JOHANNESBURG -The SPAR Proteas were edged out 63-56 by New Zealand in their opening match of the 2017 SANZEA Quad Series netball competition in Brisbane on Saturday.
This is a huge advance for the Proteas, who lost by 31 goals the last time they played the Silver Ferns. In fact, had it not been for a flurry of unanswered goals by New Zealand in the third quarter, the South Africans could have been in with a chance of winning.
The Silver Ferns won the first quarter 18-16, but the Proteas won the second, 14-13, and were trailing New Zealand by just one goal (31-30) at halftime. New Zealand came back strongly in the third quarter, which they won by eight goals and South Africa won the last quarter 14-12.
The Kiwi goalshooter Bailey Mes had an outstanding game, missing only one of her 36 shots at goal and making life difficult for the South African defenders, Phumza Maweni and Karla Mostert. On the South African side, Lenize Potgieter, who has been playing league netball in New Zealand, succeeded with 43 goals from 49 attempts.
Proteas captain Bongi Msomi was elated after the match.
“We have come a long way, thanks to coach Norma Plummer,” she said.
“We have been putting what she has taught us into practice and it is proving effective. We are very excited about our performance today.”
Asked how the Proteas felt about their match against the world champions, the Australian Diamonds, on Wednesday, Msomi said they were looking forward to it.
“It’s what we came her for,” she said.
“The only way we can improve is to test ourselves against the very best. I think we did well against the world number two team today and we want to see how much we’ve improved when we play the world champions on Wednesday.”
In the earlier match, the Diamonds beat the England Roses 54-50.
African News Agency