South Africa’s netball stars wrapped up their Test series against Malawi with a match to spare after another impressive victory, this time 62-29, over their opponents at the Sun City Superbowl.
The Proteas went into match day two as the team high on confidence following their win on Thursday in the first Test. They made one change to the starting line-up with a noticeable absence of Izette Griesel who limped off with an ankle injury in the opener and was replaced by Rome Joubert at the centre position.
Malawi made two changes from their team that started on Thursday with Martha Dambo and Bridget Kumwenda getting the nod for the second match.
Malawi pushed the Proteas early in the game, but the hosts quickly got on top andthe attacking duo of Potgieter and Rademan seems to have worked for the Proteas as they managed to peel off in the last six minutes of the first quarter and extended their lead to 18-7 by the end of the first quarter.
South Africa continued with their dominance in the second quarter and scored 17 goals while conceding 8. The score at half-time saw the Proteas leading 35-15.
In the third, Dorette Badenhorst made a wholesome change and saw Sikholiwe Mdletshe earning her first cap for the Proteas and becoming the third player in two days to do so. South Africa were leading 51-21 at the end of the third quarter.
Telkom Netball League defender of the tournament Nicola Smith took to court in the last quarter as a goalkeeper to earn her maiden cap for the Proteas. South Africa seemed to be in the driving seat in the fourth quarter and kept their structure even though there were fresh legs on court. Smith was comfortable at the back and partnered well with Reyneke as they dealt with Malawi’s attack.
Lenize Potgieter was Most Valuable Player of the day as South Africa won 62-25. ‘I enjoy playing goal attack,’ she said. ‘It’s nice to get out of the circle and have another third of the court to play in. The fitness levels are a bit of a problem, but I am working on that. I am still on a learning curve and enjoy expanding my horizons.’
Potgieter said her experience playing in the Australian, New Zealand and English leagues had been invaluable. ‘I have now experienced three different styles of defence and can bring this knowledge back to the Proteas.’
Badenhorst was delighted to have clinched the series, saying this enabled her to try different combinations in the final match on Sunday. ‘These are ranking matches and it is always important to do well in ranking matches so that we can earn points. But there are things we want to try out and our series win gives us the freedom to do so,’ said Badenhorst.