South Africa's Phumza Maweni shoots at the net against Jamaica during their Netball World Cup match in Liverpool on Sunday. Photo: Peter Byrne/AP

LIVERPOOL – The Proteas netball team claimed only their third victory over world number-two Jamaica with a 55-52 win to top their group at the World Cup in Liverpool on Sunday evening. 

The match ended in a nail biter against the world despite South Africa enjoying a 32-21 lead going into the half-time break. South Africa dropped in intensity in the third quarter allowing Jamaicans a sniff in the final 15 minutes of the match. 

The Proteas showed immense composure to prevail in the end and give themselves a shot in the arm and a chance at reaching the playoffs after winning all three of their group matches.

Both teams advance to the second stage of the competition where the top two sides progress to the semi-finals. Teams only go up against countries they have not played during the preliminary rounds while the previous results will be carried over. This meant South Africa would have a slight advantage in the next round where they will have Commonwealth Games champions England in their group. 

South Africa made a stellar start to their crucial clash against Jamaica racing to a 16-9 lead over the world number two side. 

The Proteas played like a side possessed with their defensive unit disrupting Jamaica’s rhythm from the get-go. 

Shooter Lenize Potgieter landed all her shots at goal contributing 11 points to her side’s scoreline. 

They kept the foot on the accelerator with the Jamaicans looking shellshocked by the intensity they South Africans brought into the clash. 

The Proteas extended their lead in the second quarter going into the break with a 32-21 lead looking well on their way to only their third victory over the Islanders. 

But the scales started to tip ever so slightly in Jamaica’s favour after the break winning the quarter. South Africa held onto a slender 42-38 with the decisive quarter ahead of them. 

Jamaicans seemed to get under the otherwise cool and calm Potgieter as her shooting percentage started to dip as the half progressed. 

The vice-grip like hold South Africa had on the match started to loosen with Jamaica drawing level with less than 10 minutes to go. 

South Africa’s worst nightmare looked like it would be realised with the Jamaicans looking to claim the 13th victory over the Proteas. 

The Proteas managed to get their noses in front again as they regathered and found their composure again to go three points up for a nail-biting victory.

@ockertde

IOL Sport