England take 2-0 lead against SA in netball Test series
England are calling the shots at South Africa’s house party here in the Mother City.
The England Roses arrived in town this week with an experimental side and a new coach in Jess Thirbly but they are dictating terms to their hosts in this Spar Challenge International Netball Series.
They comfortably wrapped up this series, with a game to spare, following a hard fought 59/53 victory at the Bellville Veledrome on Saturday afternoon and they will be determined to complete a whitewash in the final match on Sunday.
They started series with a hard fought 63-58 extra-time win over the Netball Proteas on Friday and they continued to impress even though they were made to work hard for their victory.
As a result of this victory, England have increased their dominance over South Africa as they have beaten them for the fourth time after five meetings this year including a World Cup pool match and semi-final.
At the end of a competitive first quarter, England led by four goals (16-12) and that was largely because of the many chances that South Africa squandered and some defensive errors.
After the first game on Friday, SA coach Dorette Badenhorst lamented that they did not keep possession and their leads were not strong and those issues proved to be a problem again.
Though Lenize Potgieter was impressive with her finishing and accounted for eleven of the twelve goals that the Proteas scored in the opening quarter, her attacking partner Lefebre Rademan squandered a number of opportunities.
On the other hand, the England Roses were relentless with their attacks as they made the SA defensive duo of Phumza Maweni and Shadine van der Merwe to work overtime.
England continued to dominate proceedings and they went to half time break with a slender lead of two goals (29-27) leaving SA with lots of work to do in the remaining two quarters.
To try and put pressure on England, coach Badenhorst replaced struggling goal attacker Rademan with Sigrid Burger to partner Potgieter up front but the move did not have the desired.
England ended the third quarter still leading by two goals (43-41) and they did enough to win the highly contested match and render Sunday’s final clash as a dead rubber.
For South Africa, where coach Badenhorst used a number of combinations in the opening two matches, they will have to produce an improved performance to avoid the ignominy of being whitewashed at home.