Netball Western Cape president Bennie Saayman is reasonably happy with the way the 2020 season went, despite the disruption brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tannie Bennie, as she is affectionately known, said it was good and there were many positives.
We could choose teams for the Telkom National League and that was a wonderful thing. What was encouraging is that nobody stood back or shied away from exercising.
Everybody had a new experience with online training programs which was something completely foreign to us. And while it was not ideal it kept everybody busy and it was a new challenge for everyone.
Yes, we had to postpone our tournaments, but netball was no exception, it was the same for all sporting codes. However, nobody became pessimistic about it and even though Western Cape Netball had to forfeit the national championships that were supposed to take place in Stellenbosch we stayed positive.
I am very glad that we could choose two teams, because that is confirmation to us that we have enough players with potential in the Western Cape to select 30 players for our two top teams.
We could launch the National League and for that, we are very grateful to JP Naude and the Western Cape Provincial Sport Confederation, who helped us tremendously with that launch event.
So our two teams could go to Bloemfontein and compete for the national titles. It started at the beginning of October and they had to stay in a bio bubble for two weeks and thereafter the tournament was played over two weeks.
The Stings finished fourth and we obviously wanted a better result but we must be honest and admit our girls were not court ready. I do not want to use it as an excuse, but our players just were not court ready enough and also not game-fit.
The Tornados finished third in the B-Division. We thought they could win it, but we are happy with that result.
The National Championships were also postponed and only took place from 6 – 12 December in Bella Bella. Only Cape Town could go. Cape Winelands had financial problems and several of West Coast’s players could not get leave from work and the other districts experienced the same problem.
We are very glad for Cape Town that they could go and compete in the senior section and the under 21 division. The senior team finished fourth.
So, yes, it was a strange year, but nobody is pessimistic. We are ready for 2021. We had good planning sessions during the lockdown period and the Western Cape executive team had regular meetings.
We are optimistic that we can start early next year and pick up speed quickly. Everybody has their programs, and we are looking forward to a good season next year.
For more information about Western Cape Netball, visit http://www.wpnetballunion.co.za/