South Africa came into the second and final day of the FAST5 Netball World series very high in confidence following their win against Jamaica on Saturday. The team squared off against New Zealand in the opening match of the day.
It was South Africa that took control in the first quarter with some great defending and accurate shooting within this period that saw them lead 11 – 6 after six minutes of play.
New Zealand came back a different team from the break and changed the script completely on South Africa. They took control of the game from the second quarter right until the end of the match even though South Africa were not bystanders in this match – they continued to punch above their weight even though it wasn’t good enough to earn them a much-needed victory at the end. The Silver Ferns took the match 41 -33 at the end.
Shannen Bartlett stellar performance in the middle of the court earned her Player of the Match accolade at the end of the day.
The second match of the day was a battle between the SA FAST5 Men’s team up against the New Zealand team. South Africa wasn’t holding back on this game either, took the game to hosts New Zealand with their high speed. Unforced errors and lack of communication between the South African players became a deterrent and difference maker at the end of the day.
South Africa won the second and third quarter respectively however fell short in what was a closely contested match. For South Africa to play in their maiden final on debut, they would need to beat World Champs and hosts however this wasn’t the case as they lost the game 38 – 31.
Speaking after the game, SA FAST5 Men’ team captain Vukile Zulu said “we have learned a lot as a team, as under 23’s this is great for us and for the future of Men’s netball in South Africa. We now know where and what we need to improve on going forward. As a team, we are grateful that we have been given this experience, we have learned a lot. “
South Africa battled with Malawi in an all-Africa affair in their second match of the day. The winner of this match would secure a slot in the bronze medal play off match against England who had already booked their sit there.
The first quarter was a scrappy affair between the two nations as both committed a lot of unforced errors and failed to convert scoring opportunities. The first quarter was low scoring as South Africa took it 4 – 3.
The second quarter was a different ball game as both teams were going at each other and making sure that they convert their opportunities, however it was Malawi’s Towera Vinkhumbo that stood in the way of South Africa all the time and this great performance saw her winning Player of the Match at the end of the day. South Africa won the match 37 – 31 to secure a second match England in as many days for the bronze medal.
Jeanie Steyn at the end of the game said “I mean we came in here with the aim of being in the finals however this wasn’t our year – we set the standard last year and we wanted to make sure that we keep it. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy because we also came with a very young team as well. This was good because we will build from here.”
South Africa faced England in both team’s final match of the weekend – both teams wanted to make sure that they leave the series with a medal. Neither of the teams were holding back and played like their lives depended on this match, they gave their all however it was England that came out on top winning the match 30 -22 to clinch a bronze medal.
“I am very proud of the girls; I really think that we did well especially when you consider that we came with a very young team, and they showed up – they performed. The positives that I will take from this series is how well we performed, the growth of the game and how well we did as a team,” said Martha Mosoahle-Samm.