Proteas put one over England... their first win in four years! | SASCOC - SASCOC
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Proteas put one over England… their first win in four years!

Proteas

The Proteas were blossoming in more ways than one in Invercargill, New Zealand, on Sunday as they celebrated the arrival of spring with a first SANZEA Quad Series win by beating the England Roses 54-51.

It was South Africa’s first victory over England in four years. Earlier this year in Johannesburg, England had beaten South Africa 60-55 in extra time, after the two teams were level on 48-48 when the final whistle blew.

Sunday saw the Proteas and the Roses exchange goals for the first few minutes of the match. England made the first breakthrough midway through the first quarter, and four goals in a row put them into an 8-4 lead. But South Africa fought back with their own flurry of goals and won the first quarter 13-11.

The Proteas had their noses in front for most of the second quarter, until the last few seconds of the quarter, when a rare miss by Maryka Holtzhausen gave England an important turnover and the two teams were again level at 26-26 at halftime.

South Africa came storming out after the break and within five minutes had a five-goal lead. Erin Burger (centre), Bongiwe Msomi (wing attack) and Precious Mthembu (wing defence) controlled the centre court, making it difficult for the Roses to get the ball into their circle.

Holtzhausen appeared to be back to her best, and goal defenders Karla Mostert and Phumza Maweni combined very effectively in the Roses’ circle. But the star of the team was undoubtedly goal-shooter Lenize Potgieter, who was calm under pressure and had a 100% success rate in the third and fourth quarters. At the end of the third quarter, South Africa led 42-38.

Roses’ coach Tracey Neville made a number of changes as she tried to keep the South Africans in check, but the Proteas remained calm and played with confidence. With time running out, England turned the ball over, but Helen Housby missed her attempt at goal and the ball went back to the South African circle, where Potgieter made no mistake.

‘It feels fabulous to have beaten one of the world’s top three,’ said captain Msomi. ‘We have been working very hard and we knew we were going to perform well here. Having Norma Plummer as our coach has given us confidence and we are going from strength to strength,’ she said.

Burger, one of South Africa’s most capped players, and named MVP (Most Valuable Player) of the game, described the win as ‘the nicest win we have had.’

‘We can go back and start preparing for the next stage of the Quad Series and for the Commonwealth Games next year with renewed confidence. I think we’ve shown that we can compete with the very best,’ said Burger.

In the second match, the New Zealand Silver Ferns beat world champions the Australian Diamonds, 57-47 to clinch the Quad Series title.

The SPAR Proteas now travel to Fuji for a two-Test series there.


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