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Liverpool, United Kingdom: The SPAR Proteas shocked group favourites Jamaica 55-52 at the Vitality Netball World Cup in Liverpool on Sunday.

The clash between South Africa and Jamaica was almost going to be a cracker of a game. Both teams started their2019 Netball World campaigns on a high and won their respective opening two games. Historically the Jamaicans have had the upper hand when it came to this encounter. The “Sunshine Girls” are ranked second in the world and South Africa are three places below them at number five.

Both teams got off to a great start and went off at each other and the opening eight minutes of the first quarter the SPAR Proteas held their nerves and took the game to Jamaica. South Africa took a 9-5 lead during that period.

SPAR Proteas’ goal shooter Lenize Potgieter continued where she left off in the other two games and converted all her chances in the first quarter. This game proved to be a very physical game with a total of 14 penalties committed in the first quarter. South Africa took a 16 -9 lead at the end of the quarter.

The second quarter was no different, both teams got off to a quick start off the mark with Jamaica looking at catching to South Africa. The SPAR Proteas agility and fast pace really proved to be problematic to the Jamaicans as they continued to dominate the second quarter. Captain Bongi Msomi was very instrumental in the middle of the court as she managed to connect most passes for the team and allowed them to convert the bulk of their chances.

South Africa went into the half time break leading 32 -21, they managed to score 16 points per quarter and Jamaica only managed 12 in the second quarter which was a slight improvement from their first quarter performance.

The start of quarter three was no different as well as both teams went off at each other, but it was Jamaica that drew first blood scoring three quick goals in as many minutes. South Africa quickly recovered and came to the party and continued their path to retain their lead. Jamaica didn’t hold back as they continued to fight and dominated the third quarter scoring 17 against South Africa’s 10 points. At the end quarter three, the scored stood at 38 -42 to South Africa.

The quick break at the end of the third quarter seems to have done wonders for Jamaica because they came back and charged at the Spar Proteas like a raging lion and reduced South Africa’s lead to just a point after five minutes of the game resuming. Karla Pretorius once again proved why she is regarded as the best goal defence in the world, she intercepted Jamaica’s important passes. The game was so intense that the ball even got deflated on the 10th minute of the last quarter.

“I think we always knew that this would be an intense game, we were expecting on that court and we got exactly that. I think the girls did very well and stepped up. We committed some mistakes which we will work on when we regroup as a team. I am happy with a win against Jamaica, this is a great moral booster for the team as we go onto the next round,” says a very jubilant SPAR Proteas head coach Norma Plummer. 

The game was an intense one and saw South Africa win 55 -52 against Jamaica who are ranked number two in the world and the Spar Proteas are number five.

South Africa now play Scotland at 17h25 (local time) in the Preliminaries stage two of the tournament.