Improved SPAR SA Lose Series

by | Jan 26, 2007

It was a different venue but very nearly exactly the same result as the SPAR SA Netball team took on England in the second Test at the Manchester Evening News Arena in England on Thursday night.

The South Africans managed to narrow the gap between themselves and the English by two goals (having lost 67-30 in Birmingham) but have now lost the series, with just one more Test to play.

Once again the South Africans didn’t have a bad start, putting some early pressure on the English. They took a 3-1 lead and thanks to some uncharacteristic mistakes from the home side managed to just stay in front until England equalised on 4-4.

The SA side was doing all the hard work to get the ball down court but then it was the final pass into the circle that let them down.

England captain Amanda Newton (named as player of the match in the first Test in Birmingham) again stood out for the English, managing several intercepts and keeping the possession in England’s favour.

With the score having reached five, the South Africans seemed to come to a halt, allowing England to score seven unanswered goals. The home side made the most of their height advantage in the circle, using long passes to their shooters who made few mistakes in netting their shots.

This saw them finishing the quarter 15 goals ahead on 17-6.

The second quarter saw SA captain Karin Venter (who still has a heavily strapped knee after surgery) coming on at centre with Berger moving to wing attack. But the South Africans battled to find the net at all, making it easy for the English to extend their lead considerably.

The SA side were just too slow, and despite a slight improvement towards the end of the quarter, went into half time 34-15 down.

SA coach Burta de Kock rung in the changes for the third quarter bringing Burger back on at centre, Anchen du Plessis in at wing defense Nana Mochaka on at wing attack and Annari Store at goal attack.

The combinations seemed to work and the SA side had a much better quarter, holding England to 12-12. But the huge deficit from the first half meant the end-of-third-quarter score was far from encouraging as the visitors went into the final 15 minutes still 21 goals down.

De Kock stuck with the same seven for the final quarter but without the same result. Once again the South Africans battled to keep possession as far as the circle and the English ran away with the match.

"For us I think tonight showed that we are moving forward," said SA captain Venter afterwards.

"You could definitely see an improvement and I think the big difference between tonight and the last Test is that we improved throughout the game whereas the last time we started well but got worse and then it’s difficult to keep your head up."

De Kock also felt slightly happier than she did in Birmingham, especially with the third quarter result but admitted: "We are still too hesitant and too afraid. We need to stay focussed and be more confident.

“I think what was different about that third quarter is that we were trusting each other more and the fresh legs also helped,” said de Kock.

"What we need now is for everyone to be on the same fitness level and the same level of basic skills and to have confidence in each other but that can only come from spending more time together on court."

The third and final Test takes place at the Wembley Arena in London on Saturday evening.

Progressive match scoreline:
First quarter: 17-6
Second quarter: 35-14
Third quarter: 47-26
Full Time: England: 65; South Africa: 30

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