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Netballers down T&T to win opening Games match
- Updated: July 25, 2014
By Mark Etheridge
They may have taken a while to warm up but after four quarters the South African netball team were a lot closer to firing on all cylinders in their opening match against Trinidad & Tobago on Friday, as they triumphed 56-40.
Despite their best ever build-up to an international competition, it was the SA girls who looked slightly at sixes and sevens as their red-skirted opponents opened the scoring early on.
The Trinidadians, ranked around eighth or ninth compared to the South Africans who are currently hovering around fifth or sixth, moved swiftly into a 7-3 lead and it was only with 3min 28sec to go in the first quarter that coach Elize Kotze’s girls drew level at 8-8 and the quarter ended at 10-10.
As Kotze said: ‘It’s my job to make the changes and get the right combinations so we used the first quarter to have a look and see what we were up against.’
Just 21 seconds into the second quarter and South Africa were ahead for the first time (11-10). They ended the second quarter 25-20 to the good, before the 10 minute half-time break.
Kotze must have spotted the breakdown points because the lead stayed pretty much the same at 38-32 after the third and it was in the final quarter that the team started to click – they went on to net on 18 occasions to only eight by the Trinidadians.
Said captain Maryka Holtzhausen: ‘I’m glad that we really got stuck in during that third quarter. This match and tomorrow’s match against Barbados will be our preparation for the match against England on Sunday.
‘This match was great to just settle in and get the vibe on court. I must say, we have worked hard on our attack and you can see it’s getting better .. and we’re also cutting our errors.’
Coach Kotze says they’re not even thinking of the tough matches against England and Australia that are looming.
‘We’re not thinking beyond Barbados and will take everything quarter by quarter. This is a well-conditioned side with a great blend of youth and experience but it’s a case of small steps.’