The SPAR Netball Proteas will leave Australia proudly satisfied that they have made a strong impression on world netball.
Despite the England Roses beating the SPAR Proteas 57-44 on Saturday in their final Quad Series game, South Africa have achieved what they set out to do and that is close the gap on the world’s top three netball nations.
It was a shooting masterclass from England at the sold out Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne as their star shooter Jo Harten led the way in a convincing victory as the Roses ended their inaugural Quad Series campaign on a high.
However the match wasn’t without it scares for England as once again South Africa showcased that they are continuing to close the gap on the traditional ‘top four’.
South African got off to a good start and midway through the quarter found themselves leading the world number three nation 7-2.
With the momentum firmly in the hands of the Proteas, England coach Tracey Neville introduced Kadeen Corbin for Helen Housby.
The change had the desired impact and England started to find more cohesion in the attack end and after the opening fifteen minutes, South Africa’s lead was cut to 13-11.
Within the blink of an eye England were level at 14-14 in Q2. A tenacious South Africa could have lost their heads but it remained even for the next few minutes with several turnovers keeping the scores tight.
A late surge from the Roses gave them a four goal lead heading into the half-time, a 25-21 score line reflecting the excellent response to their slow start.
The goals continued to flow for England early in the third quarter as Harten started to find the net from across the circle. A shooting accuracy of just under 90% for the opening three quarters displaying just how clinical England were in the attack end.
At the end of the third quarter, the English Roses had pushed the lead out to 41-33.
Despite an energetic SPAR Proteas response, the Roses held firm and more accurate shot making extended the lead finally winning 57-44.
Bongi Msomi the SPAR Proteas captain said that her team were very happy with the way they played. “Our mission was to close the gap on world champions Australia, New Zealand and England. We did just that and have made a strong impression during the Quad Series leg of New Zealand and Australia.”
Roses starting 7: GS – Harten, GA – Housby, WA – Guthrie, C – Clarke, WD – Cobden, GD – Francis, GK – Agbeze
South Africa starting 7: GS – Potgieter, GA – Stoltz, WA – Msomi, C – Burger, WD – Mthembu, GD – Mostert, GK – Maweni