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Following their hard-fought draw against Silver Ferns on Wednesday, the SPAR Proteas walked into their clash against She Cranes understanding that they needed to win this match by a big margin if they ever had a chance of making top four.

Jamaica had done half the work for them earlier when they beat New Zealand 59 – 48. With that understanding in mind, the South African fans came out in numbers to support the team and sang their hearts out.  Norma Plummer also understood what was at stake today and this was evident in how her team lined up today. It was South Africa who took a 16 – 11 lead going into the first quarter break.

Second quarter was no different as South Africa continued to exert more pressure against Uganda, the crowds became the much-needed voice behind the team. South Africa’s shooters maintained a 100% shooting average until the 28th minute of the game when Venter missed a goal, but this did not deter her as she managed to bounce back. South Africa had a better second quarter in both attack and defence, they managed to score 17 goals and restricted Uganda to only 8. At the end of the quarter South Africa were leading 33 – 19.

One change in the quarter by South Africa saw Elmere van der Berg come in for Nichola Taljaard – this was short lived as Tajlaard came back on a few minutes later to replace Ine Mari Venter. Uganda came back a stronger side of the two in the third quarter, they were sharp and very accurate in their shooting and defence areas, they won the quarter 17 – 8 and taking the overall score to 41 -36.

The She Cranes seemed to have found their confidence back, they dominated the last quarter yet again as they pushed South Africa all the way to the end and yet again winning the second quarter 14 -11, it was a case of too little too late as the overall score favoured South Africa – the host took the match 52 -50.

“We had a disappointing win tonight against Uganda, I mean yesterday we drew, and it felt like a win for us. I think we started strong and had a nice lead for the first half – we needed to maintain that. We would have loved to be in the semis. When we went in today, we knew that we needed to give it a crack and make sure that we play our hearts out. At half time it felt like we still had a chance, disappointing that we did not get there. I think next focus should be to make sure we keep our ranking. Uganda have reminded us of how strong they are. Our goal for this tournament was to do better than what we did in 2019,” said SPAR Proteas Captain, Bongi Msomi.

SPAR Proteas had to wait an hour after their game to find out who their opponents for the play-off match would be between Malawi and Tonga. The loser of this match would face South Africa. SPAR Proteas would face off against Tonga on Friday at 18:00.

Score Breakdown:
Q1 – SPAR Proteas 16 – 11 Uganda
Q2 – SPAR Proteas 17 – 8 Uganda
Q3 – SPAR Proteas 8 – 17 Uganda
Q4 – SPAR Proteas 11 – 14 Uganda