Cardiff, Wales – The South African SPAR Proteas clinched their two match test series against Wales on Friday evening in Cardiff when they beat the hosts in their second test 79-44 at the Viola, Arena.
The win on Friday followed their 84-32 drubbing of Wales on Thursday evening.
The SPAR Proteas were a slick outfit in both tests, playing solid netball throughout. Head Coach Norma Plummer had opportunity to try out combinations ahead of next week’s World Cup, made various changes and was no doubt impressed with her attacking line-up that didn’t miss a beat. South Africa after winning the double header will feel strong going into Liverpool.
But give credit where credit is due, the Welsh side on Friday can stand tall. They were a different team from their Thursday loss. Each quarter of the Friday test the hosts started strong and confidently and it paid off as at the end of full time on Friday they had scored 12 more goals than the evening before with Welsh Goal Keeper mostly responsible for troubling the South African attack.
Despite a 52 goal deficit between the two teams on Thursday night, Wales looked more confident and their combinations were more trusting on Friday. Wales released the ball with more confidence and although the SPAR Proteas made a sluggish start to the game, Wales defensively were more tighter and the pressure paid off.
South Africa and Wales were level for the first part of the game and only in the last few minutes of the first quarter, did the SPAR Proteas begin to move away from Wales. Khanyisa Chawane who started at Centre contributed to an impressive mid court zone by South Africa and the Proteas began moving the ball up court at lightning speed, looking more comfortable and showing their class again winning the opening quarter 19-9.
Once again Wales started the second quarter strong. They slowed the Proteas down and in a quarter where there were frequent turnover from both sides, Wales forced more passes giving them a better chance of interception and had ball longer in hand.
Midway through the quarter the South African defence stepped up and put pressure on Wales who lost balls in the mid-court due to a string of unforced errors. Proteas Vice captain Karla Pretorius impressed with her skill, anticipation and distance she covered throughout the quarter. South Africa won the quarter 17-5 and went into the halftime break leading 36-14.
In the third quarter Coach Plummer made five changes and brought on Eric Burger (C), Sigi Burger (GS),Maryka Holtzhausen (GA), Izette Griesel (WA) and Phumza Mweni (GK).
Once again Wales made a strong start to the quarter but failed again to hold consistency for the full quarter. There was a spell of consistent scoring from Wales as the South African defence took time to settle. The hosts did a good job scoring goals and limiting the SPAR Proteas ball possession. Sigi Burger took over where Lenize Potgieter had taken off giving herself really good position in the circle. Also the speed of Griesel was complimented by Holtzhausen, who both play a similar style.
It was the best quarter played by Wales the SPAR Proteas narrowly winning it 19-17.
In the final quarter Shadine van der Merwe returned to court at wing defence. Erin Burger pushed Wales and together with van der Merwe organised the South African defence. Holtzhausen was on target with her long range shots which helped the SPAR Proteas win the quarter 24-13 giving them the second test.
The SPAR Proteas can be proud of their dominant performance in Cardiff and proved they are serious medal contenders for next week’s Netball World Cup.
Player of the series was awarded to South Africa’s Shadine van der Merwe.