SPAR Proteas Lose Final Match as England Win Series 2-1 

The SPAR Proteas' final match against England was emotional for more than one reason. South Africa went into match with the series level at 1-1 but their hosts managed to seal the series winning the final match 53-50 on Sunday 10 December 2023. Photo: Supplied

The SPAR Proteas’ final match against England was emotional for more than one reason. South Africa went into match with the series level at 1-1 but their hosts managed to seal the series winning the final match 53-50 on Sunday 10 December 2023. 

Last night’s game marked the last one for Norma Plummer as head coach of the Proteas, a position she returned to as the team wanted to maximise their chances of success at this year’s Netball World Cup.

Returning to the series, Plummer would have liked to leave the team with a series win, but it wasn’t meant to be. The three matches saw fine margins with both teams only being within a few points of one another in the two previous meetings. 

Sunday’s game saw the Vitality Roses get a good start as they managed to neutralise the Proteas in their fast-paced game, causing the visitors to make errors, resulting in England winning the first quarter 16-11. It was much of the same in the second quarter as Jess Thirlby’s side tried to exert more pressure, however, South Africa then dug deep and won the quarter 14-13. 

Plummer made some changes for the third quarter and brought on Bongi Msomi for Khanyisa Chawane, while Jeante Strydom was replaced by Boitumelo Mahloko to play in her first match of the series. In the third quarter, both teams were level at 13-all, bringing the overall score to 42-38 in favour of England.

The SPAR Proteas had an error-strewn fourth quarter, allowing England to gain precious possession turnovers. Although South Africa started with a fightback, it was a little too late as their opponents sealed the narrow win in Nottingham.  

Despite the result not going the way of Plummer’s team, she says she is proud to have led this side and knows they are on the right path to achieving bigger and better things. 

“I have had the privilege of working with the best bunch of players in this South African team. Unfortunately, we did not win the series, but I can assure you that we have built something here and I can only hope that the team grows from here. I’d like to wish the team well and thank them for a great second stint. The time is now for Netball South Africa and netball in South Africa to grow.”

Plummer’s exit will leave a void with players, and captain Msomi is one of those players who has a close relationship with the Australian. Msomi says Plummer’s arrival saw them improve and become one of the teams that can compete at a top level. 

“She changed us from being there to participate to actually wanting to compete and win. I always believed that winning is a culture and the more you can start seeing that you are capable of it and start believing it before anyone else does, the more you can see the change. She has brought that to us.” 

Meanwhile, Phumza Maweni says Plummer played an integral role in giving her the confidence to be the netball player she is today.

“She gave me a lot of confidence to trust my ability and she had a huge impact on my netball career. She is an amazing human for me.” 

Team stalwart Karla Pretorius says it has been a pleasure to work with Plummer since her first stint with her team. 

“I count myself as one of the lucky ones to have worked with Norma since she came aboard back in 2015. I remember when we were informed that Norma was going to be our coach, we couldn’t believe it, and working with her exceeded all my expectations of her.”

Third Test Score Breakdown

Q1 – Vitality Roses 16 – 11 SPAR Proteas
Q2 – Vitality Roses 29 – 25 SPAR Proteas
Q3 – Vitality Roses 42 – 38 SPAR Proteas
Q4 – Vitality Roses 53 – 50 SPAR Proteas

England vs South Africa Test Series from 5-10 December, 2023

Tue 5 Dec: England 54-51 SPAR Proteas
Sat 9 Dec: England 59-61 SPAR Proteas
Sun 10 Dec: England 53-50 SPAR Proteas


Main Photo Caption: South Africa went into match with the series level at 1-1 but their hosts managed to seal the series, winning the final match 53-50 on Sunday 10 December 2023. Photo: Supplied

Photo 2 Caption: The SPAR Proteas’ final match against England was emotional for the visitors, being Coach Norma Plummer’s final assignment with the South African team. Photo: Supplied

Photo 3 Caption: In her final statement as South African coach, Norma Plummer said: “The time is now for Netball South Africa and netball in South Africa to grow.” Photo: Supplied

Photo 4 Caption: The Spar Proteas along with their coach Norma Plummer at their kit launch ahead of the Netball World Cup earlier this year. Photo: Supplied

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