The clash between the SPAR Proteas and the Roses marked a highly anticipated reunion during the Vitality Netball series. The last encounter between these two teams unfolded during the 2023 Netball Quad Series in Cape Town, where England emerged victorious. Determined to redeem themselves, South Africa entered the arena to secure a triumph.
The initial quarter witnessed a tense start for both teams, with England taking the lead by scoring first. However, South Africa refused to be mere spectators in the match. Coach Norma Plummer strategically composed the team, blending seasoned players with young talents. The first stanza concluded with the Vitality Roses leading at 16–11.
The second quarter unfolded as an all-England affair, with the host team dominating the match and dictating the terms. In seeking a shift in momentum, South Africa made a strategic substitution, introducing Kamogelo Maseko as Goal Attack instead of Nichole Taljaard. The quarter concluded with England firmly in control, leading 30–22 after 30 minutes.
The third quarter witnessed a rejuvenated South African team challenging England and consistently taking the game to their opponents. England's coach, Jess Thirlby, implemented timely and effective changes, favorably impacting South Africa's performance. Despite a forced substitution due to Phumza Maweni's injury, replaced by Nicola Smith, South Africa claimed the championship quarter 14–13, narrowing the overall score to 43–36.
In the fourth and final quarter, they maintained South Africa's resurgence, with the SPAR Proteas starting where they left off. Tactical changes saw captain Bongiwe Msomi and Khanyisa Chawane being rested, replaced by Jeante Strydom and Refiloe Nketsa. The seemingly inexperienced side showcased remarkable resilience, refusing to back down from the challenge. Their determined display allowed them to secure the quarter 15–11, reducing the final scoreline to three points. Ultimately, England clinched the victory with a final score of 54–51.
Reflecting on the match, South Africa's Head Coach, Norma Plummer, acknowledged the challenges they faced at the start, attributing it to nerves and difficulty in execution. Despite the initial struggle, she commended the team's comeback and their improved performance in the second half. Plummer expressed confidence in the team's growth, emphasizing the learning experience gained on the court. She concluded by expressing her overall satisfaction with the team's play, foreseeing the emergence of significant players from this talented group in the future.
Q1 – Vitality Roses 16 – 11 SPAR Proteas
Q2 – Vitality Roses 30 – 22 SPAR Proteas
Q3 – Vitality Roses 43 – 36 SPAR Proteas
Q4 – Vitality Roses 54 – 51 SPAR Proteas
Edited by: Vicky Muzio
Photo by: Netball South Africa
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