Despite a strong start, the Spar Protea Netball team battled to keep their momentum and hold a fired up Jamaican team in the second Test played on Sunday evening in Kingston, Jamaica.
The Jamaican Sunshine Girls beat the Proteas 61-46 and, in doing so, secured a series win over the visitors after they had won Friday's opening Test 63-48.
The third and final Test will be played on Tuesday.
“For South Africa to be a top four team, we have to keep up the intensity, be disciplined and work harder at securing goals after interception” said the disappointed South African coach, Elize Kotze.
“I am not sure if my girls are fit enough – I just can't pin point it right now but to be so on the ball for two quarters and then fade away indicates to me that we have a lot of work to do in all areas.”
The first quarter was a close encounter and went neck and neck until the last few seconds when Jamaica intercepted a pass which resulted in a goal to give the home team a 13-12 lead.
Jamaican coach, Oberon Pitterson-Nattie said she was impressed with the strong start by South Africa.
“Jamaica started slow and South Africa were right on us,” said Pitterson-Nattie.
“I told my girls to keep their composure and once they got going, no one was going to stop them.”
Going into the second quarter, the Jamaican coach made two changes and the new combination gave them the edge, increasing their lead to 28-24.
Kotze again opted to keep her same starting line-up while Jamaica made one further change after half time.
The third quarter was a fiery and physical encounter, plagued by pushes and falls.
The strong and tall Jamaicans got the better of the smaller South Africans and three missed goals by Chrisna Bootha allowed Jamaica to increase their lead.
Three brilliant interceptions by the home side added to South Africa's woes and the hosts took a ten point overall lead (43-34) going into the final quarter.
Jamaica dominated the last quarter with Nadine Bryan playing a key role in her wing attack position.
Although South Africa showed clear signs of fight and improvement, the Jamaicans moved the ball to the circle far more swiftly than their opponents, allowing for more opportunity.
Goal shooter Shanielle Fowler proved once again to be a key role player for the Jamaican team, with an impressive 99 percent average.
“Fowler is the match winner for sure,” said Kotze.
“Jamaica are very lucky to have her in the side. She is a very intimidating player; tall, big, strong and, despite her size, a brilliant athlete which seriously contributes to the overall success of the team.”
Despite the series being lost, Kotze said her team would go all out to salvage some pride in the final test on Tuesday.
“We are South Africans and we fight hard. We will work hard at putting on our best ever performance on Tuesday and aim to win the final Test and walk away with a win.” – Sapa