FOR the first time in 28 years, South Africa have beaten Jamaica in an international netball test match. The Proteas beat the West Indies nation 56-49 in the third and final test in Kingston – but Jamaica won the series 2-1.
“I was really disappointed after the previous test,” SA coach Elize Kotze said. “I was hard on the girls and said they had to believe in themselves, and if they did they would believe in the team and play as a strong unit.”
The inspiration seemed to work as the Proteas played a consistently aggressive attacking game throughout the four quarters, allowing a limited attack by the Sunshine Girls.
In the final quarter, the Proteas gave it their all. Five minutes into the quarter the Proteas levelled at 44-44, giving the visitors new life.
Brilliant combinations and great goal shooting saw the Proteas take a five-point lead (50-45).
Desperate Jamaican coach Oberon Pitterson-Nattie decided to bring back star shooter Shanielle Fowler – who had been injured earlier – and to thunderous applause the giant shooter returned to court with a heavily strapped ankle.
Fowler, despite being injured, gave the home side hope and her athleticism helped restore some order to the battered Jamaican side. But the Proteas sensed victory and kept their composure, pressing on the attack. As a result, Maryka Holtzhausen netted two goals from the base of the circle with minutes to spare.
The Proteas won the final quarter 18-5 and the test 56-49.
The last minutes were loud and raucous and all credit to the players who managed to maintain their composure, despite the noise.
“What a win, what a performance, I am so proud of my girls!” Kotze said. “This win could be the start of new and great things for the team and netball in South Africa.”
Jamaican coach Pitterson- Nattie gave full praise to the visitors.
“They were organised and came at us hard, and really made a brilliant comeback in this test.
“South Africa should be in the top three of world netball. They are tough and really talented. I was very proud of my girls winning the series against such a fantastic team.”
Glowing Proteas captain Amanda Mynhardt said the win meant the world to her and the team.
“We really have been working so hard for this win and we needed it. It came at the right time and we will take a lot from the win.
“Each one of us is proud – proud for ourselves and proud for our country. We believed in ourselves individually and that spilt over to us believing in our team and the team’s effort.”
Article source: http://www.peherald.com/news/article/6900