The SPAR South African Netball team went into their third fixture of the Quad Series looking to make amends after two disappointing losses against New Zealand and Australia and, although they lost the 62-53 to England in Sydney this morning, the Proteas certainly made the country proud.
The South African women started the match well with the lead constantly changing hands between the teams to end the first quarter trailing by only 1 point, with a score of 13-12.
The Proteas really found their form in the second quarter. They lead the world number three-ranked England early in the second quarter, with Chrisna Bootha on fire for the senior national netball team. Bootha scored 19 off her 21 attempts at goal after the first two quarters, and the SPAR Proteas led England 27-25 at half-time.
The third quarter saw the Proteas go through a nervous start, and England were quick to capitalise with the South Africans conceded their lead 2 minutes after the restart whistle.
England led the SPAR Proteas by three goals, 32-29 four minutes into the third quarter, and soon increased their lead to five points before the SPAR Proteas fought back to level scores, at 36-all in the tenth minute.
But the respite was illusory for South Africa, who saw their deficit slide to 44-39 at the end of the third quarter in the face of a dominant England, and while the game was still in reach, a sober reading of the state of the match had England in the driving seat.
England led by six points for most of the last quarter but the Proteas stayed in the hunt in the first 10 minutes of the quarter, but as England increased their lead to eight points in the 12th minute the game began to slip away, and nerves lead to the South Africans failing to convert a few chances.
Among the positives for South Africa will be the shooting accuracy of Goal Shooter Chrisna Bootha (42 goals from 44 shots)
Though the SPAR Proteas lost by 9 points in the end, this was by far their most inspiring performance in the Quad series, and the Series departs from Australian shores to continue the Quad Series in the New Zealand leg, starting for South Africa against Australia in Wellington on Thursday, 25 October.
Quad-Series Fixtures for the SPAR Proteas: Sun 14 Oct: New Zealand 63-27 South Africa (Adelaide) Wed 17 Oct: Australia 63-31 South Africa (Newcastle) Sun 21 Oct: England 62-53 South Africa (Sydney) Thu 25 Oct: Australia v South Africa (Wellington) Sun 28 Oct: New Zealand v South Africa (Invercargill) Thu 1 Nov: England v South Africa (Hamilton) The SA Netball Squad for the 2012 Quad Series: Chrisna Bootha Maryka Holtzhausen Melissa Myburgh Lindie Lombard Nadia Uys Bongiwe Msomi Thuli Qegu Zanele Mdodana (Vice-Captain) Vanes-Mari du Toit Karla Mostert Amanda Mynhardt (Captain) Adele Niemand