Heat on the inter-schools court

Stellenberg netball captain Zeandre Nel is cherred on by her teammates after they thrashed Durbanville 51-11 during their inter-schools encounter at the weekend.

It was a packed house at Stellenberg High School, when they hosted their annual inter-schools tournament against Durbanville, at the weekend.

Among the sporting codes that were contested during the week-long festivities were long distance running, golf, hockey, netball and rugby. Other activities included debating and an art evening.

One of the big highlights was the girls and boys under-19A netball and rugby matches. The home-side supporters were not disappointed as their netball side beat Durbanville 51-11 and the rugby team won 31-10.

Although sidelined by a knee injury, netball captain Zeandré Nel, 18, provided support and motivation from the sidelines as her side ended their league season on a high.

Zeandré, a Grade 12 pupil, said her team played well but there is always room for improvement.

“Although I was not on the court it did not stop me from being a leader towards them.

“Everything I tell them is positive and we played one of our best games this season.

“We had a good team spirit and great communication that played a big part in our victory,” she said.

Zeandré suffered the injury in a friendly match against Maties, in July. That match was to help them prepare for the South African Top Schools.

Last month, Stellenberg’s under-19A side came sixth at the SA Top Schools championships, in Johannesburg.

They qualified for the national tournament after coming in the top three at the WC and WP Top Schools, at De Kuilen High, in Kuils River, earlier this year.

Although they lost one game at the WP and WC Top Schools, Zeandré believes it made them a stronger team.

“As captain I told my team that it is okay to lose because you can’t always win everything. We put that behind us and did well at the South African Top Schools.

“I believe that it is not the strength of an individual player that is most important but the strength of the team and how they all function together. We are not only teammates but friends off the court as well,” said Zeandré.

The former Eversdal Primary School pupil has been a regular in the WP set up since she played under-13. She also made the national schools squad on two occasions.

Zeandré said she feels good about what she has achieved and hopes to one day to play for the Protea netball team.

“Those nerve wracking moments when the selectors call out your name because you made a specific squad is something special.

“I am a dedicated person who knows that the only way to get something in life is to work hard and giving your best,” she said.

The Stellenberg under-19A side will be favourites going into the Western Province High School netball finals, at Bellville High School next weekend because they are the top ranked school in Cape Town.

However, their biggest test will come from De Kuilen, who beat them narrowly 21-19 earlier this year.

“Although we are first in the super league we will have our work cut out. We need to show why we number one in Cape Town and do our best,” said Zeandré.

Stellenberg qualified for the WP high school netball finals because they finished in the top four of their league.

Zeandré started playing netball at a young age, when her parents, Marlet and John enrolled her at a netball clinic at Bellville High School.

“I did all kinds of sports like gymnastics, athletics and swimming, but in the end I chose netball,” she said.

On the academic front, Zeandré hopes to study mechatronic engineering at North-West University Potchefstroom campus, next year.