The junior SPAR Proteas launched their World Youth Netball Championships search for gold in perfect style, beating the dangerous Fiji 64-32 to give themselves an early shot at qualifying for the knock-out stages of the 2013 World Youth Netball Championship on Saturday in Glasgow, Scotland.
The ‘SPAR Baby Proteas’ were quick to get going against potential Quarter Final contenders Fiji, and despite a boisterous support crew for their opponents, South Africa stormed ahead to take a vast first-quarter lead of 17 goals to 7.
The second quarter saw a Fijian side (also known as the ‘Baby Pearls’) suddenly burst with energy. Under the leadership and example of Captain Raijieli Daveua, who’s relentless work rate earned her multiple interceptions and tips, Fiji looked energised.
However, they struggled to take the ball into their attacking third as South Africa’s mid court defence closed down their options. South Africa speedily sent the ball into GS Danelle Willemse who skilfully landed close to the post. Willemse went on to score 39 of South Africa’s goals.
Unfortunately for Fiji, they lacked some communication in their shooting circle, and a dummy pass from Afa Rusivakila which caught Unouna Rauluni off guard, was snapped up by the South Africans. South Africa lead by 24 goals at half time, allowing Coach Dorette Badenhorst to make five positional changes.
Despite having some of their best moments in the third and fourth quarters, Fiji had left themselves too much to do. They lost the third quarter by just five goals and the fourth by three.
Up against a talented and experienced team supported by a boistrous fan contingent who’s cheering, flag waving and chanting lasted right up to the final whistle, Badenhorst said after the match; “This was a very important game for us to win, we are working hard to go for a medal this year, and are looking to cause some upsets in our pool.”
Pool A Fixtures at the World Youth Netball Championship, in Glasgow, Scotland: 24 Aug: SA 64-32 Fiji 25 Aug: SA vs Israel (18h45 SA time) 26 Aug: SA vs Namibia (18h15 SA time) 27 Aug: SA vs Australia (16h00 SA time) The SPAR Under-21 National Netball Team: Deancke Rohde Danielle Willemse Mari-Lena Joubert Lisa-Marie Wiese Bongolethu Ngobeni Izette Lubbe Simphiwe Sithebe (captain) Nobubele Phuza Rochelle Lawson (vice-captain) Shadine van der Merwe Kefiloe Tsotetsi Zandre Kruger
(Editorial by Harriet Millard, Planet Netball / BLD Communications, with editing by gsport)