South Africa

Mixed bag for Netball Proteas

2015-05-16 07:56
Netball SA logo (File)

Belfast, Northern Ireland - The SPAR Netball Proteas opened their European Championships campaign on Thursday with a bag of mixed fortunes. The South Africa’s ended day one of the five day tournament winning and losing a game.

In their opening match of the invitational event being played in Belfast, Northern Ireland, South Africa struggled to beat Scotland 45-36. The Proteas have never lost to Scotland and in their last test series played in Cape Town in 2014, the home side convincingly beat the Scots 3-0 in a warm up series ahead of the Commonwealth Games.  

But on Thursday a “sluggish” Protea outfit found themselves fighting from the start, lost the first quarter, but regrouped through the tough match to find the victory.

"Although we had a bad start, the whole squad showed great character to get over the line for the win” said Maryka Holtzhausen the SPAR Protea Captain.

“Clinical passages of through court play and great defense turned the score around. I am very proud of the whole squad for getting the win.”

Bennie Saayman the Protea coach said that she was satisfied with the opening win against the Scots and was convinced that her team with more international exposure would become an excellent unit.

But then the South African side in their second match on the opening day faced a different opponent. England, the world number three ranked side, and tournament favourites, were always going to pose the biggest threat to the Proteas throughout the tournament. And England certainly were on song as they thumped South Africa 69-33.

Despite the score line, Protea Captain Holtzhausen said she felt her team were better than what the scoreboard showed at the end of the match.

“There were great moments and passages of play in the match, but they were few and far between. Our basics also let us down. We must take the positives from this game and win the rest ahead of us. Everyone in the squad now knows what it is going to take to compete against the top 4 in the world, so now we have to lift the intensity and bounce back." 

Bennie Saayman the Protea coach was disappointed with her teams result against England. ‘Our girls made too many basic mistakes , struggled to feed the circle and other influences had an impact."

Today (Friday) the SPAR Proteas take on hosts Northern Ireland (18h30 local time) who have made huge progress over the years in netball and have moved just outside the top ten of the world rankings. The task will be great for South Africa as the Irish are seen by many as the “dark horse” team of the tournament and have important hometown advantage. 

"Going through the disappointment of yesterday’s loss, brought us closer together as a team and even more determined to better our performance today” said Holtzhausen.

“We looking to go out on court and get the basics right”.    

Saayman said that she was convinced that the true South African spirit will be visible on court against Northern Ireland and constructive netball be the highlight.

The team collectively said they wanted to thank South Africa for the support.

“We really appreciate the support from South Africa and just want to make you proud" concluded Holtzhausen.

Read more on:    netball

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