quarter and at one point pulled level on points with Cats. With her supply lines opened, Moabi literally dragged her team back into the title reckoning as she bullied the Cats defence, scoring almost all her team’s fourth quarter goals in the process. Though they won the last quarter 14 ÔÇô 10, TASC’s comeback was however too little too late as BDF slightly edged them 39 ÔÇô 37 to retain their title. For their efforts, Cats went away with gold medals and a P20 000 cheque, thanks to My Spar Botswana while TASC had to settle for silver and a P18 000 cheque.
Third place went to UB Crystals who came from behind to beat Notwane 49 ÔÇô 45 in another close encounter. After a slow start in the opening two quarters of the match, Crystals played an inspired third and fourth quarters to take home the silver medals. For their efforts, Crystals walked off with bronze medals and a P15 000 cheque while Notwane had to be content with a P12 000 cheque.
In the individual categories, BDF’s trio of Motlakaloso, Tshelametsi and Binang were selected best goalkeeper, best mid court player and best attacker respectively while Notwane’s Kamogelo Lekoko was voted the overall Best Player.