Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
1 minute read
5 Oct 2016
10:01 pm

Proteas win Diamond Challenge netball series

Wesley Botton

The Proteas swept aside an unfancied Zimbabwe outfit, storming to a 68-34 victory in the Diamond Challenge netball series final in Durban on Wednesday night.

Norma Plummer, coach of South Africa issuing instructions to her team. Photo by Reg Caldecott/Gallo Images)

Zimbabwe, ranked 16 places lower than the world No 5 South Africans, had no real response to the hosts, who went unbeaten throughout the four-day tournament.

After leading 35-19 at half-time, despite head coach Norma Plummer experimenting with some new combinations, the SA squad drew further ahead in the last two quarters to secure a convincing win. Plummer believed the low-key home series was ideal preparation for the second leg of the Quad Series against Australia, New Zealand and England early next year.

“This is the sort of competition that helps us blend the team together, and it gave us the chance to try a lot of different options on court,” Plummer said.

“We want to be able to have different options… because you never know who you’re going to be coming up against, and you need those options for your team to get over the line.”

Earlier, Uganda held the President’s XII invitation team to a 54-54 draw in a friendly encounter. The President’s XII, whose participation in the tournament was unofficial, had finished second in the round robin standings but were ineligible for a place in the Diamond Challenge final.

The Ugandan outfit had been edged into third place by Zimbabwe in the opening stage of the annual competition.