Proteas netballers lose narrowly to Jamaica - TeamSA
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Proteas lose narrowly to Jamaica

Rome Dreyer

South Africa’s Proteas went down 59-54 to Jamaica in the opening match of the Vitality Netball Nations Cup in Nottingham.

The last time these two met was at the 2019 Vitality World Cup in Liverpool where South Africa won 55-52. It’s normally a close affair between the fourth and fifth-ranked teams in the world and this was no different..

It was Jamaica, however, that drew first blood and scored two points in as many minutes. South Africa were patient in their build-up and scored three points within the first four minutes to level the scores. The Sunshine Girls, as the Caribbean outfit are known, dominated the opening quarter. The Proteas though did manage to reduce the lead by five points and ended the quarter 17-12 down.

At the start of the second quarter, Ccoach Dorette Badenhorst replaced Izette Griesel at centre for Rome Dreyer, who was facing Jamaica for the first time in Proteas colours. The Proteas were first off the mark and scored first, but Jamaica weren’t sitting back and took the game back to South Africa. The introduction of Dreyer in the centre of the court was making a difference for the team.

Phumza Maweni had to be substituted due to injury and was replaced by Zanele Vimbela, who just signed for Strathclyde Sirens. But Maweni returned after a brief spell of attention. However, Jamaica’s defence was standing firm, making it difficult for the attacking duo of Potgieter and Venter.

Lefebre Rademan made her debut against Jamaica at the 35th minute mark and replaced Ine Marie Venter. Again, the Jamaican defence came to the fore as they intercepted a lot of South Africa’s attacking moves while cashing in at the other end. The Sunshine Girls extended and maintained a 10-point lead for most of the third quarter.

Jamaica continued where they left off at the end of the third quarter and scored immediately aftre the final quarter restart. The introduction of Rademan to the game seemed to yield positive results. South Africa kept pushing and took the game to Jamaica and reduced the Sunshine Girls’ lead to just five points.

Jamaica though held on to win the match 59-54 for  their 13th win against the Proteas in 16 encounters.

South Africa will look to shrug off this loss and get ready to face England on Wednesday.

‘I think we need to trust ourselves more, especially in the third quarter. We could have done better tonight, however we will learn from this experience. We have a lot to work through during the week at training and I am certain we will bounce back. It is not too late, who knows, we may just be playing in the finals come Sunday,’ said coach Badenhorst of the outfit that won Team of the Year at the 2019 SA Sports Awards.

Photo: Rome Dreyer, by Nathan Stirk, GettyImages