National netball coach Dorette Badenhorst was full of praise for her team on Sunday after the Proteas hit back to secure a consolation victory over a fancied England side at the Bellville Velodrome.
After racing to an early lead, the hosts held on for a convincing
54-48 victory in the third and final Test of the Spar Challenge series.
While they lost the series 2-1 after Netball SA had made the controversial decision to force a result after the first match ended in a draw, giving England a win in extra time, Badenhorst was delighted with their performance in the Proteas’ last match of a breakthrough season.
“It was a team effort and we knew we could do it if the attack and defence could work together,” Badenhorst said.
“These players only want to get better and they’ve got a bright future.”
Taking control in the early stages, the Proteas held a 27-21 lead at half-time.
Though a fighting England side managed to draw level at 35-35 with less than five minutes left in the third quarter, the SA team pulled it back and opened a gap again before the final stanza.
Surging forward at pace and standing firm on defence, the Proteas were able to hang on for their second win over the Roses this year.
Badenhorst was pleased with the reaction of a small but electric crowd in the Mother City, which had kept her side motivated throughout the series.
“There are people out there who really understand and can analyse the sport, and the people coming to watch know their netball,” she said.
“I think every day we’re getting more support because of the opportunities we get to play in our own country and for people to come and see us in action.
“Having this crowd behind us and supporting the players was great. We wanted to go out there and play really good netball for our country.”