Dark horses SA hold their own in NZ
Dark horses of the Fast 5 World Netball Series, South Africa held their own admirably on day one of the tournament in Auckland, New Zealand, on Friday.
Full of confidence after beating Jamaica in a test earlier this year, the Spar Proteas were up against the Sunshine Girls in their first game of the five-a-side competition.
Both teams looked a bit uncomfortable with the new format of the game in the first quarter, but Jamaica's defence worked in their favour as they led by eight goals to three.
However, preferring the safer route of shooting just under the post, Jamaica failed to capitalise on their Power Play in the second quarter, where all points scored were doubled, and the Proteas managed to narrow the gap to 11-14.
Riskier play by the Proteas suited them well in their Power Play third quarter, with Chrisna Bootha and Maryka Holtzhausen doing an excellent job on goal. Ending the quarter with two six-pointers, SA went ahead 29-18.
Working as a unit and maintaining great speed through the court was a recipe for success as South Africa ran away with the lead and ended the game 34-25.
In their next match, the Proteas played a calculated game against the England side. Leading 11-5 after the first quarter, South Africa looked to be on top form.
Working the rolling substitutions and aiming for the longer shots, the Proteas held the advantage until the end of the third quarter.
A surprise turn-around in the last quarter by England shooter Jo Harten left everyone awe-struck, as she scored a number of consecutive three-pointers, giving England a 41-27 victory.
"We have had a great day," said the Proteas coach Lana Krige after their matches.
"Everything worked well and all our players had court time. Chrisna and Maryka worked very well together, but tomorrow will be Nontle's (Gwavu) test."
In other matches England beat Australia 29-27, New Zealand drew against Jamaica 38-38, Malawi beat Australia 33-15, Jamaica beat Malawi 32-31 and New Zealand beat Australia 31-23.