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The opening match of the Vitality Netball Nations Cup on Sunday saw South Africa take on Jamaica. Both teams are ranked 4th and 5th respectively on the International Netball Federation (INF) world rankings. The last time these two teams met was at the 2019 Vitality World Cup in Liverpool where South Africa won 55 -52.

Coach Dorette Badenhorst went with a formidable starting seven and you could see that her plan was to go broke and win her opening match against the Sunshine Girls. It was Jamaica that drew first blood and scored two points in as many minutes. South Africa seemed to be patient in their build up and scored three points within the first four minutes to level the score.

The Sunshine Girls were intentional and dominated the quarter however it was the SPAR Proteas that pushed them reduced the lead by five points and ended the quarter 12 – 17.

At the start of the second quarter, Dorette Badenhorst subbed Izette Griesel at Centre for Rome Dreyer who was facing Jamaica for the first time in Proteas colours. The SPAR Proteas were first off the mark and scored first however Jamaica wasn’t sitting back and took the game back to South Africa. The introduction of Dreyer in the centre of the court was making a difference for the team.

Phumza Maweni had to be substituted due to injury and was replaced by Zanele Vimbela who just signed for Strathclyde Sirens. Phumza made her way back onto the field as soon as she possibly could and took her place at the back. It is the defence of Jamaica that seemed to be standing solid and making it rather difficult for the attacking duo of Potgieter and Venter.

Lefebre Rademan made her debut against Jamaica at the 35th minutes and replaced Ine Marie Venter, this sub saw Potgieter move to Goal Shooter and Rademan taking the goal shooter position. Again, the Jamaican defence came to the fore as they intercepted a lot of South Africa’s attack and making sure that they convert on the other end. Sunshine Girls extended and maintained a 10 point lead for most of the quarter three.

Jamaica continued where they left off at the end of the third quarter and scored as soon as the whistle went off. The introduction of Rademan to the game seems to have yielded positive results. Over time, she has proven to be a clever player who reads the game very well. South Africa kept pushing and took the game to Jamaica and reduced the Sunshine Girls lead to just five points

It was Jamaica that won the match 59 -54 against South Africa. This is their 13th win against the SPAR Proteas in 16 encounters. Play of the match for the game is Nicole Dixon from Jamaica. South Africa will look to shrug this loss off and get ready to face England on Wednesday 22 January 2020.

“I think we need to trust ourselves more especially on the third quarter. We could have done better tonight however we take lessons from here. We have a lot to work through during the week at training and I am certain we will bounce back. It is not too late, who knows, we may just be playing in the finals come Sunday,” said SPAR Proteas Head Coach Dorette Badenhorst.

Score Breakdown:

Q1 SA 12 – JAMAICA 17

Q2 SA 28 – JAMAICA 33

Q3 SA 37 -JAMIACA 49

Q4 SA 54 -JAMAICA 59

South Africa starting seven:

Ine-Marie Venter (GS); Lenize Potgieter (GA); Bongiwe Msomi (WA); Izette Griesel (C); Shadine vd Merwe (WD); Karla Pretorius (GD); Phumza Maweni (GK)