England Too Strong for SPAR Proteas

Rachel Dunn tries her best to disrupt possession from SPAR Protea’s Adele Niemand, in the first tri-nations test between visitors England and the home team. Despite a brave showing from the South African squad, the England team enforced their superiority to win by 49 goals to 39, in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday, 23 October, 2013. Photo: Iky Plakonouris

In a great display of international netball, the SPAR Proteas went head to head against netball powerhouse England on Wednesday night. Despite putting in a strong effort, and leading in the early stages of the game, the English side proved too strong for the South Africans, and ended the game with 49 goals to 39.

(Click here to read the tri-nations opening fixture wrap between South Africa and Trinidad and Tobago)

Cementing the combinations seen in last night’s match, the SPAR Proteas took to the court as a confident unit. The first 15minutes of the game were fast, fiery and intense.

England’s ferocious Serena Guthrie runs away with the ball, against South Africa’s Precious Mthembu and Bongi Msomi. Serena was praised for her performance by coach Ana Mayes after the match. Photo: Iky PlakonourisThe South African attack, which has been worked on by Dr Elsje Jordaan looked smooth and controlled as the ball was driven up to goal shooter Chrisna Bootha.

At one stage, the SPAR Proteas led the game, and it was evident that they were more confident in the goal circle as their play was riskier, and it worked for them. England cranked up the power towards the end of the 15 minutes, and ended the first quarter with a 13-12 lead.

It was the second quarter that let the SPAR Proteas down, as the match got a bit scrappy from both sides. Both teams made a few unforced errors and the South African shooters missed a number of shots at goal, which gave the England side the gap to run away with the lead.

The South African defence combination of Adele Niemand, Karla Mostert and Precious Mthembu was as strong as ever, but the attack lacked accuracy in driving the ball into the goal circle and completing the shot. England led at half time 25-18.

England were first to score off their centre in the third quarter and used their lead to run ahead. Eboni Beckford-Chambers had a brilliant game, and put a lot of pressure on the South African attack. Later in that quarter the SPAR Proteas came back fighting and despite being 10 goals down, managed to claw their way back to a three-goal difference.

Only being three goals down in the start of the final quarter should have given the South African side the opportunity they needed, but the England side was just too strong. Ana Mayes made a number of changes to her team, which included moving Jade Clarke from wing defence to centre.

Jade contributed to England’s strong attack, and was awarded player of the match.

“I am obviously disappointed,” said SPAR Proteas coach Elize Kotze after the game. “No one likes losing, and we came back so strong in the third quarter.

“We had more than enough ball turnovers by our defenders to keep us in a competitive game. But we are improving each time, and are not down and out. Tomorrow we will take time to recoup and refocus.”

England coach Ana Mayes said that she was happy with the win; “I am pleased with the win, but it was a competitive game. South Africa is very good at being open in play which put pressure on our shoulders.”

President of Netball South Africa, Mimi Mthethwa said that she was impressed by the SPAR Proteas performance; “We are visibly improving. This is a low score compared to previous matches, so I am happy that we improve step by step.”

England will take on Trinidad and Tobago on Thursday at 17h30. The match will be broadcast live on SuperSport channel 229.

 

(With editing by gsport)

 

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