Roses bloom first against Proteas
The England Roses drew first blood in the Vitality Netball series on Tuesday night as they pipped the SPAR Proteas 54-51 in a close encounter in Manchester.
Despite an eight-goal halftime deficit, the SPAR Proteas fought relentlessly until the last minute, narrowing the gap, but the Vitality Roses secured a 54-51 victory. 🏴🆚🇿🇦— Netball South Africa (@Netball_SA) December 5, 2023
📸 Morgan Harlow pic.twitter.com/0v9R4aXTda
The last time these two teams met was during the 2023 Netball Quad Series in Cape Town in January where England came out tops and the South Africans were keen to redeem themselves.
Both teams had a nervy start in the first quarter with hosts England breaking the ice by scoring first.
However, South Africa weren’t about to sit back and become spectators in the match.
Coach Norma Plummer started the match with a team that fused experienced players with young ones. At the end of the first stanza, it was the Roses who were leading 16-11.
The second quarter was an all-England affair as they took charge of the match and dictated the terms for the better part of the quarter.
South Africa made one change with the introduction of Kamogelo Maseko at Goal Attack in place of Nichole Taljaard.
After 30 minutes, it was England in the driver’s seat taking the quarter 30-22.
The Proteas came out into the third quarter a different team as they challenged England and took the game to them every chance they got.
Jess Thirlby of England made wholesale changes in quick succession, and this worked very well in South Africa’s favour.
The team was more settled and stable – coach Plummer made one forced change when Phumza Maweni limped off and was replaced by Nicola Smith at the back who played very well with Karla Pretorius.
South Africa took the championship quarter 14-13, with the overall score 43-36 in England's favour.
The fourth and final quarter was no different for the Proteas who started the same way they ended.
A couple of changes saw skipper Bongiwe Msomi and Khanyisa Chawane being rested and replaced by Jeante Strydom and Refiloe Nketsa.
One would never have thought that SA team is an inexperienced side as they did not back down from the challenge.
Their gutsy display was good enough for them to win the quarter 15-11 and reduce the scoreline to just three points.
Ultimately though it was England who won the match 54-51.
South Africa’s coach said post-match: “I think we made it very hard for ourselves when you consider how we started. It was very nervy for us, and we couldn’t pass the ball high enough and played to England’s strength. We came back and eventually got it right. Some of the mistakes we spoke to the girls about in training, they had to see if for themselves now on court – I believe that they will be better and do better next time we take to court. Overall, I am impressed with how we played especially in the second half. I think we will produce some big players from this group soon.”
Q1 – Vitality Roses 16 – 11 SPAR Proteas
Q2 – Vitality Roses 30 – 22 SPAR Proteas
Q3 – Vitality Roses 43 – 36 SPAR Proteas
Q4 – Vitality Roses 54 – 51 SPAR Proteas