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Karla Pretorius

Proteas succumb as England fight back

The women’s Proteas suffered their second defeat at the 2020 Vitality Nations Cup netball tournament when they went down 58-54 to hosts England.

Both teams had come off defeats in their opening matches – South Africa losing to Jamaica and England losing to New Zealand. In the other match on Wednesday, the Kiwis beat the Jamaicans. The four-nation competition now moves to London for the final weekend at the Copper Box Arena. All teams have one more round robin game before one last day of play-offs on Sunday.

The Proteas’ key change was to introduce someone who made waves when the two sides met last year, Lefebre Rademan, in goal attack.

A first quarter of goal by goal was played, with both teams maintaining composure before the Proteas finished strongly and created a 16-13 lead in the final moments.

On the first opportunity, England made changes, introducing Kate Shimmin in GD to compete with Rademan and also modified her half court by bringing on Amy Carter and Jade Clarke.

England’s next quarter was undulating as the combinations took some time to establish and the Proteas’ world leading defender, Karla Pretorius, showed her class.

Pretorius had a quiet first game against Jamaica and was clearly eager to make up for that. She interrupted the attack of the Roses at every opportunity.

The home team entered halftime 26-25 down and they decided to make more alignment amendments for the second half.

Personnel changes paid dividends instantly and the new image went through the resistance of the Proteas and England created a 42-37 mattress in three-quarter time.

With the crowd roaring in the last quarter, England resisted a final storm and found the gears necessary to secure a much-needed victory.