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SA netballers downed by Zimbabwe at Region 5 Games
- Updated: December 11, 2014
By Mark Etheridge
in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
Team South Africa’s netballers faltered at the final hurdle and had to settle for silver at the African Union Region 5 Games here on Thursday.
Unbeaten throughout the pool stages, coach Jenny van Dyk’s girls went down 37-45 to a rampant Zimbabwe side at a packed White City Stadium centre court.
South Africa got off to a good start and netted their first point within 20sec of the opening hooter.
But it was to be deep into the third quarter that they took the lead again, and that was only fleetingly as a fired up host nation were always one step ahead of the South Africans.
The first quarter ended 11-9 to Zimbabwe and half-time saw a three-point cushion to the home girls (23-20).
Starting the final quarter just two points adrift (31-33), it was nailbiting stuff but the closest South Africa came was to get within one point.
And in the last five minutes the Zimbabweans ran away with the game to take the final quarter 12-8.
Coach Jenny van Dyk said afterwards: ‘We started slowly and really struggled to get momentum in the final, which was a pity because we had gone the whole week unbeaten.
‘Our distribution could have been much, much better and our shooting definitely let us down.’
Indeed, the SA shooting was way off the mark throughout and had even half of the missed opportunities gone through the hoop, it could have been another story completely.
‘The atmosphere was great though and even though these young girls didn’t go all the way, they would have learnt a lot from this experience.’
‘Now they can go home and use this tournament to build their netball careers further.’