The SPAR Proteas, fresh from their journey across the vast oceans from Australia, were already gearing up for their next challenge in England. The Vitality Roses awaited, ready to engage in a fierce three-test match series. This would mark the third encounter between the two netball powerhouses, having previously clashed in January during the Quad Series, where they drew once, and in a playoff match where England emerged victorious.
Remarkably, the Netball World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa, did not witness a face-off between these formidable teams. England, boasting an unblemished record against South Africa throughout the year, had every reason to revel in their success. Now, with anticipation building, the SPAR Proteas were scheduled to assemble on Friday, 24th November, before taking flight to England on Monday, 27th November 2023.
Netball South Africa President, Cecilia Molokwane, emphasized the significance of playing against higher-ranked teams. "It is very important for us to play teams that are ranked above because this will serve two great purposes," she remarked. "One being that we can gauge how far or close we are to being one of the best, and secondly, we can work our way to improving our points on the table and push our way into the top four. The more we get our players international exposure and experience, the better; this will be sure to sharpen them and make them more competitive."
The stage was set for a thrilling series of matches, with England hosting the first clash in Manchester and the subsequent two battles unfolding in Nottingham. The dates were marked on the calendar: 5th, 9th, and 10th of December 2023, the days when netball enthusiasts would witness the clash of titans. But before plunging into the intense series, the SPAR Proteas had a warm-up challenge awaiting them—a practice match against Scotland on the 3rd of December.
The line-up for the South African squad was unveiled, featuring a formidable roster of players ready to don the national colors. Khanyisa Chawane, Boitumelo Mahloko, Kamogelo Maseko, Phumza Maweni, and the rest of the squad were set to bring their A-game against the Vitality Roses. The responsibility of leading the team as captain fell on the experienced shoulders of Bongiwe Msomi.
As the players geared up for their journey to the chilly English weather, Netball South Africa exuded confidence in their squad. The mix of seasoned players and rising stars was seen as a formula for success, and the team's president expressed hope that this international exposure would not only enhance their competitiveness but also elevate their standing on the global stage.
The much-anticipated clash would be broadcast for fans across the globe to witness the spectacle. All three matches were scheduled to be aired on the Supersport pay TV channel, ensuring that enthusiasts and supporters would not miss a moment of the action. The broadcast times were set—21:00 CAT for the Manchester showdown, 19:00 CAT for the Nottingham encounter on the 9th of December, and a Sunday afternoon spectacle at 16:00 CAT for the final battle on the 10th of December.
As the departure date approached, excitement and tension filled the air. The SPAR Proteas were not merely embarking on a journey to face a rival; they were on a mission to measure their mettle, improve their global ranking, and showcase the prowess of South African netball on the international stage. The stage was set, the players were ready, and the netball world eagerly awaited the spectacle that was about to unfold in the arenas of England.
The dates and times for the matches are as follows:
Game 1: Tuesday 05 December 2023 at AO Arena, Manchester – 21:00 CAT
Game 2: Saturday 09 December 2023 at Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham – 19:00 CAT
Game 3: Sunday 10 December 2023, at Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham – 16:00 CAT
All matches will be broadcast on pay TV channel Supersport.
Photo by: Standerphotography
Edited by: Vicky Muzio
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