The Proteas gave the country’s aspiring young pretenders playing for the SA President’s team a netball lesson, claiming a 62-35 victory in their Diamond Challenge clash in Seshego, Limpopo on Thursday.
The match was an exercise in testing South Africa’s depth, and it is safe to say there is somewhat of a gap between the country’s best and the ones waiting in the wings following the result.
South Africa’s shooters were on song against their local counterparts, boasting a success record of 90 percent, and missing just seven of their attempts at goal.
National coach Norma Plummer has used the tournament to test her combinations and she did just that in this match, swapping players after almost every quarter.
South Africa’s combinations in the shooting circle have received special attention so far, with the quartet of Lenize Potgieter, Sigi Burger, Maryke Holtzhausen and Renske Stoltz playing musical chairs over the last few days.
The combination between Potgieter and Burger has shown immense potential, with the former looking comfortable playing in the goal attack position.
Romé Dreyer has slotted in nicely with the team, and has provided the spark when playing in the centre position.
Goalkeeper Phumza Maweni and goal defence Karla Pretorius have blossomed into a dream defensive combination, much to the chagrin of the opposition.
The score-line would have looked a bit different if it was not for their efforts in troubling the SA President’s team shooters, who only managed a 60 percent success rate.
They put up a strong challenge in the opening exchanges as they matched the Proteas ball for ball.
But once the senior side found their rhythm, they started to stretch the advantage to 13 goals (18-5) after the first quarter.
Potgieter and Burger were on fire inside the shooting circle, with the duo slotting every attempt at goal for a 100 percent success record.
The SA President’s side launched a valiant fightback in the second quarter, scoring nine goals and limiting the Proteas to 12 (30-14).
HALF TIME #SAvSAPresXII— Netball South Africa (@Netball_SA) November 29, 2018
South Africa 30-14 #SAPresidentsXII
Stronger defence and new combinations by the President's side has reduced the goal difference. It's gonna be a cracking second half! #SPARProteas #DiamondChallenge #WeAreAllIn pic.twitter.com/uUa7QE1Ekv
But the Proteas were back to their best in the third quarter, adding 19 goals to their tally to extend their lead to 27 points (49-22).
The final quarter was the SA President’s team’s best period of the match, with the two teams scoring 13 goals apiece.
It was too little, too late though, with the Proteas’ performance in the first and third quarters sealing the victory.
The Proteas will next face Zambia on Friday, while the SA President’s outfit will take on Zimbabwe.