Cape Town - England clinched the SPAR Challenge international netball series at the Bellville Velodrome on Saturday with a 59-53 victory over South Africa’s Protea to go two up in the three-Test series.
The Roses won the first Test on Friday 63-58 in extra time.
The match was hard fought with two sides trading goal for goal for much of the time.
The England goal defence, Francesca Williams, had an outstanding game, with a number of turnovers.
After the first quarter, England led 16-12.
The Proteas made some headway in the second quarter, outscoring the Roses 15-13, to reduce the deficit to 29-27 at half-time.
South African coach Dorette Badenhorst made several changes during the match, bringing Sigrid Burger on as goal shooter and moving Lenize Potgieter to goal attack in the second quarter, and bringing on Rome Dreyer as centre in the third quarter, with Izette Griesel moving to wing attack.
The two sides shared the third quarter, scoring 14 goals each.
The Proteas drew level midway through the final quarter at 48-48, but then England gradually pulled away.
“We didn’t get as many turnovers as we did yesterday,” said Badenhorst.
“We were right in the game until the last few minutes, but then I think they lost focus. I believe we can win tomorrow and we will certainly be going all out to do that.”
She said that in the two years before the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022, the Proteas needed to play as much international netball as possible.
“We need to play teams like England A and Australia A – non-ranking matches where we can try out combinations. We need to replace players like Maryka Holtzhausen and Erin Burger and you can’t be trying out combinations in ranking matches,” said Badenhorst.
Proteas captain Bongi Msomi said it was disappointing to have lost the series, but her team believed they could win the final match on Sunday.
“Erin and Maryka have left a huge gap, but we need to step up to the next level,” she said.
“I have great respect for South Africa and we know we are going to have a hard match tomorrow,” said England coach Jess Thirlby.
“It has been an exciting series and I am impressed by the depth on the South African bench.
“I think both teams can go away pleased with their performance in this series”.
Player of the match went to Roses captain Nathalie Haythornthwaite.
Earlier, the Baby Proteas beat Lesotho U-21 76-21, to clinch the series.
The final matches will be played on Sunday, with the curtain raiser at 11:00 and the main match starting at 13:00.
- Netball South Africa