The SPAR Proteas fell to a narrow 54-51 loss to England in the first game of their three-match series that runs from 5-10 December 2023. This was the first time the two teams met since the Quad Series that took place at the beginning of year in Cape Town.
“Overall, I am impressed with how we played especially in the second half. I think we will produce some big players from this group soon.”SPAR Proteas Head Coach Norma Plummer
It was a nervy start for both sides in the first quarter but it was the hosts that got on the scoreboard first and England led the first stanza 16-11. The Vitality Roses then took confidence from their lead and took charge of the match and dictated terms for the better part of the second quarter.
Coach Plummer made one change introducing Kamogelo Maseko at Goal Attack in place of Nichole Taljaard after England won Q2 30-22.
The Proteas were a different team in the third quarter as they challenged England and took the game to them every chance they got. England coach Jess Thirlby made wholesome changes in quick succession, which worked in South Africa’s favour.
The team was more settled and stable but coach Plummer was forced to make a change when Phumza Maweni limped off. She was replaced by Nicola Smith at the back, who played very well with Karla Pretorius. South Africa took the quarter 14-13, with the overall score 43-36.
The fourth and final quarter was no different for the visitors who started the same way they ended. A couple of changes saw skipper Bongiwe Msomi and Khanyisa Chawane being rested, replaced by Jeante Strydom and Refiloe Nketsa.
Despite the inexperienced side on the court, South Africa did not back down from the challenge. A gutsy display of netball earned them a 15-11 win in the quarter, reducing the scoreline to just three points, but England ultimately secured the victory.
Proteas coach Plummer said she was proud of how her team fought back against England and believes her side are always improving.
“I think we made it very hard for ourselves when you consider how we started. It was very nervy for us, and we couldn’t pass the ball high enough and played to England’s strength. We came back and eventually got it right,” said Plummer. “Some of the mistakes we spoke to the girls about in training, they had to see for themselves now on the court – I believe that they will be better and do better next time we take them to court.
Vitality Roses vs Spar Proteas Test Series (All times CAT)
Tue 5 Dec: England 54-51 South Africa
Sat 9 Dec, 19:00: Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham
Sun 10 Dec, 16:00: at Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham
First Test Score Breakdown:
Q1 – Vitality Roses 16 – 11 SPAR Proteas
Q2 – Vitality Roses 30 – 22 SPAR Proteas
Q3 – Vitality Roses 43 – 36 SPAR Proteas
Q4 – Vitality Roses 54 – 51 SPAR Proteas
SPAR Proteas starting VII:
Ine Mari Venter – GS
Nichole Taljaard – GA
Bongiwe Msomi – WA
Khanyisa Chawane – C
Karla Pretorius – GD
Jeante Strydom – WD
Phumza Maweni – GK
Photo caption: The Spar Proteas suffered a narrow loss to England but coach Norma Plummer was happy with how her team fought back in the first of their three-match series from 5-10 December in the first encounter between the teams since the Quad Series in Cape Town. Photo: Netball SA on X