SA’s netball five-a-side team needs to pull up socks after twin opening losses
SOUTH AFRICA’S Fast 5 team got off to a slow start on Day 1 of the FAST5 Netball World Series at Auckland’s Vector Arena yesterday, going down narrowly in their opening two fixtures.
South Africa went down to Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls 35-28 in the opening game of the series in the morning and then lost to England’s Fives, 36-29.
South Africa were up for the tussle in the opening spell of their opener, but failed to contain a rampant Jamaica in the second quarter.
Opting for a power play, Jamaica capitalised on the double points on offer with Jhaniele Fowler dominant under the post. In comparison, South Africa’s shooting combination of Chrisna Bootha and Maryka Holtzhausen struggled to stay in sync and Jamaican defenders Shamera Stirling and Malysha Kelly pounced.
Trailing 23- 7 at halftime, South Africa put their power play into action in the third spell, and Bootha found her rhythm. But the Jamaican wall of defence made it tricky for the South Africans to penetrate, and they still faced a seven- goal deficit, 21-28, going into the final six- minute quarter. Valiant defence by goal keeper Vanes- Mari du Toit kept the South Africans in with a shot but it was a tough ask up against the 1.98m tall Fowler, who starred for the Southern Steel in this year’s ANZ Championship.
After the opening game South African captain Holtzhausen, said the team was disappointed and knew they were capable of a much better opening performance. But there were some vital lessons learned for the younger members of the team.
“For a few of our players, that was the first international they have ever played in their life, so it’s good to get it under their belts,” she said. “Our attack was a bit lacking and we didn’t find each other that easily. They (Jamaica) had a brilliant power play and we really struggled to contain them in that phase like we should have.”
Against England it was an incredibly tight start to the clash – halfway through the six-minute first quarter, both teams had only scored one point each. Only one point separated them at the end of the spell and there wasn’t much between the two sides in the next quarter either.
England Fives keeper Lindsay Keable was fierce on the ball, while at the other end, her shooters weren’t afraid to put up the big shots. They just didn’t have much luck transforming those shots into points.
Down 10-13 at halftime, South Africa tried to make a break with their power play. Bootha found the net from some nice angles, and they edged ahead 22-18. But a smooth six-pointer from Fives shooter Rosalie Allison wiped out the lead in an instant as England put their power play to action.
South Africa stayed within a point, until another Allison super shot – albeit third time lucky – made sure England got their first points on the board for this series.
Player of the match, SA shooter Bootha, was a little perplexed by her third- ranked team’s slow start to the three-day championship, with two losses from two encounters.
“It’s going a bit shaky for us at the moment, there’s not a lot of flow with the ball. We need to up it with our shooting,” she said. “Half of the team are new and we haven’t trained a lot in FAST5. But I think it went better in the second game so every day from here will be better.”
SA will now face Australia, New Zealand and Malawi and all the matches will be screened live on SS5 from 5am SA time.