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Gaborone, Botswana – The SPAR Baby Proteas finished their Netball World Youth Cup in sixth place on Sunday, after going down 47-52 to Jamaica in the play off for fifth place at the Campus Indoor Arena in Gaborone.

The South African Under-21s were able to keep in touch with the Jamaicans in the first two quarters, although they could have gone ahead if they had managed to net their goals more regularly.  Five missed attempts in the first quarter gave Jamaica a slight edge, with the islanders winning the first quarter by nine goals to eight.

South Africa took the lead briefly in the second quarter (14-13) but the Sunshine Girls fought back with a flurry of unanswered goals and went back into the lead and were 24-22 ahead at halftime.

South Africa managed a number of turnovers, but the Jamaicans intercepted a number of passes and usually put the ball to good use.  It was in the circles that the Jamaicans dominated.  They took a number of rebounds in the South African circle before sending the ball back to their own circle, where their lanky goalshooter, Simone Gordon, put it in the net.  The Jamaican goalshooters were more accurate in their shooting, with the result that goalkeeper Jasmine Ziegelmeier and goal defence Monique Reynecke and later, Simone Rabie, did not have the opportunity to turn the ball.

In the second half, the Sunshine Girls stepped up a gear and edged away from the Baby Proteas.  At times they were as much as seven goals ahead, but the SPAR Baby Proteas kept clawing their way back.  Jamaica won the third quarter by 13 goals to 10.  The final quarter was drawn, 15 goals each, and the Baby Proteas were left ruing the missed attempts in the first quarter.

Coach Dorette Badenhorst was disappointed by the result, but said she was still very proud of the team.

“We came here wanting to make the top four, and we ended sixth, but the girls played their hearts out.  But you can’t win matches against a team like Jamaica   if you have a shooting average of 71,” she said.

“Well done to Jamaica.  They played very well today.  It was very difficult to turn balls and they made their shots at goal count.

“They stuck to their game plans and they got their balls in the net. I always knew they would be hard to beat and I am very proud of the way the SPAR Baby Proteas fought right to the end.”