The 2019 SASN Secondary Schools Championships concluded on Sunday at Hoërskool Dr EG Jansen, with certain schools emerging as dominant across the four age groups.
Following two exciting days of netball, Afrikaanse Hoër Meisieskool Pretoria (AHMP) secured the showpiece Under-19 title in the Botho division. They did so by comfortably beating Rustenburg High School 35-23 in a thrilling end-to-end final. Apart from the spoils of victory, the Affies girls also made up for last year's tournament when they had to settle for the runners-up medals.
Meanwhile, the Ubuntu division was won by defending champions Manzomthombo Secondary School of the Western Cape, who managed to narrowly sneak past Gauteng's Phahama Secondary School 18-16 in a highly entertaining final contest.
As with the previous two days, Day 3 of the championships, featured a jam-packed schedule of highly-competitive netball.
The Under-14 Botho division was also won by AHMP, with Hoër Meisieskool Oranje and Helpmekaar Kollege earning themselves silver and bronze finishes. In the Under-14 Ubuntu division, Modilati Secondary School claimed gold, with the second and third place going the way of Joubertina Junior Secondary School and Bela-Bela Secondary School.
AHMP continued a trend by claiming he Under-16 Botho division too. Meanwhile, Dinamika and Menlopark had to settle for silver and bronze. As it happens, Modilati were also familiar winners - claiming the Under-16 Ubuntu title - Wolseley of the Western Cape took up the second spot, before Machakela-Mamodibo Secondary School claimed the final podium finish.
In the The Under-17 Botho division, AHMP had to settle for silver, with Klerksdorp proving too strong in the final to deny the girls from a clean sweep across the age groups. Waterkloof finished third. Modilati, meanwhile, secured a threepeat of their own by winning the the Under-17 Ubuntu gold, with a sublime win over Khayalami Secondary School in the final, with Limpopo's Mohlamme doing well in their 3rd/4th-place playoff to complete their tournament in third.
The championships, throughout all age groups, produced some phenomenal individual performances which were rewarded with 'Twizza Player of the Moment' awards.
In the Under-14 category, Amone Wessels of Durbanville claimed the honours there, whilst Ceesha Booth (Portland) won the Under-16 award, with Flolinda Truter (Oranje), and Michelle Geduld (Rustenburg) walked away with the award for the the Under-17 and -19 age groups.
Amanda Mynhardt, head coach of Afrikaanse Hoër Meisieskool (AHMP) – 2018 runners-up come 2019 champions – was beaming as she briefly discussed what motivated her team to go all the way this time around.
“After losing last year's final [against Menlopark - who failed to qualify this year], it was a tough bullet to bite. But coming back this year, we had a new team and new goals, and we wanted to become the best team in the country, so we just came out and did that.”
Mynhardt was also very impressed with the level at which teams played at in this year's competition, making it a very competitive run to the trophy.
“The tournament was great, I think the standard of play was very good, especially when the playoffs started. It was tough, but in the end we knew that the team that stayed composed would win the competition.”
Before going onto celebrate with the AHMP camp, Mynhardt reflected on their final match against Rustenburg.
“It was an incredible final and I must say well done to Rustenburg, who really played well with a very strong team that had a solid defence as well as attack. I really think they also went out there and put in a great effort but unfortunately there has to be a winner and a loser.”
AHMP captain Jeanne Minnaar also reflected on her team's experience at this year's SASN Secondary Schools Championships – which was much expanded from 2018
“The championships this year were so great. We really enjoyed every single game we played, where we always just played our hearts out, right until the end.”
Minnaar was a part of the AHMP team that lost out to Menlopark in the 2018, but claimed that theur approach in this years competition was always a positive one despite the hurt from 2018.
“This time around, we just trusted in our training and the way we prepared for the tournament. This led us to really create a symphony on the court, which made us genuinely look to better our performance in comparison to last year's one and fortunately things worked out in our favour,” Minnaar concluded.