- The SPAR Proteas continued to signal to the netball world that they are on the
rise with a tenacious performance against the world No. 2 team, the Silver
Ferns, in New Zealand on Wednesday.
final score-line was 65-46 in the New Zealanders’ favour, th Proteas
displayed a new confidence and commitment to lead the Silver Ferns, by up to
four goals, well into the second quarter of their Netball Quad Series clash.
“We let the
world know we are prepared to challenge everyone on every team,” Proteas
coach Norma Plummer said after the test match, played in Hamilton. “We
signalled it here tonight, as we did against Australia last weekend.
“It’s such a
great effort, and they’re proving that getting that exposure to the top three
teams in the world is the secret to their growth.”
down to the world champions Australia by 25 goals in the series opener four
days ago, the Proteas came out blazing, and caught the new-look Silver
Ferns on the hop. But inexperience in this intensity of international
netball told on the South Africans in the second half, as the New Zealanders
only grew in stature.
Nevertheless, Proteas captain Bongi Msomi was delighted with her team’s continuing
improvement, but still mindful there is only room to get better in their next
test against the England Roses in Melbourne on Sunday.
“I think all
of our girls really stepped out tonight, and I’m really proud of the Proteas,” she said.
definitely very hard for us to play against such teams, but this is part of our
learning process. We still have to work hard on our consistency. But it’s
definitely making a difference.”
The Proteas made a dream start, stealing a three-goal lead halfway through the
opening quarter, which grew to four, as they maintained the intensity and
strengthened their connections through court.
defenders Karla Mostert and Phumza Maweni were constantly on the hunt, keeping
the New Zealand shooters unusually quiet. Midcourters Precious Mthembu, Erin
Burger and Bongi Msomi worked the ball smartly and cleanly to shooters Renske
Stolz and Lenize Potgieter, who were not afraid to put up their shots from all
showed improved poise under the post, ending the game with a notable 33 goals
from 38 attempts.
16-14 at the first break, the Proteas continued to push the Silver Ferns,
with the untiring Burger driving the play at centre. Burger and Mostert had
bagged four crucial intercepts between them before halftime.
Zealanders found their rhythm halfway through the spell, using the zone defence
to better effect, to lead 32-27 at halftime.
reminding her team they had nothing to lose, Plummer introduced fresh legs in
the form of Izette Lubbe at wing attack and Zanele Vimbela at goal defence. The
changes had an immediate effect, as the Proteas closed the gap to two. But
the Silver Ferns’ attack developed in self-assurance, speed and accuracy, to
build a 46-38 advantage at three-quarter time, before stretching the difference
even further in the final stanza.
give as many of her players the opportunity to further their exposure to top
international netball, Plummer also gave court time to goal attack Lindie
Lombard and goal keep Jeanie Steyn before the final whistle blew.
captain Katrina Grant praised the Proteas for taking the game to them.
“South Africa did a really good job on us tonight,” she said. “Our defence got
caught chasing a bit, and on attack, when they got that ball moving, it looked
pretty impressive. We really had to wear them down.”