South Africa's Lenize Potgieter is challenged by England's Kate Shimmin during their Netball international in Bellville on Sunday. Photo: Jaco Marais/BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN – The Proteas netball team finally exacted some payback on the England Roses in their third and final Test of the SPAR Challenge with a 54-48 victory in Cape Town on Sunday. 

The six-point winning margin is the largest over England since their 77-54 demolition in Manchester 1995 providing hope for Proteas coach Dorette Badenhorst’s tenure in charge of the national side. 

Although the Roses wrapped up the series the day before, the Proteas produced their best netball to claim their second victory over the English in six matches this year. 

“Two-one is much better than three-nil…it was a great game between two very good teams,” Badenhorst said.

“We won the match in the first quarter because we achieved our goal of getting five goals ahead, which meant that England was playing catch-up.

“It was a great team effort. The players on the court played with heart and had the backing of the bench. They are beginning to trust one another.”

The Proteas made history earlier this year beating England in their backyard for the first time in 19 years with their 48-45.

South Africa could not reproduce that form at the Netball World Cup in Liverpool where they lost to the hosts during the round-robin phase and in the bronze-medal match. They suffered a comprehensive 58-41 defeat to the Roses in their bronze-medal match.

South Africa was in dominant form in Sunday’s dead rubber racing to a six-point lead in the opening quarter of the clash. They got their tails up with a five-goal lead within five minutes. 

It was the first time Proteas managed to get their noses in front at the half-time break during the series.

The home side kept the Roses at an arm’s length holding the six-point advantage going into the recess leading 27-21 with the teams sharing the quarter with 11 goals apiece.

England launched a fightback after the break drawing level on 35-all 10 minus into the quarter before the Proteas displayed immense character to reclaim the lead. South Africa stacked defensive sandbags and went on the offence pulling ahead 41-36 with one quarter left in the clash. 

The Proteas enjoyed a 10-point advantage at one point although England won the final quarter by two goals. England’s efforts were not good enough to wipe out the Proteas’ lead to ultimately bow the knee. 

“In Liverpool, the crowd got behind the Vitality Roses, and it was good to have the support behind us today,” Badenhorst said.

“The more we play at home, and the more people see how good we are, the better for netball. This win will do wonders for our confidence ahead of the Vitality Nations Cup in the United Kingdom in January when we play England, Jamaica and New Zealand.”

@ockertde

IOL Sport