Feisty Proteas fade very late

The Citizen (Gauteng) - - SPORT -

Wes­ley Bo on

With her team gear­ing up for an­other ti­tle de­fence at the World Cup later this year, Aus­tralia coach Lisa Alexan­der ad­mit­ted they were given a shake by the Proteas net­ball team in their sea­son-open­ing match in Liver­pool last night.

Given an op­por­tu­nity to com­pete in the English city which will host the World Cup later this year, South Africa got off to an ex­plo­sive start in the Quad Se­ries clash but lost their grasp in the lat­ter stages of the match.

De­spite their im­pres­sive ac­cu­racy up front and so­lid­ity on de­fence, they ul­ti­mately fell in a 62-45 de­feat.

“The South Africans were fan­tas­tic, par­tic­u­larly in the first quar­ter, so we’re pleased with the fi­nal re­sult,” Alexan­der said.

Guided by for­mer Aus­tralia head coach Norma Plum­mer (pic­tured), the Proteas dis­played real in­tent from the start, putting on the pres­sure as they surged into a 16-11 lead in the open­ing quar­ter.

With the global cham­pi­ons hit­ting back, they car­ried a nar­row 27-25 ad­van­tage into the half­time break, but the bat­tle con­tin­ued as the lead changed hands a few times in the sec­ond and third stan­zas.

Strength­en­ing their grip on the match, how­ever, the Aus­tralians were 43-38 ahead at the end of the third quar­ter, and romped clear in the fi­nal 15 min to se­cure a con­vinc­ing vic­tory.

With only a few chances left to sharpen up and gain the con­fi­dence to close out games in the build-up to the World Cup, the Proteas have a few days to gather them­selves ahead of their next Quad Se­ries match against hosts Eng­land in Lon­don on Satur­day.

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