The Proteas netball team found some resistance in their Diamond Challenge match against Zambia, but still came out on top, claiming a 57-36 victory over Zambia in Seshego, Limpopo on Friday.
The South Africans have had an easy ride at the tournament throughout the week, but the plucky Zambians put up enough of a fight to make the hosts sweat.
“They definitely brought the fight to us today,” said Proteas captain Bongi Msomi.
“It was what we expected to be honest. We knew they could play and would come hard at us, and we were really tested.”
But the margins were never smaller than nine points after the first quarter.
The Proteas went into the first recess with a healthy 18-9 lead.
The Zambian defence made the South Africans work hard to get the ball into the circle, but once the ball got into the hands of the shooters they turned it into points.
The home side won the quarter by the north-west of margins with one goal operating the sides during this period (28-18).
“I think it was great for us to get a game like this – to get a bit of frustration here and there, but then we picked it up again somewhere, somehow,” said Msomi.
“I feel this was really great practice and it’s always good to come up with a win.
“It feels good, but one has to be worried about how you perform on the court, and I am a little bit dissatisfied with what we put on court today.”
Proteas coach Norma Plummer rung the changes after the break, with Shadine van der Merwe coming on at goal defence, Erin Burger at centre, Romé Dreyer at wing attack and Sigi Burger at goal shooter, with Lenize Potgieter moving to goal attack.
Zambia 🇿🇲 came out and gave us a game. BUT great adapting from our girls, staying focused and securing another good victory! THANK YOU. YOU MAKE US PROUD 🇿🇦#DiamondChallenge #WeAreAllIn #SPARProteas— Netball South Africa (@Netball_SA) November 30, 2018
📸 Reg Caldecott pic.twitter.com/EpWp3N43Ql
South Africa extended their lead in the third quarter to 41-27, but it was not as polished as they would have hoped.
The hosts added 16 points to the tally, while Zambia converted another nine like they did in every quarter of the match.
The South Africans will be up against Zimbabwe in their final match on Saturday. The hosts remain the only unbeaten team in the tournament, and on course to defend their title.@ockertde