DEFENDING Bulawayo Metropolitan Province Netball League champions Ntutu Sparrows fired warning shots ahead of the 2014 season when they beat ZRP Bulawayo 12-9 in the final of the season opening tournament at Raylton Sports Club on Saturday.
Sparrows ran riot in the league winning most games, but lost once to Railstars last season although they did not play five games as teams failed to fulfil fixtures.
Most teams were using the tournament as preparation for the 2014 season expected to start on a yet to be confirmed venue next month. In the semi-finals the champions beat ZRP Ntabazinduna 14-3 with ZRP Bulawayo booking a slot in the final with a 17-11 victory over Freestars.
Sparrows started the tournament with a 12-2 victory over Nkankezi Primary before 19-5 and 26-5 victories over Amhlophe Secondary and Blanket Mine respectively in Pool A.
In Pool B, ZRP Bulawayo beat Mgoqo Primary 28-3, Lobengula Queens 25-3, handed Northlea High School a 19-0 defeat before dismissing Nkulumane 33-3 while ZRP Ntabazinduna made it to the semi-finals from Pool C following a 19-1 win over Josiah Chinamano, a 12-6 victory over Sobukhazi Secondary and 11-7 triumph over Zimpost.
Freestars recorded a win over Fairbridge 11-9, 16-6 against Gwabalanda, walloping Golden Girls 20-2 and overcoming Old Nic 29-6 in Pool D.
League secretary Precious Mudenge said there had been a good response to the tournament.
“The response was overwhelming. We had 18 teams and three of them were primary schools. Some primary schools beat secondary schools and league teams showing the level of competition that was there. There was stiff competition with the teams separated by marginal goal differences. It shows that the league will be very tough and exciting,” she said.
Mudenge who is also Sparrows’ coach, was happy with her team’s performance in the tournament.
“The final game against ZRP Bulawayo, the Super League returnees, gave us a chance to see our weaknesses ahead of the start of the season.
“The win was also a morale booster,” she said.