Netballers square off in northern derby

KEAGAN MITCHELL

The match was billed as the biggest school netball game of the season because the top two schools in Cape Town were facing off for ultimate bragging rights.

Fans were not disappointed as the game lived up to expectation, with De Kuilen narrowly beating Stellenberg 21-19.

The girls in blue, however, bounced back, beating Tygerberg and Brackenfell 36-17 and 40-12, respectively.

Stellenberg ended the competition in second place behind De Kuilen and have qualified for the Western Cape Top Schools competition, along with Brackenfell who finished in third place.

A former Durbanville Primary School pupil, Courtleigh said De Kuilen beat them because they made silly errors but believed her team did well to beat Tygerberg and Brackenfell convincingly.

“This week coming we will work on the basics and lift our game. We are positive and going to work hard to qualify for the national schools’ championships,” she said.

Last month she made the Western Cape schools’ under-18 team that will now play at nationals, later this month, in Boksburg, Johannesburg. The youngster has made back-to-back WC sides since she was under 12.The competition at the WC trials was tough because there is always a newcomer.

“You need to prove yourself every year. It does not mean because you were previously selected that you will automatically make it again.

“I stayed focused and played naturally because it was important that I stayed on top of my game and not worry about my opponents,” she said.

Last year the youngster had a great season as her school side were crowned under-18 WC champs while they came second at the South African school championships.

They also won the Wildeklawer tournament, hosted by Hoerskool Diamantveld, in Kimberly.

Behr believes sacrifice, dedication, consistency and having the right support system are the keys to success.

She is grateful for everything she has achieved thus far but could not have done it without her parents , Bartholomew and Anthea, and her coaches.

“I could have not done any of it without the blessings and talent I got from God and all the extra help I got at netball clinics by Elenor Bok who runs the WP netball academy and Kay Baron who is a former SA player.

“The support from my family and community has also helped a lot, whether it be taking me to an extra practice or helping my parents hold a fundraiser,” she said.

The youngster praises her coach Joana Winterbach and her former teammates for everything they did to make her the player she is today.

“When I first became part of my school’s first team I was a baby in the team and senior players such as Cindi Pretorius, Mieke Brink, Elmarie Swanepool and Nichole Taaljaard helped me a lot to improve my performance.

“Coach Joana coached me at under-14 and moved me straight into the first team and she has never stopped motivating me and always tells me to strive for my best,” she said.

Stellenberg’s under-18 side have been in fine form this season and are unbeaten in the league thus far, beating Tygerberg, Bellville and DF Malan high schools and the Western Cape Sport School.

On top of that, their entire first team also made the Western Province schools’ side and eight of the 10-member squad made the Western Cape schools’ side.