Though she was pleased with their all-round performance on Friday night, after the national netball side took the game to extra time, Proteas coach Dorette Badenhorst admitted they had lost control in the latter stages of their series opener against England at the Bellville Velodrome.
The hosts were ultimately edged out in a 63-58 defeat in the first of three Tests against the Roses.
“There were great moments in this game, especially on attack, but we still need to keep our confidence when we lose the ball. Our heads drop and we make more mistakes,” Badenhorst said.
“But the younger players will learn from this and come back stronger. It’s all about confidence and experience.”
While they displayed intensity in the early stages, the Proteas were pushed back on defence as England surged forward from the start, with the hosts taking a 15-12 lead into the first break.
They continued to stay in touch throughout the second quarter, but the South Africans struggled to narrow the gap and the Roses held a 28-23 advantage at half-time.
They managed to pull it back in the third stanza, however, with Badenhorst introducing Izette Griesel at wing attack and Lefebre Rademan at goal attack and they took a 40-39 lead into the final period.
With England closing the deficit, the scores were level at 51-51 at the end of regular time, and the Roses drew clear again in extra time to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
Badenhorst admitted she had been caught by surprise when the match went to extra time, along with most of the spectators and media, but International Netball Federation rules apparently stated that the Test had to end in a result.
“I thought a draw was a draw and I don’t think the players expected it either, so maybe it’s something we needed to communicate better.”