The visiting side were from Krugersdorp High School, located about 30kms west of Johannesburg, and were at the tail end of a 10-day tour through Malaysia which saw them win all games bar one – a loss to the Malaysian under-18 national side.
Perhaps it was their lack of serious game time, or the significant age gap – more than a couple of decades in some cases – or even the opposition’s daunting pre-game warmup, but the Phuket Bees didn’t look too confident going into the match.
Krugersdorp drew first blood on their opening play, and their rapid passing and swarming defence were an ominous sign for the visibly overwhelmed Bees side.
Before long it was 10-0, and it looked as though a whitewash was on the cards. The Bees managed to get on the board just before half time, but the visitors hit back again on the next play, and led into the break 11-1.
The second half was more of the same, as the game finished 21-3.
Next up the Krugersdorp Under-16 side took to the court, and proved a much more even match. With the visitors leading 7-6 at half time, the Bees played with tremendous spirit to register a 12-11 win and salvage some pride for the islanders.
Bees captain Rachel Duce said the most important part of the game was the learning experience for both sides, particularly for the girls from Phuket who have only recently started playing together.
“They were really good for us... It’s nice for us to be part of good netball, because we don’t get to play against sides of this quality very often.”
Krugersdorp coach Pixie Mountjoy said her team had also appreciated the opportunity to come and play in Southeast Asia.
“It’s a new experience for all of the girls. Most have never been overseas before. Some had never seen the inside of an airport.
“It’s a great learning experience for them because the cultural differences are so huge.”
The Phuket Bees are still looking to recruit more players and potentially create a Phuket league. They hold skills training at BIS on Wednesday from 4.15pm – 5.15pm, and ‘Fun netball’ games on Friday from 4pm-5pm. For more information, contact Rachel at firstname.lastname@example.org